About Hazel Hall

Professor Hazel Hall is Professor of Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, UK, Docent of Information Studies a Åbo Akademi, Finland.

Fully-funded PhD opportunity: labour market intelligence and machine learning

ESRC-SDS-Napier studentship logos

We invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University.

The studentship is entitled Enhancing labour market intelligence using machine learning. It is suitable for holders of undergraduate or Masters degrees in subjects such as Business Information Systems, Business Studies, Computing, Data Science, or Information Science, who have interests in one or more of the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Natural Language Processing
  • Business Information Technology
  • Data Science
  • Information Science
  • Labour Market Intelligence

The project

The success of Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) for forecasting is predicated on accurate, reliable, robust, and accessible data that underpins the decision-making process. Developing, processing, and maintaining vast quantities of often unstructured data (such as text or time-series data) is extremely difficult.

The work to be undertaken for this doctoral study focuses on the application of novel and explainable artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to enhance the current provision of LMI, with a particular reference to skills planning, forecasting and investment in training provision.

In the initial stages of the research, identification of existing and potential applications of machine learning and Natural Language Processing to enhance LMI will be explored. Thereafter, identification of suitable data sources for predictive purposes will be investigated, drawing upon existing Skills Development Scotland (SDS) data and previous research. The PhD candidate, with guidance from the supervision team, will explore these opportunities to develop novel machine learning models that represent a move towards dynamic forecasting capabilities that can be evaluated through ethical and explainable machine learning approaches.

Completion of the project will contribute new knowledge through the provision of state-of-the-art models for LMI forecasting, natural language processing and information representation. This proposal is highly innovative: It extends and enhances the scope of current LMI forecasting; It supports improvements to the My World of Work portal and the accuracy and relevance of data to users; whilst strengthening the SDS Strategic Frameworks beyond 2022 by ensuring that the latest evidence underpins future frameworks.

Supervision team

Four staff from Napier’s School of Computing and Business School will supervise the student. They are: Director of Studies Dr David Brazier (Computing), Dr Dimitra Gkatzia (Computing), Dr Matthew Dutton (Business School), and Alistair Lawson (Computing).


The funding includes fees, a stipend, and training budget for either three or four years. Home students (only) are eligible apply. (See the ESRC eligibility information.)

  • The +3 programme is for those who already have a Masters degree with a strong focus on research methods, and are qualified to start their doctoral studies in October 2021
  • The 1+3 programme includes a first year on a Masters degree in research methods in 2021/22, followed by three years of doctoral studies from October 2022.

This studentship is an ESCR/Skills Development Scotland (SDS) collaborative award. It is offered through the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies and Information and Communication Studies pathway of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).

Our track record of ESRC/SDS collaborative awards

The Centre for Social Informatics has a strong track record of supporting ESRC/SDS-funded PhD students. We have four students currently on the programme, and two graduates: Dr John Mowbray 2018 – now a Research Officer at the Scottish Government; Dr Lyndsey Middleton 2020 – now an Assistant Statistician, also at the Scottish Government.

We have recently recruited another student to the programme, who will also start in October 2021 alongside the successful candidate for this advertised studentship.

(We currently have a total of nine research students in the Centre for Social Informatics.)

Recruitment timetable

The recruitment timetable for the studentship is as follows:

  • Applications are due by 4pm Monday 21st June 2021
  • Notifications of interview will be issued on or before Wednesday 23rd June 2021
  • Interviews are scheduled for Monday 28th June 2021 (online)
  • The studentship will start in October 2021
    • As a three year programme, if the appointed student already holds a Masters degree with at least 60 credits of research methods training
    • As a 1+3 four year programme, if the appointed student do(s not already hold a Masters degree with at least 60 credits of research methods training, with an MSc(R) undertaken as the first year, followed by three years of doctoral study

Application process

The studentships can be taken full-time or part-time. Only home students are eligible to apply. For full details including the application process, please see the full advertisement on the SGSSS web site.

Prospective applicants are also welcome to contact Dr David Brazier as the Director of Studies of the studentship with any enquiries about this opportunity d.brazier@napier.ac.uk

Introducing the Edinburgh Napier University Social Informatics blog

Over the past couple of months, my colleague Peter Cruickshank has been leading work on the development a new collaborative blog to showcase the work of our research group at Edinburgh Napier University. Continue reading

Opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers to contribute to research on UK public library services

Do you know or work with adult refugees and/or asylum seekers who have lived in the UK for 5 years or fewer? If so, please could you let them know about this opportunity to contribute to an on-going research project within the Centre for Social Informatics by completing a short online questionnaire at tinyurl.com/culturepubliclibraries. Continue reading

Spreading the news of RIVAL at the SCURL and CILIPS 2021 conferences, and in Information Professional

This year’s annual conference of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL) takes place online on Wednesday 9th June 2021. Registration are free of charge on EventBrite.

The conference will bring together SCURL members to share ideas and experiences to shape library services in the future. There will be a particular focus on adaptations and innovations across SCURL libraries during the past year, taking into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on library service delivery. Continue reading

Two contributions from the Centre for Social Informatics accepted at European Conference on Information Literacy #ECIL2021

The European Conference on Information Literacy 2021 (ECIL2021) will be hosted by University of Bamberg as an online event between 20th and 23rd September 2021. Six members of the Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) have contributed to two outputs accepted for the conference. Continue reading

Peter Cruickshank appointed to the programme committee of 10th International Conference on Electronic Government and the Information Systems Perspective (EGOVIS2021)

Peter Cruickshank of the Centre for Social Informatics has been appointed to the programme committee of the 10th International Conference on Electronic Government and the Information Systems Perspective (EGOVIS2021). This appointment recognises Peter’s established track record of research in e-government, particularly on e-participation at hyperlocal levels. See, for example, Cruickshank, Hall & Ryan (2020). Continue reading

Navigating the hidden curriculum: workshops for early career researchers

My Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Dr David Brazier and Marina Milosheva are taking bookings for a series of participative design workshops for early career researchers. These take place on three consecutive Thursday mornings: 22nd and 29th April, and May 6th. The aim of the workshops is for participants to develop the skills required to benefit from informal learning in academia. The programme is described in greater detail in a recent post on Marina’s web site. Continue reading

Culture and public library use amongst newcomer populations: two contributions from Rachel Salzano at #iconf21

Rachel Salzano

Rachel Salzano

In Week 2 of the 2021 iConference, Rachel Salzano will be the second of our Centre for Social Informatics PhD students to make contributions to the event. Like first year Marina Milosheva, second year Rachel is delivering two formal presentations, as well as participating as a delegate in a range of conference sessions.

Rachel will take the stage (or rather the screen) for the first time at the iConference today in Doctoral Colloquium Session 2. Here Rachel will discuss the progress of her doctoral study on the effect of culture on public library use in newcomer populations. Her focus will be the pilot study completed in preparation for the main empirical component of her doctorate. Continue reading

Knowledge co-creation, and career information literacy: two contributions from Marina Milosheva at #iconf21

iConference 2021 launched yesterday, and the first of the two Centre for Social Informatics PhD students who will be making contributions to the event is about to take the (online) stage.

PhD student Marina Milosheva will be available to answer questions about her poster The socio-material nature of careers work: an exploration of knowledge co-creation amongst career practitioners in the conference chatroom at the first of three poster sessions today (with the others taking place next week on 24th and 26th March). Continue reading

Dr Bruce Ryan to speak at CILIPS Annual Conference 2021 #CILIPS21

CILIPS Scotland logoMy Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Bruce Ryan has recently been confirmed as a speaker at this year’s annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland. The 2021 conference is a two-day online event on June 7th and 8th. It will bring together library and information professionals from across Scotland and beyond to share knowledge and engage in professional development. Continue reading