Accessibility statement

Prof Paul Cairns MA(Oxon) DPhil(Oxon) FHEA
Head of Department


My research interests include:

  • Research methods for interactive technologies
  • Measurement of user experience
  • Player experience in digital games
  • Games for health and wellbeing

As interactive technologies touch on all aspects of modern life, research in this area needs to draw on the disciplines and methods of several fields including computer science, psychology and the social sciences. I place a strong emphasis on good research methods and, with my work, try to exemplify best practice in diverse methods as well as communicating to others what that best practice is.


  • Post-graduate. Certificate in Higher Education, Middlesex University, 2000
  • DPhil in Mathematics, Oxford University, 1995
  • BA Honours in Mathematics, Oxford University, 1992


  • Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, University of York, 2019-present
  • Reader in Human-Computer Interaction, University of York, 2012-2019
  • Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction, University of York, 2007-2012
  • Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction, UCL, 2005-2007


Dr Cairns is a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in the department of Computer Science. He has a strong track record in diverse research methods across domains of user experience, human error, statistics and mathematical modelling in HCI. He is particularly interested in the player experience of digital games. He co-edited the first book on Research Methods for HCI (CUP, 2008) and more recently published a book on Doing Better Statistics in HCI (CUP, 2019). He has extensive research student training experience having successful supervised 17 PhD students to completion, was co-I and developed the training programme for the EPSRC CDT in Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence.


  • Social Barriers to People with Disabilities in Online Games (2017-2018; Morrell Centre for Toleration)

Working with the AbleGamers Charity, in this project we are investigating the social wellbeing of players with disabilities in relation to digital games, and what factors help and hinder social integration in digital games.

  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence (IGGI), (2014-2022; EPSRC)

As part of the IGGI Centre for Doctoral training I designed the formal training programme for the 4 year PhD programme and managed its implementation across three institutions.

  • Computer Aided Design for Games (2008-2011; EPSRC & InnovateUK)

The aim CAD-GAME was to develop the next generation new tools for the testing, analysis and design of video games. In CAD-GAME I led the user-centred design of innovative data gathering and analysis tools for game designers.

  • The Usability of Complex Information Spaces (2004-2009; EPSRC)

This platform grant was aimed at understanding the challenges in designing interfaces that allow users to explore, navigate and make sense of data. In this project I established new methods and models for capturing how users work with their data.

Departmental and University Roles

  • Research Student Training Officer
  • Head of Department
  • IGGI Director
  • Departmental Theme lead for People, Health and Wellbeing
  • Professor of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Research Group Lead HCI


Contact details

Department of Computer Science
University of York
Deramore Lane
YO10 5GH

Phone: +44 (0)1904 325674

Office: CSE/008


Research Group: