PhD funding to research the challenge of delivering equitable provision of future media in the context of growing digital inequalities.


Written by Professor Simeon Yates, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research Environment and Postgraduate Research, University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool and BBC R&D are offering a 4-year full-time EPSRC/BBC funded PhD studentship, to start in October 2022. Funding covers fees and provides a £16,062 annual living allowance plus a £5,000 training and development support budget.

The successful applicant will research the challenge of delivering equitable provision of future media in the context of growing digital inequalities.

Data-centric technologies, including AI, are at the centre of the BBC technology and innovation plan and will transform audiences’ experiences in the future. However, not everyone has equal access nor the same capacity to engage and benefit. People who are excluded are often already experiencing social, cultural, and economic marginalisation. As part of the BBC’s commitment to universality, this PhD will contribute to understanding digital inclusion in a data-driven society.  The PhD will undertake research to that can support technology policies and strategies that will address individual’s and household’s ‘digital living standards’.

It will sit alongside UK studies led by the University of Liverpool exploring digital inclusion and digital lived experience.  We are looking for candidates with a good methodological background – preferably mixing both quantitative and qualitative methods.  Disciplinary backgrounds may vary across social sciences – Media & Communications, Sociology, HCI, Information Studies, Politics or related disciplines.

The student will be supervised by Professor Simeon Yates at the University of Liverpool and Dr Rhianne Jones from BBC R&D (based in Salford’s Media City and Central London).

The studentship is part of a wider multidisciplinary cohort of four industrial PhD projects: Designing for All (BBC R&D blogpost) There will be opportunity to conduct research at the BBC, and to collaborate with the other students in the cohort. In addition to PhD fees and a generous enhanced stipend, the studentship also covers travel, research costs and equipment.


The person

This is a multidisciplinary research challenge. We are keen to receive applications from people from Sociology, Media & Communications, HCI, Information Studies, Politics or related disciplines or with relevant professional experience. Key areas of interest are:

  • digital media; social and digital inequalities; digital inclusion; data-driven technologies; value-sensitive design; responsive innovation; public service media
  • quantitative and qualitative methods; co-production; participatory design; deliberative inquiry; speculative design; prototyping.

The successful applicant should have the equivalent of a UK a first class or high upper second class honours degree and preferably a Masters or comparable professional experience.

A key aim of this cohort-based studentship is to develop future research leaders with experience of working in multidisciplinary teams and across academic and industry contexts. Candidates should expect to learn new, cross-disciplinary skills, including those related to empirical research design, data science/analysis and cutting-edge technology.


How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Postgraduate Online Application system

Important: When completing the form please ensure the following:

Under Programme Applied For select: Communications and Media – Doctor in Philosophy (PhD)

Under Finance select: Studentship and put “Reference BBC iCase award” as the type of studentship.

Applications should be accompanied by a personal statement of no more than two pages describing:

  • Your research interests, a central question for this project and an indicative methodology
  • Your experience to date that makes you suitable for this studentship, and what you would learn through this opportunity
  • the impact you hope to make through working with us on this project.


Applicants applying for more than one of the ‘Designing for All’ studentships should indicate this in their personal statement.

For queries about the application process: [email protected]

For further Information about the PhD: Prof. Simeon Yates ([email protected]) or Dr Rhianne Jones ([email protected]).


Interviews will take place in late July 2022

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