Elizabeth Churchill To Spearhead MBZUAI’s Human-Computer Interaction

Renowned and respected user experience (UX) expert Professor Elizabeth Churchill will spearhead Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence’s (MBZUAI) Human-Computer Interaction Department.

With an illustrious career spanning academia and industry, Professor Churchill brings a wealth of experience and expertise in human-computer interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence (AI), psychology, and cognitive science. She joins MBZUAI as Department Chair of HCI and Professor of HCI and will lead the establishment of the university’s newest department, having added computer science and robotics departments last year.

Her announcement coincides with her most recent prestigious Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) Lifetime Practice Award accepted in Hawaii this month, which follows her 2023 ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award.

“I am honoured and excited to accept the opportunity,” Professor Churchill said. “This initiative represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of AI education and research, where the fusion of human-centred design principles with cutting-edge technology will shape the future of AI innovation. I look forward to collaborating with students, faculty, and industry partners to cultivate a vibrant community of HCI scholars and practitioners dedicated to advancing AI for the benefit of society.”

Professor Churchill most recently served as Senior Director of UX at Google, where she led a team focused on creating developer tooling for Fuchsia, a next generation operating system. Prior to that she formed and staffed research teams for Google’s design system, Material Design, and for Flutter, an open-source UI software development kit also created by Google. Before joining Google, she held key positions at leading technology companies including eBay, Yahoo, and PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), where she spearheaded innovative research and design initiatives.

Professor Churchill holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the University of Cambridge and honorary doctorates from the University of Sussex and the University of Stockholm. She is a member of the ACM CHI Academy, an ACM Fellow, and an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

She has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and magazines, co-edited five books, and co-authored two books, demonstrating her commitment to advancing knowledge in the field of HCI. Her current focus is on social, computer, engineering, design, and data sciences to create innovative end-user applications. She has more than 50 patents granted or pending.

At MBZUAI, Professor Churchill will continue groundbreaking research in HCI and AI, while also nurturing the next generation of AI leaders through her dedication to education and mentorship.

“Professor Churchill’s exceptional track record of research and leadership in HCI and AI will further elevate our university’s academic programs and strengthen our commitment to excellence in AI education and research,” MBZUAI’s President and University Professor, Eric Xing, said. “This appointment underscores MBZUAI’s commitment to attracting world-class talent and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration in AI.”

North America dominates the global HCI market and academic graduate programs available at leading institutions including Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and University of Washington – Seattle. MBZUAI plans to join these select few establishments as it develops similar postgraduate programming – but with a significant research-based component – to further the UAE’s ambitious innovation trajectory and continue to provide a pipeline of cutting-edge talent for local industry and applications markets.