Applications invited for fully-funded PhD studentship on workplace skills development within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University

ESRC-SDS-Napier studentship logos

We are currently advertising a fully-funded PhD studentship within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University. (See the advertisement on and the studentship details on the Edinburgh Napier University careers pages.)

The title of the doctoral study is Meta-skills maturity for future workplaces.  

  • Applications are due by Friday 30th March 2018.
  • Interviews are scheduled for Wednesday 18th April 2018.
  • The studentship will start on Thursday 1st October 2018.

The studentship is one of a number supported by a partnership between ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science – Doctoral Training Partnership (SGSSS-DTP) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS). It is hosted by The Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, and Information and Communication Studies (STIS-ICS) pathway of the SGSSS-DTP. The studentship includes payment of the Home/EU level of full-time fees for three academic years, plus 36 monthly PhD stipend payments at the prevailing rate set by the UK Research Councils. (The stipend rate normally increases each year. From September 2018 the rate is £14,777.)

The aim of the proposed work is to develop new knowledge and practical tools that will produce a paradigm shift in the delivery of workplace skills development to one that focuses on metacognitive processes for meta-skills development. The PhD student who undertakes this study will investigate:

  • The means by which work-based/experiential learners develop their metacognitive knowledge, learn from their metacognitive experiences, and self-regulate their metacognitive development.
  • The interventions required to prompt and develop meta-skills in individual work-based/experiential learners.
  • The measurement/evaluation/assessment of the meta-skills of individual work-based/experiential learners as indicators of meta-skills ‘maturity’, and their potential value (and burden) for educational providers, employers and communities to ensure that the developed approach is economically feasible.

The work will make a theoretical contribution to Information Science by providing new insight into the impact of metacognitive knowledge on information behaviour and use in a novel context: meta-skills development. It is anticipated that the practical outcomes from this work will be used to prioritise investment in interventions for workplace learning for the benefit of Scotland’s economy. It responds to the wider skills policy agenda in Scotland that promotes self-efficacy. The findings will also be useful for informing agencies such as SDS in the provision and support of appropriate services for employers and training providers.

The Director of Studies for the successful candidate will be Dr Laura Muir, with co-supervision by Professor Hazel Hall.

The successful candidate will join a growing group of research students within the Centre for Social Informatics (see below), and the wider community of over 50 research students hosted by all five research centres within the School of Computing. This cohort includes other research council funded students, two of whom are supported by the SGSSS-DTP and SDS and are close to completion. The successful candidate will also join the network of other students sponsored through their doctoral studies by the partnership between the SGSSS-DTP and SDS at a number of other Scottish universities.

We are interested in receiving applications for the studentship on a full-time or a part-time basis. Your eligibility to apply will depend on your current level of degree qualification, prior training in advanced research methods, and your ability to meet the additional criteria for the studentship award.

If you hold, or are nearing successful completion of, a Masters degree in a social science subject which includes 60 credits of research training, you may be eligible to apply for the fully-funded PhD programme: 3 year full-time; 5 year part-time.

If you do not hold a Masters qualification and are not currently working towards one (or the Masters degree that you hold/are working towards does not include 60 credits of research methods training), you will be required to undertake an approved Masters-level research training programme for one year before transferring to this PhD programme. This route is also fully funded, i.e. you will be funded for the approved Masters-level research training programme and for the PhD.

In addition to the above, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Hold a good first degree (2.1 or first class).
  2. Demonstrate in interest in, and knowledge of, the broad theme of metacognition. We are particularly keen to hear from candidates who would like to explore workplace meta-skills development and its impact on innovation, employment growth and productivity at doctoral level.
  3. Have a good grounding in social research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods, with a keen desire to develop this further.
  4. Demonstrate an excellent level of spoken and written English. (Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University’s English language requirements.)
  5. Meet the eligibility requirements of the ESRC. NB overseas students from the EU are eligible to apply for a fees-only award (and not the stipend). Students from outwith the EU are ineligible to apply.

We would be particularly interested in applications from those with qualifications in subjects such as Education, Information Management, Information Science, Information Systems, Knowledge Management, Management, Organisational Studies, Psychology, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, Social Research, or Sociology. However, this is not a requirement: if you have a qualification in another social science subject and meet the criteria listed above, we would still be keen to hear from you.

For further information about this studentship, and to make an application, please contact Dr Laura Muir by email at

Please apply online by following the links on the Edinburgh Napier University applications page at Since this studentship is hosted the Centre for Social Informatics, which is based in the School of Computing, please make your application through either the Computing full-time or Computing part-time link.

Please include the following in your online application:

  • A personal statement that includes your reasons for applying, and demonstrates that you meet the eligibility criteria listed above.
  • A completed SGSSS Equal Opportunities (EO) form

Your application should be received by Friday 30th March 2018.

If  you have any queries about this studentship, or how to apply, please feel free to contact Dr Laura Muir by email at

Current doctoral studies within the Centre for Social Informatics:

CSI at i3 dinner 2017

Laura Muir (second from right) and Hazel Hall (third from right) with research students from the Centre for Social Informatics at the i3 conference dinner 2017

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