14 June 2022,
by Florian Mathis, University of Glasgow
“Hoi!”, I’m Florian, a joint PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. My research interests are at the intersection of Human-computer Interaction (HCI), Usable Security, and Virtual Reality (VR). Specifically, I propose, evaluate, and provide first evidence of the suitability of remote VR studies for evaluating real-world prototype systems. Sounds complex? Not at all (well, maybe a bit…)! Feel free to drop me an email (email@example.com) if you want to learn more about my research, but for now, let’s focus on something more tangible!
After spending more than half of my PhD in lockdown (and on Zoom), I decided to apply for SICSA’s Saltire Emerging Researcher Grant to visit one of my favourite usable security and privacy labs in Germany: Prof. Florian Alt’s Usable Security and Privacy group at the research institution CODE at the Bundeswehr University Munich.
During the research visit, I collaborated with undergraduate students, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and world-leading usable security and privacy experts. During the visit, I worked on a scoping review in the authentication field and kick-started long-term collaborations between the Bundeswehr University Munich, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, and the University of Glasgow about a) bystander awareness during productivity tasks in VR and b) shoulder surfing in the wild. Both projects will continue after the research visit and hopefully transition into practice!
I also had the opportunity to attend the CHI 2022 conference together with the Bundeswehr University Munich to meet old (and new) friends from the HCI community. There, I met several researchers and practitioners working in the broader HCI field. A few days later, I visited the newly created HCI lab in St.Gallen, where I presented and discussed my research with Prof. Johannes Schöning’s group. A highlight of the trip to St.Gallen was Prof. Johannes Schöning’s inaugural lecture, which was a fantastic mix of scientific research and Homer Simpson (https://twitter.com/JohannesSchoeni/status/1526850973632708608).
Overall, the research visit was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about neighbouring
fields, learn from other PhD students’ works, and showcase the research we do at the University of Glasgow and at the University of Edinburgh. While my time in Prof. Florian Alt’s research group is over, there are lots of ongoing collaborations and many more projects planned! Our collaborations will continue to grow and hopefully result in some real-world impact.
Finally, I want to thank SICSA and the University of Glasgow’s Mobility Funding for supporting this research visit! I hope that my experiences inspire and motivate fellow PhD students to consider a research visit as part of their PhD: There is more to PhD than writing papers.