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Cambridge Global Challenges


Technology; Design; Data; Intelligence; Computer Laboratory; School of Technology

Professor Alan Blackwell is a Senior Member of the Cambridge Computer Laboratory, a Fellow of Darwin College and co-Director of the Crucible network for interdisciplinary collaboration of technologists with researchers in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He is also a non-executive Director of Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation subsidiary of the University of Cambridge.

Alan and his team design and build new information technologies, applying current methods from fields such as artificial intelligence, big data visualisation, internet of things and programming language design. Their theoretical interests focus on the fundamentals of human behaviour when interacting with technology.

Alan has a long-standing mission to make meaningful contributions to the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people through the design of new technologies, including software that is directly programmable and customizable by end-users, and making IT accessible to those with a wide range of social backgrounds and abilities.

Alan’s concerns for global equality were acquired with the egalitarian traditions of his native New Zealand, as a result of which he has often collaborated with technology-focused Cambridge NGOs such as Aptivate and Africa’s Voices Foundation. His motivation to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals through the participation in Cambridge Global Challenges is also shown by his previous role as Director of the EPSRC Ideas Factory "Bridging the Global Digital Divides”, and by the active publishing of research investigations of modern technology infrastructure in the light of universal human rights.




Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Funding Opportunities

Find out about open funding opportunities, pre-call announcements, responsive calls, studentships and awards relevant to the global...