I’m very much looking forward to travelling down to London next Tuesday 8th December to attend a one day conference entitled Connected nation: thriving in a digital world.
I have recently been appointed Chair of the Research Councils UK Digital Economy (DE) Theme Programme Advisory Board (PAB). I take over the role from Brian Collins, Professor of Engineering Policy and Director of the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures at University College London.
My appointment builds on previous work that I have conducted for the DE Theme. This includes: serving on the 12-person panel that conducted the 2012 impact review of the DE Theme investment; involvement in an additional stream of DE research undertaken under the banner of “digital personhood” (I helped identify the scope of the investment and served as a mentor at the sandpit meeting where project ideas were germinated); and reviewing grant proposals and other panel work. I was first appointed a member of the PAB in 2014.
My colleagues Peter Cruickshank and Dr Bruce Ryan have won funding for a study into hyperlocal government-citizen engagement. They will investigate the efforts of three neighbouring Scottish community councils in improving engagement with their citizens in both online and offline conversations. This work follows on from recent and ongoing investigations into the use of online communication by community councils: (1) a project to visualise community council locations; (2) a study of public online presences of community councils.
The Research Councils UK Digital Economy (DE) theme supports research to realise the transformational impact of digital technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy.
Over the past couple of years I have enjoyed spending time with staff from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on work associated with the DE theme. This all started two years ago when I was invited to join the 12-person panel that conducted the 2012 impact review of the DE Theme investment. Soon afterwards I became involved in an additional stream of DE research undertaken under the banner of “digital personhood”: I helped identify the scope of the investment; served as a mentor at the sandpit meeting where project ideas were germinated; and recently participated at the first digital personhood network meeting. I have also been involved in reviewing grant proposals and panel work for the DE theme.
In 2012 I was a member of the 12-person panel that reviewed the £130 million investment in Research Councils UK’s Digital Economy (DE) programme. The main remit of the panel was to consider the full range of DE projects funded to date. These ranged from doctoral studies based across UK universities, to the large collections of projects hosted at the three DE hubs: (1) Horizon at the University of Nottingham; (2) dot.rural at the University of Aberdeen; and (3) the social inclusion through the digital economy (SiDE) projects at the Universities of Newcastle and Dundee. The review panel’s findings are available in its report hosted on the EPSRC web site.