PhD opportunity: Eight fully-funded PhD studentships at Edinburgh Napier University

The School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University is advertising eight fully-funded PhD studentships. The school undertakes high-quality research across a broad range of areas, including but not limited to: artificial intelligence; big data, cyber-security; e-Government; e-Health; edge computing; future interactions; Internet of Things; interactive graphics and simulation; information science; information society; information visualization; networks & distributed computing; social informatics; software engineering & systems; and urban interaction design.

Application deadline: 14 January 2022

Applicants are invited to submit research proposals across this range of topics, including four proposed areas of study in my research department, the Centre for Social Informatics, as detailed below.

Human behaviours in online information sharing – Dr Frances Ryan

This research focuses on information sharing and use in online or digital environments, especially as it relates to everyday life and ‘lived’ or real-world experiences. This includes work in human information behaviour and use, social media, social and health informatics, online information sharing, online reputation and identity, and determinations of trust. Using a range of qualitative research methods, research under these themes seeks to determine what information people share (or self-censor) online and the motivations for sharing or censoring information, as well as the evaluation of information behaviours or reputations of others, based on information they share.

[Note: This is my research area. Please contact me ( if you would like more information about this topic and how your research might fit.]

Information governance and the digital environment – Dr David Haynes

The studentship will investigate extra-legal mechanisms to regulate the digital environment. The focus of the research will be: impact of the digital environment on the privacy and safety of individuals and on their online behaviour. Metadata, privacy by design, self-regulation and market regulation are all mechanisms for potential exploration. Ontologies show some promise as a way of predicting online risk. Potential research topics include (but are not limited to: Ontology of online risk; Metadata for information governance; Online safety and information governance; Digital empowerment and social media and Privacy calculus and online harms.

The impact of technology on policy issues, with a focus on gender equality and widening participation in higher education – Debbie Meharg

Education policy within Scotland seeks to widen participation and there is a plethora of interventions which aim to improve progression, retention and outcomes for students from all backgrounds.  The UN takes this further with Goal 4 aiming to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university by 2030.  This research will explore which policy interventions are the most successful in providing equal access to affordable and quality tertiary education in Computing subjects in Scotland?

User centred approaches to autonomous online system support – Dr David Brazier

In situations where users are faced with online tasks that require to follow a linear process, such as visa applications or medical health checks, current online facilities offer reasonable support. However, in cases of non-linear processes, where outcomes are more subjective and often dependent on a user’s experience and capabilities in identifying when they have enough information or a task is resolved, there remain opportunities to support users through autonomous systems and educational perspectives. A PhD candidate could explore these opportunities in a wide range of contexts, to be determined along with the supervisory team, to establish user-focused solutions.

For a full list of research topics, see the full advertisement here.

The studentships will cover tuition fees for three years (both home and international students) and includes a standard living allowance at the UKRI rate (currently £15,609 per annum). Those who join the Centre for Social Informatics will be part of a strong research group that currently includes 10 current PhD students. They will enjoy developing their research careers in a very supportive research environment, assessed as 90% 3* and 4* In the last REF. Learn more about the CSI research group here.

For more information, including candidate profiles and application processes, see the full details in the advertisement – including all the proposed topics – on

Application deadline: 14 January 2022

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