Funded studentships

Six fully-funded studentships are available for high-calibre PhD applicants looking for genuinely exciting, cutting-edge topics including gamification, inclusive digital design and climate apptivism.

Successful candidates will explore a range of contemporary issues including gamification, inclusive digital design and climate apptivism.

Their projects will draw on multi-disciplinary perspectives, advance debates and generate new knowledge and understanding of digital communities and inclusion.

Studentship topics

Political Communities and Gamification: Playing politics and in/exclusion
Supervisory team: Professor Sarah Mills (Geography and Environment) and Professor David Deacon (Communication and Media)

Explore the relationship between gamification, politics and inclusion.

Gamification, the application of game design elements in non-gaming contexts, is a growing feature of initiatives to engage young people in politics - raising questions about in / exclusion within (digital) political communities - and worthy of scholarly attention.


Project details

Sustainable Communities, Inclusive Community Science and Climate Apptivism
Supervisory team: Dr Brendan Lawson (Communication and Media) and Dr Tom Stanton (Geography and Environment)

Explore the requirements, limitations and potential of existing and future environmental smartphone applications.

These apps have great potential to facilitate communities’ engagement with the environment, and can be used to understand and assist behaviour change for more sustainable communities. However, they can run the risk of overlooking inclusion and accessibility. Equity, diversity and inclusion must be front-and-centre of all environmental apps - currently, they are not. 

Project details

Migrant and Refugee Communities: Digital Resilience and Skills for Citizenship
Supervisory team: Dr Sophie Cranston (Geography and Environment) and Dr Michelle Richey (Loughborough Business School)

Examine how migrants and refugees utilise the digital as a tool within their migration trajectories.

How the digital mediates the actual mobility of migrants is relatively well documented. Less attention has been paid to "arrival infrastructures". This project will plug this gap by examining how digital spaces are produced and utilised by and for migrant communities to shape their experiences and outcomes.

Project details

Creative Communities, Streaming Platforms and Inclusion: Music, News and Gaming
Supervisory team: Dr Allan Watson (Geography and Environment) and Dr Jilly Kay (Communication and Media)

The creative industries have been at the forefront of processes of platformisation for two decades. While fair remuneration has been a prominent issue, platformisation has occasioned a whole host of issues for creative communities more widely.

This project will examine the complex issues around creative communities and inclusion in the digital platform era - for example in music, news or gaming.

Project details

Inclusive Digital Design in Health: Interfaces and Intersectionality
Supervisory team: Dr Emilene Zitkus-De-Andrade, Design and Creative Arts and Dr David Maidment, Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

You will explore the intersectionality of health inequalities and identify how to address them in the design development of healthcare interventions for people with disabilities.

By focusing on people with disability - or loss of capability - this project seeks to shed light on the specific challenges and opportunities for inclusive digital design. This approach aligns with the overarching goal of fostering equity in healthcare technology, acknowledging the importance of diverse perspectives in shaping inclusive digital solutions.

Project details

Communities at Risk: Digital Poverty and Deprivation
Supervisory team: Dr Adrian Leguina (Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy) and Professor Abigail Davis (Centre for Research in Social Policy)

The social sciences and humanities have a crucial role to play in understanding contemporary life in the digital era. Digital inequalities are complex, relative to time and social context and deeply linked to other aspects of social inequality.

This project explores digital exclusion, focusing on lived experience and seeks to understand these at an individual, household and community level.

Project details