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Three-year full time funded PhD Studentship
Digital Neighbourhoods

This project explores the links between ICT infrastructures and social communities. The project will study how such ICT infrastructures, and in particular broadband internet access, become localized within a community; and the broader impacts this may have on social networks and sense of place within a neighbourhood setting. It aims to provide insights and formulate recommendations on how online social networks can integrate with place-based communities in order to overcome digital divides at a neighbourhood level.

Applications are invited from candidates for a 3 year full time PhD studentship at Plymouth University under the supervision of Dr. Katharine Willis and Professor Alessandro Aurigi.

The studentship pays for fees (at the UK home student rate) and provides a £13726 per year stipend for the student for three years.  The project is part of a larger research project funded by the EU Marie Curie programme and the European Regional Development Fund.

Studentship Description

The student will develop a theoretical approach around the topic of the relationship between digital community and physical neighbourhood as well as undertaking research using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, but with a focus on social network analysis. The student will spend time undertaking fieldwork in four neighbourhoods in Cornwall, in order to assess the social and spatial roles and implications of internet infrastructures. The student will benefit from interactions with researchers from a range of disciplines and with project partners such as Superfast Cornwall/ERDF. BT, Citizenís Online and the local community organisations.

Person Specification

Applicants should have a Masters qualification in Architecture, Urban Studies, Urban Sociology, 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.

How to apply for this position

Formal applications should be submitted using the application form available at marking the application DIGITAL NEIGHBOURHOODS. Include a covering letter outlining motivation, interest, and suitability for this project, please e-mail to [log in to unmask] Please not this is a specified project and we do not expect a project proposal but an indication as to how you would approach the project. Do not send the form to Central Admissions, as indicated on the application form. Informal enquiries may be made before the submission date to [log in to unmask]

The student would start his/her study on 1st October 2013.

Closing date for applications 12 noon on Friday 14th June 2013. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by Friday 21st June 2013 and will be invited to attend an interview on Friday 28th June 2013 in Plymouth.

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