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Biography, Jesper Simonsen

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The biography of Jesper Simonsen is below described according to his university obligations within research, teaching, and administration.

Research Record
Teaching Record
Administrative Record


Research Record

I hold a Ph.D. in computer science, a M.Sc. in computer science and communications, and a B.Sc. in administrative computer science from Roskilde University. I am employed as professor in Design Studies at Roskilde University. Prior to joining the University, I worked a number of years as an IT designer in Danish industry.

My research is practice oriented, purpose-driven, constructive and problem solving research addressing application areas of a complex, unpredictable, contingent, context dependent and situated nature. My background is rooted in Participatory Design (PD) and specifically in the internationally acknowledged Scandinavian Approach to participatory design, within which Danish research in particular is recognised by many and viewed as world leading. My research area also includes Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Knowledge Management (KM), and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC). Most of my research is action research based and conducted in close collaboration with industry. I master qualitative methods but have also high ranking publications using quantitative methods as well. I have established and managed the research group ‘User-Driven IT Innovation’ (UDI) at the CBIT department and participated in establishing, consolidating, and managing 5 large research programmes The research projects that I have managed have all been in collaboration with private and public partners and have included 13 different international and Danish organisations. My international research cooperation includes a year long stay abroad, organising several international conferences, editing an international journal for a six year period, and several memberships on advisory, editorial, and executive boards.

Most of my practice oriented research has the perspective of the IT designer in charge of designing and implementing IT based solutions in organisations. My main research interest is the study of work practices of users and designers for the purpose of offering theories and methods for systems design in an organizational context. Designing in an organizational context requires competencies that are truly interdisciplinary covering both the analysis of the specific work domains and organisational business context as well as the design and implementation of relevant and innovative IT based solutions. My main research expertise and experience has since 1991 evolved around a combination of four research strands:

My current research combines the four research strands into my research program on Effects-Driven IT Development (EDIT). Since I established EDIT in 2005 my research has been related directly to health informatics and the health care sector.

The ultimate goal of EDIT is to develop a new commercial contract model for IT projects, where the customer’s payment is dependent on the measurable effects of using the vendor’s system. The idea is to establish a strategic partnership where customer and IT vendor share the responsibility of providing IT solutions that meet agreed-upon measurable effects. The hypothesis is that by substituting system functionality with measurable and agreed-upon effects of using the system, the contract will provide more appropriate means for managing the customer-vendor relationship and for working systematically toward meeting customer goals.

From 1991 and until 1999, I worked within the MUST-research program developing theories of and approaches to contextual IT design. Contextual IT design projects runs the course from the emergence of the first idea involving change in a company to the development of a cohesive vision for overall change. One main result has been the MUST-method - a coherent method for participatory design. The MUST method is used in courses at most Danish Universities as well as by a number of private companies and public organizations.

From 2000 and until 2003, I was involved in the research program DIWA: Design and use of Interactive Web Applications. This program examined how Web-technology – as a networked, distributed computing platform – will change IS development and use as well as to develop conceptual frameworks and guidelines to support the practice of designing and managing Web-based information systems.

From 2004 and until 2007 I was engaged in the Healthcare IT (HIT) research program focusing on IT-supported communication and coordination in the healthcare domain. The purpose of the program was to develop conceptual frameworks, design principles, prototypes, and methods to support the design, implementation, and use of collaborative healthcare information systems.


Teaching Record

My teaching experience is dominated by the interdisciplinary, problem-orientated, and team-based approach known from Roskilde University (RUC). My background at RUC includes a year-long participation and engagement in developing the current overall educational structure of RUC as well as the current masters program in Computer Science and Informatics.

I have an extensive teaching history, including the development of from the ground up courses at all levels (Basic Studies in Natural Sciences, BS and MS in Computer Science and Informatics), the supervision of numerous project groups at all levels including over 50 master’s students (many combining their master’s thesis with Communication or programs from Humanities or  Social Science), as well as the supervision of 4 Ph.D. students.

I have from the ground up developed my current courses, ‘IT in Context’ (ITIC) and 'Userdriven Design' utilizing results from the MUST research program. These courses provides the students with theoretical, methodological, as well as practical competences in participatory design based on the MUST method.

Our department has for many years conducted systematic evaluations of all courses and their respective teachers. The evaluations of my teaching has consistently given me top ratings.


Administrative Record

My administrative record dates back to 1985 and includes membership in RUC’s Student Council, The Academic Council (KON), The Steering Committee for Administrative Development at RUC, The Study Board of Basic Studies in Natural Sciences, and The Study- and Coordination Committees of ITU. It also includes the position as the director of studies for master programmes in Computer Science and Interactive Media at RUC, Interdisciplinary IT development at ITU, as well as chairing The National Board of External Examiners for Information Science and Interactive Media (IIM.dk). In addition to my educational related administrative experiences, I have participated in 5 Ph.D. assessment committees and in the evaluation committees of 10 Ph.D. positions and 8 Associate Professor positions. I have chaired several of these committees.

During the period of 1996-2002, as director of studies, I have developed a masters program in Interdisciplinary IT development (as RUC’s masters program for the newly established ITU) as well as RUC’s popular combination masters program in Interactive Media. In parallel with developing these programs, I managed a complete restructuring of all programs at The Computer Science Department at RUC in order to match the course structure of ITU.

In 2005-2006, I was assigned the task of developing the initial proposal and strategy for a new program in Informatics, which opened in 2007. The bachelor and masters programs in Informatics is most central to RUC’s new Basic Studies of the Humanities and Technology. The Informatics program can also be combined with programs in Computer Science: Overall this has led to a substantial strengthening of IT educations at RUC.

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