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Stephen MacDonell

MCom(Otago), PhD(Cantab), MIITP

Professor - Part Time
8.13, Otago Business School Bldg
+64 3 479 5032
Web page
Research group
Information Systems and Software Engineering


I hold a part-time appointment as Professor in Information Science at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. I was awarded BCom(Hons) and MCom degrees from the University of Otago and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. My research has been published in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, ACM Computing Surveys, Empirical Software Engineering, Information & Management, the Journal of Systems and Software, Information and Software Technology, and the Project Management Journal, and I have presented my research findings at numerous international conferences.

I am a Fellow of IT Professionals NZ, Senior Member of the IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society, Member of the ACM, and I serve on the Editorial Board of Information and Software Technology.

I am also Theme Leader for IT, Data Analytics and Modelling in New Zealand’s National Science Challenge Science for Technological Innovation.

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I am a researcher of behavioural software engineering – my aim is to better understand and improve how we build and deploy software-intensive systems. My research is focused on four related aspects of empirical software engineering: teams, practices, analytics, and evidence. I use statistical, machine-learning and knowledge-based methods to model aspects of software practices, processes and projects, often in conjunction with expert-judgment approaches. My research on software processes and projects has attracted significant external funding, supporting the work of numerous postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students.

See also my google scholar entry and my ResearchGate page.

International collaborative projects

China: College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Phase-based Software Forecasting, 2017 to present

Hong Kong: Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, Time-aware Software Effort Prediction, 2017 to present

Multi-national: HELENA SURVEY - Hybrid dEveLopmENt Approaches in software systems development, 2016 to present

Germany: Process Engineering Group, Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Evidence and Agile Practices, 2016 to present

United Kingdom: School of Information Systems, Computing & Mathematics, Brunel University, Software Engineering Data Quality, Model Quality, and Sensitivity Analysis, 2008 to present

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Grants and Awards

Research Grants

2014, Ministry of Health (MOH0044) Review of antidote, antitoxin and antivenom stocks, $50,000 (PI)

2007-2012, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology – Research for Industry (PROJ-12552-NMTS-UOAX0712), Software process and product improvement, $840,000 p.a., 1.10.07-30.09.12 (with Profs. John Grundy and John Hosking, University of Auckland NZ, and others) (Co-PI)

2010-2011, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Pre-Seed Tech Jumpstart, FuzzyManager II, $10,000 (PI)

Research Awards & Distinctions

Best Paper Award (with S. Mensah, J. Keung, M.F. Bosu and K.E. Bennin), International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability and Security, 2017

Best Paper Award (with B. Raza and T. Clear), 8th International Conference on Evaluation of Novel Approaches to Software Engineering, 2013

Best Research Paper Award (with M.F. Bosu), 22nd Australasian Software Engineering Conference, 2013

Best Short Paper Award (with M. Shepperd), 4th International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, 2010

Teaching and Learning Grants

Recipient of a SCIENCES Teaching and Learning Development Grant (University of Otago) to enable the development of animations to be incorporated in the teaching of difficult concepts in COMP 102.

Recipient of an Educational Technology Support Services (ETSS) Teaching Technology grant (University of Otago) to support the development of:

(1) an automatic test assessment and feedback system for COMP 101

(2) formative and flexible self-assessment modules for COMP 102.

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PhD Supervision

I have supervised through to completion 26 Doctoral students and 21 Master's thesis students. I am always keen to hear from top students who are interested in undertaking postgraduate study, for PhD and Master's degrees. Before making contact with me please read and consider these two documents:

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Service and Leadership

National Roles

  • Deputy Chair, Software Innovation New Zealand (SI^NZ), 2016 to present
  • Theme Leader – IT, Data Analytics and Modelling, Science for Technological Innovation, Kia Kotahi Mai: Te Ao Putaiao me Te Ao Hangarau (National Science Challenge 10), 2016 to present
  • Information Technology Professionals (NZ), Chair, Seoul Accord Degree Accreditation Board, 2015 to present
  • Royal Society of New Zealand, Member, Expert Reference Group for the Review of the Science Technician Workforce, 2015-2016

Research Proposal Reviewer


  • Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), Kuwait University, Israel Science Foundation, National Research Foundation of South Africa, European Heads of Research Councils, Research Council of Norway.


  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Science Investment Round

Journal Editorship and Refereeing

Editorial board member:

  • Information and Software Technology (Elsevier), 2008 to present

Paper reviewer:

  • Reviewer of research papers submitted to ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (ACM), Automated Software Engineering (Springer), Empirical Software Engineering (Springer), IEEE Software (IEEE), IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (IEEE), Information and Software Technology (Elsevier), Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (Emerald), and the Journal of Systems and Software (Elsevier).

Conference Programme Committees


  • Programme Co-chair, International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE), 2016 and 2018


  • PC member for the International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE), the International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM), the International Conference on Software and System Process (ICSSP), and the Asia-Pacific and Australasian Software Engineering Conference (APSEC and ASWEC), among others.

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