Prof David Prendergast

Anthropology, ALL Institute, International Development

Head of Departments of Anthropology and International Development
Professor in Science, Technology & Society

Rowan House
1st Floor
(01) 708 6205


David Prendergast is Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University. His research over the last twenty years has focused on later life-course transitions and he has authored a wide range of books and articles on ageing, health, technology, and social relationships. David’s doctorate, completed in 2002 at Cambridge University, was an ethnography of intergenerational relationships and family change in South Korea published as a monograph ‘From Elder to Ancestor, Old Age, Death and Inheritance in Modern Korea’ by Global Oriental. David subsequently worked on several major research projects at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Trinity College Dublin including a history of the British Colonial Wildlife Conservation, the provision of paid home care services in Ireland; and a three-year ESRC study into death, dying and bereavement in England and Scotland.  

David began working with Intel in 2006 attracted by the opportunity to utilize social research to design, develop, and evaluate culturally appropriate technologies to help enable older people to live independently. As Lead Social Scientist for Intel’s Digital Health Group in EMEA and Principal Investigator in the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre in Ireland, David led a diverse range of multidisciplinary research initiatives from the Global Ageing Project which explores the expectations and experiences of health and ageing around the world, to Irish and EU studies on pathways into health and social care, active retirement communities, loneliness, sleep and activity patterns, behavioural change, caregiver support systems, and social innovation. 

David moved to Intel Labs Europe in 2011 as User Experience Lead and helped set up and run the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities with Imperial College and University College London until 2015. He also held the positions of Visiting Professor of Healthcare Innovation at Trinity College Dublin and external examiner to the Design Ethnography MSc at Dundee University. In recent years David has focused on directing Urban Living Labs and ‘Internet of Things’ research testbeds in London, San Jose and Dublin. These include environmental and air pollution monitoring in Hyde Park and Enfield, a Flood Management System with Dublin City Council, a Smart Stadium project with Croke Park, and a co-funded collaboration with the Science Foundation Ireland LERO Centre and Maynooth University on designing autonomous vehicles for Older Adults. 

His most recent volume ‘Ageing and the Digital Life Course’ edited with Chiara Garattini was given a CHOICE ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ by the American Library Association and was described as one of ‘the two most fascinating books on aging in the 21st Century’ by the Huffington Post.
 After the loss of his daughter Beth to AML Leukaemia in 2008, David has been a keen advocate and fundraiser for LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. In 2014, he was named a ‘hero of the Fortune 500’ by Fortune Magazine and has been nominated and shortlisted for the Volunteer Ireland Awards. He has received the Intel Involved Global Hero Award, Intel’s highest honour, as well as an Intel Labs Gordon E. Moore Award for humanitarian contributions. Prior to joining Maynooth University, he completed his eleven-year career at Intel as an invited torchbearer at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

His recent documentary 'Circuits of Care: Ageing and Japan's Robot Revolution' was released in 2021.

Research Interests

Ageing, Smart Cities, East Asia, South Korea, Environmental Protest, Digital Health, Internet of Things, Science, Technology & Society, Death, Ritualisation, Independent Living, Home Care Provision, Loneliness and Social Isolation, Photography, Human Centred Design, Visual Ethnography

Post Doctoral Fellows / Research Team

Researcher Name Project Funding Body
Katja Seidel H2020 SHAPES


Year Publication
2016 Prendergast, D.; Garattini, C.; (2016) Aging and the digital life course. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books.
2006 Timonen, Virpi and Doyle, Martha and Prendergast, David (2006) No place like home: domiciliary care services for older people in Ireland. : Liffey Press.
2005 Prendergast, D.; (2005) From elder to ancestor: Old age, death and inheritance in modern Korea. Folkestone, UK: Global Oriental.


Year Publication
2021 Prendergast, David (2021) Circuits of Care: Ageing and Japan's Robot Revolution. Madrid: [Documentary]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2020 Prendergast, David (2020) 'Ethnography, Technology Design and the Future of 'Aging-in-Place'' In: The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives: 4th Edition. Santa Barbara: California : Praeger.
2019 Beckwith, R; Sherry, J; Prendergast, D (2019) 'Data Flow in the Smart City: Open Data Versus the Commons' In: The Hackable City: Digital Media and Collaborative City-Making in the Network Society. SINGAPORE : SPRINGER-VERLAG SINGAPORE PTE LTD. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Garattini, C. & Prendergast, D. (2016) 'Critical Reflections on Ageing and Technology in the Twenty First Century' In: Ageing and the Digital Life Course. Oxford : Berghahn Books.
2012 Prendergast, David and Somerville, Claire and Wherton, Joseph P (2012) 'Connecting Communities: The Role of Design Ethnography in Developing Social Care Technologies for Isolated Older Adults' In: Handbook of Ambient Assisted Living: Technology for Healthcare, Rehabilitation and Well-being. Amsterdam : IOS Press.
2011 Hockey, J.; Kellaher, L.; Prendergast, D.; (2011) 'Sustaining kinship: Ritualization and the disposal of human ashes in the United Kingdom' In: Remember Me: Constructing Immortality: Beliefs on Immortality, Life, and Death. [DOI]
2010 Kellaher, L.; Hockey, J.; Prendergast, D.; (2010) 'Wandering lines and cul-de-sacs: Trajectories of ashes in the United Kingdom' In: The Matter of Death: Space, Place and Materiality. [DOI]
2010 Hockey, J., Kellaher, L. & Prendergast, D. (2010) 'Ash Disposal and the making of new Memorial Environments in the UK' In: Sacred places in Modern Western Culture. Louvain : Peeters.
2009 Wherton, J. & Prendergast, D. (2009) 'The Building Bridges Project: Involving Older Adults in the Design of a Communication Technology to Support Peer-to-Peer Social Engagement' In: HCI and Usability for e-Inclusion. Berlin : Springer-Verlag.
2007 PRENDERGAST, DAVID and KELLAHER, LEONIE and HOCKEY, JENNY (2007) 'Sustaining Kinship: Ritualization and the Disposal of Human Ashes in the United Kingdom' In: Remember me: constructing Immortality - beliefs on immortality, life and death. New York : Routledge.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Seidel, K., Labor, M., Lombard Vance, R., McEvoy, E., Cooke, M., D’Arino, L., Desmond, D., Ferri, D., Franke, P., Gheno, I., Grigoleit, S., Guerra, B., Krukowski, A., Pešoutová, M, Pietri, I., Prendergast, D., Maguire, R., Manso, M., Saris, A.J., Sarlio-Siintola, S., Silva, T., Zarogianni, E., MacLachlan, M., SHAPES Consortium (2022) 'Implementation of a pan-European ecosystem and an interoperable platform for Smart and Healthy Ageing in Europe: An Innovation Action research protocol [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]'. Open Research Europe, 2 (85). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Kenneally, J.; Prendergast, D.; Maccani, G.; Donnellan, B.; Helfert, M.; (2014) 'Sustainable connected cities: Vision and blueprint towards managing IT for city prosperity and sustainability'. Communications in Computer and Information Science, . [DOI]
2014 Catherine McCabe, John Dinsmore, Anne Marie Brady, Gabrielle Mckee,Sharon O’Donnell, David Prendergast (2014) 'Using Action Research and Peer Perspectives to Develop Technology That Facilitates Behavioral Change and Self-Management in COPD'. 15 . [Full-Text]
2012 Garattini, Chiara and Wherton, Joseph and Prendergast, David (2012) 'Linking the lonely: an exploration of a communication technology designed to support social interaction among older adults'. 11 (2):211-222. [Full-Text]
2012 McHugh, JE and Wherton, JP and Prendergast, DK and Lawlor, BA (2012) 'Identifying opportunities for supporting caregivers of persons with dementia through information and communication technology'. 10 (4):220-230. [Full-Text]
2012 Schnittger, Rebecca IB and Wherton, Joseph and Prendergast, David and Lawlor, Brian A (2012) 'Risk factors and mediating pathways of loneliness and social support in community-dwelling older adults'. Aging and Mental Health, 16 (3):335-346. [Full-Text]
2011 Romero-Ortuno, Roman and Casey, Anne-Marie and Cunningham, Clodagh U and Squires, S and Prendergast, David and Kenny, Rose Anne and Lawlor, Brian A (2011) 'Psychosocial and functional correlates of nutrition among community-dwelling older adults in Ireland'. J Nutr Health Aging, 15 (7):527-531. [Full-Text]
2010 Plowman, T and Prendergast, D and Roberts, S and Sherry, J (2010) 'The Global Ageing Experience Project: Anthropology, technology and independent living'. 9 (2). [Full-Text]
2009 Prendergast, David and Sherry, John and Roberts, Simon and Plowman, Tim (2009) 'Technology and Independent Living: The Global Aging Experience Project'. 50 (8):9-10. [Full-Text]
2009 Prendergast, David and Roberts, Simon (2009) 'Practice, systems and technology for seniors'. 8 (1):59-61. [Full-Text]
2008 Behan, J and Prendergast, D and Quigley, B and Walsh, L (2008) 'Determining the Relationship between Sleep and Social Activity in Community Dwelling Older Individuals'. Gerontechnology, 7 (2). [Full-Text]
2007 Jenny Hockey, David Prendergast, Leonie Kellaher (2007) 'Of Grief and Wellbeing: Competing Conceptions of Restorative Ritualization'. 14 (1):1-14. [Full-Text]
2007 Hockey, Jenny and Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David (2007) 'The Matter of Materiality: An Ethnographic Approach to New Trends in the Disposal of Human Cremated Remains'. 37 (2):295-304. [Full-Text]
2007 Hockey, Jenny and Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David (2007) 'Sustaining kinship: Ritualization and the disposal of human ashes in the United Kingdom'. :35-50.
2007 Hockey, Jenny and Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David (2007) 'La cremation et le devenir des cendres'. ETHNOLOGIE FRANÇAISE, 37 (2):295-304. [Full-Text]
2006 Hockey, J and Kellaher, L and Prendergast, D (2006) 'Where did all the ashes go?'. 72 (3).
2006 Prendergast, David and Hockey, Jenny and Kellaher, Leonie (2006) 'Blowing in the wind? Identity, materiality, and the destinations of human ashes'. 12 (4):881-898. [Full-Text]
2005 Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David and Hockey, Jenny (2005) 'In the shadow of the traditional grave'. 10 (4):237-250. [Full-Text]
2004 Kellaher, L and Prendergast, D and Hockey, J (2004) 'Resistance, renewal or reinvention: the removal of ashes from crematoria'. 70 (4):10-13.
2003 Prendergast, David K and Adams, William M (2003) 'Colonial wildlife conservation and the origins of the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (1903--1914)'. 37 (2):251-260. [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2018 McLoughlin S.; Maccani G.; Prendergast D.; Donnellan B. (2018) Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences Living labs: A bibliometric analysis [Full-Text]
2018 McLoughlin S.; Prendergast D.; Donnellan B. (2018) SMARTGREENS 2018 - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Smart Cities and Green ICT Systems Autonomous vehicles for independent living of older adults insights and directions for a cross-european qualitative study [Full-Text]
2017 Little, Suzanne and Zhang, Dian and Ballas, Camille and O'Connor, Noel E and Prendergast, David and Nolan, Keith and Quinn, Brian and Moran, Niall and Myers, Mike and Dillon, Clare and others (2017) Proceedings of the First ACM International Workshop on the Engineering of Reliable, Robust, and Secure Embedded Wireless Sensing Systems Understanding packet loss for sound monitoring in a smart stadium IoT testbed [Full-Text]
2017 Guibene, Wael and Nowack, Johannes and Chalikias, Nikolaos and Fitzgibbon, Kevin and Kelly, Mark and Prendergast, David (2017) Wireless Communications and Networking Conference Workshops (WCNCW), 2017 IEEE Evaluation of LPWAN Technologies for Smart Cities: River Monitoring Use-Case [Full-Text]
2017 Maccani, G., McLoughlin, S., Prendergast, D., Donnellan, B. (2017) 12th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) Positioning Living Labs within Action Design Research: Preliminary Findings from a Systematic Literature Review [Full-Text]
2017 Maccani, G; McLoughlin, S; Prendergast, D; Donnellan, B (2017) International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) Positioning Living Labs within Action Design Research: Preliminary Findings from a Systematic Literature Review [Full-Text]
2016 Brandt, T.; Cudden, J.; Ketter, W.; Prendergast, D.; Sakurai, M.; Watson, R.T.; (2016) 2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016 Smart cities and the role of IS research in improving urban life
2014 Maccani, G., Donnellan, B., Kenneally, J., Prendergast, D., Helfert, M. (2014) 25th Innovation for Sustainable Economy & Society Conference (ISPIM) Systematic Analysis of Digitally Enabled Services for Sustainable Connected Cities [Full-Text]
2014 Maccani, Giovanni and Helfert, Markus and Kenneally, Jim and Donnellan, Brian and Prendergast, David K (2014) ISPIM Conference Proceedings Systematic analysis of digitally enabled services for Sustainable Connected Cities [Full-Text]
2014 Kenneally, J; Prendergast, D; Maccani, G; Donnellan, B; Helfert, M (2014) DESIGN SCIENCE: PERSPECTIVES FROM EUROPE Sustainable Connected Cities: Vision and Blueprint towards Managing IT for City Prosperity and Sustainability [Full-Text]
2013 Gallacher, S.; Kalnikaite, V.; McCann, J.; Prendergast, D.; Bird, J.; Jetter, H.C.; (2013) UbiComp 2013 Adjunct - Adjunct Publication of the 2013 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing SenCity: Uncovering the hidden pulse of a city [DOI]
2013 Milencovic, M.; Hanebutte, U.; Huang, Y.; Prendergast, D.; Pham, H.; (2013) Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings Improving User Comfort and Office Energy Efficiency with POEM (Personal Office Energy Monitor) [DOI]
2013 Kenneally, Jim and Prendergast, David and Maccani, Giovanni and Donnellan, Brian and Helfert, Markus (2013) European Design Science Symposium Sustainable Connected Cities: Vision and Blueprint towards Managing IT for City Prosperity and Sustainability [Full-Text]
2012 Schoning, Johannes and Rogers, Yvonne and Bird, Jon and Capra, Licia and McCann, Julie A and Prendergast, David and Sheridan, Charles (2012) International Joint Conference on Ambient Intelligence Intel Collaborative Research Institute-Sustainable Connected Cities
2009 Wherton, Joseph and Prendergast, David (2009) Symposium of the Austrian HCI and Usability Engineering Group The building bridges project: involving older adults in the design of a communication technology to support peer-to-peer social engagement
2009 Walsh L.; McLoone S.; Behan J.; Dishongh T.; Prendergast D.; Quigley B. (2009) IET Seminar Digest Determining sleep metrics and nocturnal activity using an unobtrusive pressure sensing grid [DOI]
2008 Behan, J; Prendergast, D; Walsh, L; Quigley, B (2008) SMART HOMES AND HEALTH TELEMATICS Social rhythms and nocturnal routines in community dwelling older adults
2008 Behan J.; Prendergast D.; Walsh L.; Quigley B. (2008) Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) Social rhythms and nocturnal routines in community dwelling older adults [DOI]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Ethnography and Technology Design Re/generation - Why the World Needs Anthropologists 2022 Annual Conference Berlin, Germany, 23/09/2022-25/09/2022.
2022 Katja Seidel, David Prendergast, A Jamie Saris (2022) You Need Something to Look Forward to European Association of Social Anthropologists 2022 Conference Belfast, North Ireland, 27/07/2022-29/07/2022.
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Circuits of Care Film Screening and Directors Q&A European Association of Social Anthropologists 2022 Conference Belfast, Northern Ireland, .
2022 David Prendergast and Naonori Kodate (2022) Ageing and Robots in Japan Digital Ethnography Group, Oxford Internet Institute Oxford University, 28/11/2022-.
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Circuits of Care VisuAAL Workshop Maynooth, Ireland, .
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Anthropology of Comparative Ageing Workshop Circuits of Care Screening and Q&A University College London, .
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Thrills, Pills and Spills: Ethnography, Design, and Ageing in Place Irish Anthropology Day Dublin, .
2022 David Prendergast (2022) Seminar - 'Determinants of Health' MSc Community Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin Dublin, Ireland, .
2022 Naonori Kodate, David Prendergast (2022) Can Robotics-Aided Care be Person Centred? Talk and Film Japan Research Centre Seminar, SOAS, London UK, 12/01/2022-.
2021 David Prendergast (2021) Film Showing and Panel on Digital / Analog Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival San Jose, USA, .
2021 David Prendergast, A Jamie Saris, Katja Seidel (2021) Life Worlds of Older Individuals in Europe H2020 SHAPES Dialogue Workshop Ireland, .
2021 Katja Seidel, David Prendergast, A Jamie Saris (2021) Lives Under Covid and the Terms Under Which We Become Old SIEF 2021, International Society for Ethnology and Folklore, Helsinki Finland, 15/06/2022-.
2021 Naonori Kodate, David Prendergast (2021) Film Screening and Panel Discussion 'Circuits of Care' AIIOT4DH, IEEE/ACM Conference on Connected Health Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies Washington DC, USA, .
2021 David Prendergast, Naonori Kodate (2021) Film Screening and Directors Discussion for la Fondation France-Japon de l'EHESS EHESS, Paris - School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences France, 20/05/2022-.
2021 David Prendergast, Naonori Kodate (2021) Japan's Robot Revolution SFI Advance CRT Summer School 2021 Ireland, .
2021 David Prendergast, Naonori Kodate (2021) Screening and Discussion: Circuits of Care Service Design Network Ireland Dublin, Ireland, .
2021 Naonori Kodate, David Prendergast (2021) Screening and Q&A: Circuits of Care Toyota Foundation Online Cafe Sessions Tokyo, Japan, .
2021 David Prendergast, Naonori Kodate (2021) Overview and Discussion of Circuits of Care: Ageing and Japan's Robot Revolution Response-ability Conference, Bristol, UK UK, .
2021 Seidel, Katja, David Prendergast and Jamie Saris (2021) Reshaping the SHAPES Project in the Covid-19 era Winter Ethnography School, Maynooth Ireland, .
2021 Naonori Kodate, David Prendergast (2021) Screening and Directors Discussion: Circuits of Care University of Bonn International Workshop - East Asia in the Digital Age - Digital Transformation in Technological, Economic, and Social Perspective Bonn, Germany, .
