Seminar: Use-Inspired Research

David Shepherd



David C. Shepherd

Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Computer Science

Thursday January 26, 2023

10:30 am

Location: Patrick F. Taylor Hall Room 1212


“The Pasteur’s quadrant approach implies that it is possible to couple, simultaneously, the development of fundamental science to the solution of problems important to society." -Donald Stokes

Science is often artificially segmented into curiosity-driven research and completely applied research. However, there is a hybrid type of research, often called use-inspired research, that starts from important societal problems, but invents new fields, techniques, and fundamental knowledge to attack these problems. During my career, and especially while in academia, this is how I have conducted my research.

In this talk, I will explain the basics of use-inspired research, why it is important to our scientific landscape today, and illustrate it with my research projects spanning robotics, CS education and outreach, and healthcare.  


David Shepherd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.  He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Delaware, and his B.S. in Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.  David has since worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, built sweat equity as employee #9 at Tasktop Technologies, and risen to Senior Principal Scientist at ABB Corporate Research.  His research has produced tools that have been used by thousands, innovations that have been featured in the popular press, and practical ideas that have won business plan competitions.  Dr. Shepherd currently serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Systems & Software. His current work focuses on enabling end-user programming for industrial machines, increasing diversity in computer science, and using VR to treat ADHD.