PhD Studentship in Designing for Digital Neighbourhoods Designing for Digital Neighbourhoods

Three-year full time

This project explores the links between ICT infrastructures and social communities at the scale of the neighbourhood. The project studies how such ICT infrastructures, and in particular broadband internet access, become localized within a community; and the broader impacts this may have on social inclusion and sense of place within a neighbourhood setting. The overall aim is to explore how to achieve socially sustainable digital neighbourhoods.

Studentship Description

The aim of the project is to develop and implement a design proposal for a neighbourhood to connect online spaces and physical spaces. This will explore how such an intervention can contribute to integrating local places with online networks. The project will work as part of the broader research that aims to develop a model for public spaces that engage people through their digital social networks that will impact on planning and policy for regional ICT access and neighbourhood settings. 

The student will take an action research approach and will spend time working in neighbourhoods in Cornwall. The student will also benefit from interactions with project partners such as Superfast Cornwall/ERDF, BT and Citizen’s Online. The project is part of a larger research project funded by the EU Marie Curie programme and the European Regional Development Fund.

Person Specification

Applicants should have a Masters qualification in Architecture, Urban Design, Interaction Design, HCI, Anthropology or another related discipline. Applicants would be expected to have a clear interest in the impacts of technologies on the use of public space and on social networks, and an ability to undertake cross-disciplinary research with a strong spatial component. Strong analytical skills are desirable, as is experience of conducting fieldwork and an ability to work independently. Candidates should have excellent written and oral communication skills. We will actively support students in disseminating the results of their work and the development of their academic career. The PhD will be under the supervision of Dr. Katharine Willis and Professor Alessandro Aurigi.

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The studentship pays for fees (Home/EU student rate) and provides a £13,726 per year stipend for the student for three years. To be automatically eligible for full fees and stipend, candidates must be a UK/EU national who has been ordinarily resident in the EU for the previous 3 years. Overseas applicants are eligible, but must fund the £9,690 fee difference between Overseas fees (currently £13,640 per annum) and Home/EU student rate. This cannot come from the stipend and evidence of this funding must be submitted at the application stage.

How to apply for this position

Formal applications should be submitted to using the application form available at the apply button below. Mark the application DIGITAL NEIGHBOURHOODS. Do not send the form to Central Admissions, as indicated on the application form. Include a covering letter outlining motivation, interest and suitability for this project. Please note this is a specified project and we do not expect a project proposal but an indication as to how you would approach the project. Informal enquiries may be made before the submission date to This is a re-advertisement and previous applicants need not apply.

Application Deadline: 12 noon 16th September 2013

Interviews: 23rd September 2013.

Start date: 1st October 2013 or 1st January 2014

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