Marcus Foth on creating a research niche and building a lab

Marcus Foth is an i/Director of the QUT Design Lab, founder and former director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Professor in Interactive & Visual Design, School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. Marcus talks about being on sabbatical, creating a research niche at the intersection of disciplines and publishing in diverse venues. He also shares his experiences of setting up a new lab and of chairing conferences. 

“We need to first focus on the passion and zest of our researchers - and it’s not these bean counting KPIs, it’s the beans themselves”

He talks about (times approximate) …

01:41 His sabbatical experience (long professional development leave) – nice to have time to think

04:10 Moving from Germany to Brisbane Australia and finding a PhD focus

09:15 Finding his PhD niche at the intersection of various fields

12:45 Choosing a deliberate publication strategy across different disciplines, rejecting a monolithic approach (not just think of CHI)

15:55 Publishing edited books and value of the process for networking, building a new field

20:45 Lessons learnt choosing a publisher

23:35 Conveying the narrative of your research, helping people interpret your publication venues

25:35 Starting up the Urban Informatics Lab and building a culture and identity – the value of the sign on the door

29:45 Lessons learnt leading a group, needing time to grow, and promoting inclusiveness

34:45 Reflecting on service roles, chairing a conference and the opportunities that come with service

40:05 Lab activities and when the lab grows too big

42:35 Needing more conversations about the research beans, not just counting the beans

46:05 End

Related links:

Urban Informatics Lab -

References to his books from here -

Smart Cities Summer School –

Jaz Choi -

Designing Interactive Systems (DIS2016) conference -