Lachlan Urquhart


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Personal profile


Dr Lachlan Urquhart is a Senior Lecturer in Technology Law and Human-Computer Interaction. He is founder and director of the interdisciplinary Regulation and Design Lab. He is Co-Director of the Scottish Research Centre for Intellectual Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT) and the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance, and Privacy (CRISP). He is Founder and Director of the Regulation and Design (RAD) Lab. His main research interests are in the socio-technical aspects of designing, living with, and regulating emerging information technologies. He has a multidisciplinary background in computer science (PhD) and law (LL.B; LL.M) and he has studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, and Nottingham.

He is the Law School lead for the Centre for Data, Culture, and Society; on the Design Informatics Institute management board; and a research associate at the Edinburgh Futures Institute. He is a Visiting Researcher and Founding Member of the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham; a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, a Research Fellow at the Information Society Law Centre, Universitá degli Studi di Milano, and member of the international Emotional AI Lab. He was a visiting scientist at Fraunhofer AICOS, Porto, and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Business Information Ethics, Meiji University, Tokyo. 


He has published over 50 papers in leading venues in computing, law, and ethics. He has been a lead and co-investigator on projects totalling over £6m from EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, Universitas 21, and Impact Accelerator Funds. He is currently Principal Investigator of the EPSRC £1.2m ‘Fixing the Future: Right to Repair and Equal-IoT’ project and Co-Investigator on the ESRC Emotional AI in Smart Cities project, EPSRC Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Governance Node, and various projects in the EPSRC Horizon Trusted Data Driven Products hub.

For up-to-date details on recent activities, please see his website.


Current Projects

- £1.2m EPSRC funded Fixing the Future: The Right to Repair and Equal-IoT. (PI)

- £3.2m EPSRC funded Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Governance and Regulation Node. 

- £60k TAS Hub Integrator project on Data Protection by Design and Default for Smart Homes with ICO

- Book project entitled 'Regulating Ubicomp by Design' to be published with Cambridge University Press.

- £4.1m EPSRC funded Horizon Digital Economy Research Centre on Trusted Data Driven Products (Founding Member).

- £720,000 UKRI and Japan Science & Technology Agency co-funded project Emotional AI in Smart Cities: Cross Cultural Lessons from UK and Japan on Designing for An Ethical Life. This project is with Bangor and Northumbria Universities in the UK and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific, Chuo and Meiji Univerisities in Japan.

Past Projects include:

- £25,000 Horizon funded Memory Machine 2.0 project

- £1m EPSRC funded ‘Defence Against Dark Artefacts’ project examining technical, sociological & legal requirements for effective management of smart home cybersecurity. This is a collaborative project with the Universities of Nottingham, Cambridge, Imperial College London and a range of industry partners incl. BT, Cisco, ARM.

- £4,000 Universitas 21 funded Cardographer Online Project.

- £50,000 ESRC/AHRC Japan-UK Social Science and Humanities Connections co-funded project on Emotional AI in commercial and security contexts with Bangor University and Ritsumeiken Asia Pacific University. See final report here.

- UoN Impact Accelerator £9,500 funded Intelligent Ideation: Cardographer project.

- Co-I: £90,000 Horizon funded ‘Memory Machine’ project on co-designing a memory preserving IoT device with dementia sufferers. 

- £16,000 Horizon funded ‘Moral-IT: Enabling Design of Ethical Systems’ on developing card-based tools for building ethical IT systems, which are now available here (PI)

-  £30,000 UoN Research Priority Area funded project ‘About Algorithms & Beyond’ exploring aspects of algorithms and IoT,

- £8,000 UoN Digital Research funded ‘Ethics of Internet of Things in Research’ on new strategies to manage risks of using IoT used in research; 

- £1,500 DEN funded project on 'Games & Human Values’ exploring how games can be medium of critique for wider societal concerns

- Horizon funded project on ‘Information Privacy by Design Cards’ with Microsoft Research, which was also led to a c£140,000 US National Science Foundation funded partner project based at NYU.


Human-Computer Interaction and Governance (Course Organiser)

Legal Challenges of Information Technology (Course Organiser)

Information Technology Law (Course Organiser) 

Law of e-Commerce (Course Organiser)

Electronic Commerce Law (Course organiser)

Data Protection and Information Privacy Law 

EU Data Protection Law 

Controversies in the Data Society (Edinburgh Futures Institute)

Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation MOOC

Research students

Natalie Leesakul - 'Manufacturing Robots and the Law' (External: Horizon, University of Nottingham) 

Robbie Scarff - 'Regulating emotional artificial intelligence: exploring expert and citizen perspectives using design fictions'

Ayça Atabey - 'Fairness, Digital Technologies and Vulnerable Users'

Matthew Jewell - 'Dissent in the smart city: Contesting cyber-physical architectures'

Aditi Surana - 'Democratic Data Governance and Design'

Yiwei Lu - 'Representation Learning for Argumentation-based Legal Ontology'


LL.B (Hons), Edinburgh

LL.M Information Technology and Telecommunciations Law (Distinction), Strathclyde

Ph.D Computer Science, Nottingham

Research Interests



External positions

Visiting Researcher, University of Nottingham

31 Jul 2018 → …

College Research Themes

  • Data and Digital


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