Standing on the shoulders of giants…
Back in 2009, I remember discussing my initial attempt at a literature review with Sal Craig when he asked me, ‘Who are your giants? Whose shoulders are you going to stand on?’. To paraphrase Newton if I have seen any further, it is by standing on the shoulders of my giants, of whom there are several. To them all, I am extremely grateful to for your help, support and encouragement over the last four years.
To my industrial giants Buro Happold, thank you for the generous sponsorship. Thank you to all those I worked with over the last four years throughout my engineering doctorate (EngD). To Lindsey, Christine and Celia for having the patience to read my work. Special thanks have to go Sal and Neil for their advice in the earlier years of the research. Thanks to Zack for all he taught me while completing his own EngD. Mark, thank you for helping me through all the EngD modules and accompanying me on this journey. And to Jonathan, a huge thank you for all the proof reading, cups of tea and the friendship extended to me since the day I started back in 2008.
In the academic world I wish to thank the ESPRC for funding the EngD programme, which I was fortunate to be a part of. Thank you to Eleanor Van Den Heuvel and Linda Paul at Brunel University for helping me coordinate the participants and usability studies. I’d also like to thank all of the study participants who gave up their time to help me, without whom this research would not have been possible.
Within the school of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, I’d like to thank Dr Hua Dong for her invaluable advice throughout the doctorate. Dr Mark Young thank you for the statistical help and advice on study design. Dan Lockton, thank you for pointing me in the right direction and for continuing to encourage me throughout. Your work has been an inspiration as to what research work can achieve. Professor David Harrison, thank you for providing me with the opportunity to undertake the EngD in the first place and for your continued support and reassurance over the years.
The biggest of all the giants is my Dad, who I cannot thank enough for the opportunities he has given me, the constant encouragement he provides and for always being there for me. I am so fortunate to have a champion like you, who is supportive and motivating in equal measures. Alongside my Dad there is Catherine, my sister Emma and the rest of my family in South Africa, thank you for being in my life.
To my friends Julia, Anna, Kat, Anna, and Sarah – thank you for your continued friendship, support, hugs, skype chats, laughs and cups of tea along the way. David, thank you for taking the time to proof read this thesis, your input was invaluable. Thank you Ferg, for all the conversations, philosophical debates and inspirational conversations over coffee and cake. I am truly lucky to count you amongst my friends. And Tim, thank you for all the support and encouragement you give me, and the patience and unwavering faith you have in me. You believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself. For that I am eternally grateful. Love, always.
I would like to dedicate this thesis to the memory of my mother, Jenny Combe (1948-1994), who is a constant source of inspiration. I hope she would have been proud.
Source: EngD, Brunel University, 2012