Introduction to SMARTlab

SMARTlab is a research centre has long been engaged in a broad spectrum of research, operating three research clusters, which encompass nine core areas across the range of digital media and creative technology innovation disciplines and methods (http://www.ucd.ie/smartlab/).

The SMARTlab method is intrinsically transdisciplinary due both to the multi-disciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds of those involved, and also to the emerging needs of a transdisciplinary academy.

Founded by Professor Lizbeth Goodman in 1992 while at the BBC / Open University, SMARTlab’s research team and its methods have evolved through four further institutions, including the University of Surrey, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, the University of East London, and now the current main base at University College Dublin (UCD).

SMARTlab also partnered with the UK’s leading thinktank on the future of education, Futurelab (created by Lord David Puttnam, with research directed by Professor Goodman 2008-10), and is now running regional hubs in New York, Toronto, and New South Wales Australia as well as in Dublin. This new lab in Stockholm is intended to focus most directly on achievement of xR for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

SMARTlab’s core team has graduated over 40 high calibre practice-based PhDs in that time, with the institute achieving major international status.

SMARTlab’s ethos is simple: every project is grounded in a need or an opportunity within a community, culture or research environment. The team spends time getting to know the local people, issues, concerns and needs before involving the larger group of experts, who may include artists, computer scientists, industry professionals, educators and scholars. The larger, integrated cohort then develops new technology tools with real impact, whether for individuals, for enterprises or for wider social aims.

SMARTlab selects projects and teams on the basis of ethical concerns, social engagement and the ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary groups, as well as for the originality and potential impact of the research, in basic and applied terms. In every context, the aim is to effect knowledge transfer within the team, between teams and local communities, and within broader academic and industry relations.