User Centre Celebrates Decade of Discovery

The pioneering User Centre at the University of Dundee celebrates a decade of bringing the benefits of modern technology to the elderly and adults with severe communication disabilities.

Two user centre members looking at a laptop
User Centre members “at work”.

The User Centre, based in the Queen Mother Building, commemorates its first ten years of innovative research with the unveiling of a plaque in memory of John Gibson, first chair and founding member of the Centre who passed away last year.

The event coincides with the announcement of Hollywood actor Brian Cox as the Centre’s first Patron.

For a decade, the User Centre has been meeting the needs of three distinctive social groups, tech-savvy octogenarians (, adults with aphasia (, and other adults who use augmentative and alternative communication methods (

The Centre’s research led by Professor Annalu Waller is based upon the interaction between the public and the University.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” said Professor Waller, who recently received an OBE for her work in this field. “We are world-leading in inclusive technology because our groups allow our students to work with people with severe speech and physical disabilities, adults with aphasia and the elderly, and therefore, generate real results.

“From dentistry to psychology, our User Centre allows the wider University to communicate with people who have complex needs. This makes the students aware that when they develop software or research it has to be accessible for everyone. Not all modern Universities do this. In return for high-end technology and support, our students get hands on access to users with a different perspective.”

Brain Cox, former University Rector and Hollywood actor, will be announced as Patron, having been a keen supporter of the Centre’s innovative work since its foundation.

Brian, who will be unable to attend due to work commitments, said, “These groups have a huge role to play in teaching right across the entire University. I am delighted to see they continue to provide such wonderful inclusion for locals and consistently strive towards inclusive research. It’s an honour to be the Patron of such a world-leading centre.”