2020 Saris, Jamie, Katja Seidel and David Prendergast (2020) Ageing Names and Naming Ages Annual Conference of the Anthropological Association of Ireland Dublin City University, .
2020 Prendergast, David (2020) The Ethnographer, the Engineer and the Clinician: Co-designing Digital and Visual Platforms with and for Older Adults 16th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA2020: New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe Online, .
2020 David Prendergast (2020) Independent or Interdependent Living? Ethnography, Design and Technology in the Later Life-course’ MSc Immunology and Global Health, Maynooth University Ireland, .
2020 David Prendergast (2020) Design Ethnography Business Anthropology in the Digital Age. Department of Anthropology. Queens University Belfast Northern Ireland, .
2020 Prendergast, David (2020) Translating Research into Real World Impact ‘The Future of Multigenerational Neighbourhoods’. Agile Ageing Alliance – International Standards Organisation Ageing Societies Leaders Forum Online, .
2020 Prendergast, David (2020) Ethnography, IoT and Age-Friendly Sustainable Societies’ SFI ADVANCE Centre for Research Training. Ireland Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Contexts: Institutions Maynooth Ethnography Winter School Maynooth University, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Ethnography, Design & Ageing-in-Place ‘Debating Ageing’ Lecture Series, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Social Science and Connected Environments Tsuda University Tokyo, Japan, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Human-Centred Design for Ageing-in-Place Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Seminar on Technology-supported Community Care in Japan and Ireland, University College Dublin Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) The Life & Times of a Corporate Anthropologist University of Cambridge, Department of Anthropology ‘Anthropology Beyond the Academy’ Seminar Series Cambridge. UK, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Visual Anthropology Workshop Anthropological Association of Ireland 2019 Conference Maynooth University, Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Ethnography and the Future of Ageing in Place Health Research Board 2019 Grant Holders Conference Athlone, Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast and Daniel Balteanu (2019) Visual Ethnography Lab Anthropological Association of Ireland 2019 Conference Maynooth University, Ireland, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Plenary Panel Anthropology + Technology Conference: Championing Social Responsible AI Bristol, UK, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Human Centred Design for Aging-in-Place Future Technologies for Integrated Care Tokyo, Japan, .
2019 David Prendergast (2019) Ecologies of Care: Materials Wellcome Trust Funded Care Network University of Exeter, UK, .
2018 David Prendergast (2018) Ethnography, Technology Design and Independent Living Assisted Living and Learning (ALL) Institute Seminar Maynooth University, Ireland, .
2018 David Prendergast (2018) Academic-Industry Collaborations Department of Media Studies, Maynooth University Maynooth, Ireland, .
2018 David Prendergast (2018) Technology Design for Smart Communities SMARTGREENS 2018: International Conference on Smart Cities and Green ICT Systems Madeira, Portugal, .
2018 David Prendergast (2018) Human Centred Technology Design A Time to Grow – New Perspectives on Ageing Carrigoran House, Clare, Ireland, .
2018 David Prendergast (2018) The Shaman and the Scientist: Mountain Spirits, Wandering Ghosts and Environmental Protest Strategies in South Korea Anthropological Association of Ireland 2018 Conference University of Cork, Ireland, .


Year Publication
2017 Prendergast, D. (2017) Aging and the Digital Life Course’, Invited Author Review. [ANET/COS]
2015 Behan, Julie and Prendergast, David (2015) Monitoring sleep stages to determine optimal arousal times and to alert an individual to negative states of wakefulness. [ANET/COS]


Year Publication
2020 Foley, John, Linzi Ryan and David Prendergast (2020) Informal Caregivers and Digital Devices for Care Management. [Report]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
European Association of Social Anthropologists Member -
Anthropological Association of Ireland Member -
Association of Social Anthropologists of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Member -
British Association for Korean Studies Member -
American Anthropological Association Member -

Teaching Interests

Anthropological Research and Writing
Science, Technology and Society
Design Ethnography
Visual Anthropology
Ethnographic Filmmaking and Photography
Ageing and the Digital Life Course
East Asia
Experiential Learning

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2016 Rebekah Maguire PhD
2020 Ciaran Walsh PhD