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Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Programme- TRANSFORM. 2022 Highlighted Thematic Project -Digital IDs and the promise of inclusion in cities: Examining the human rights obligations of States.

   Global Sustainable Development

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  Dr Sharifah Sekalala, Dr Nathaniel Tkacz  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A PhD studentship is available for an October 2022 start as part of the Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Programme- TRANSFORM.

This project examines the potentials and limitations of digital IDs with biometric features as a prerequisite for accessing health services for marginalised groups in cities. It will contribute to the Sustainable Urbanisation, Health and Wellbeing cluster through a critical study of health provision facilitated by digital technology (IDs) as a means for improving the wellbeing of populations living in urban areas.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital IDs through COVID passport schemes have been embraced as a mechanism through which States across the world can get back to normal life and get economies up and running again. In this way COVID-19 projects leverage individual’s digital health data for the health and wellbeing of the entire population. In other low- and middle-income contexts, Digital IDs have been hailed as ‘equalisers of societal disparity’ and a transformative solution to the problem of health service delivery and exclusion in urban areas. All digital ID projects face a number of well-known challenges, including the existence of ‘invisible subpopulations’, who are systematically excluded from mainstream urban society, missing from population surveys, official statistics and city planning. Additionally, we need to think critically about the multiple forms of inequality that may shape access to digital ID programs and how they operate and impact on privacy, autonomy and accountability especially for already marginalised / vulnerable populations. 

Projects may explore questions of efficacy of ID projects within a rights-based paradigm or they may explore how new digital identification technologies (IDs) transform health service delivery for ‘invisible’ and previously marginalised/ vulnerable populations in urban areas?

Projects may focus on a specific case studies, focus on vulnerable groups such as those who are traditionally discriminated on the grounds of age, gender, sexuality, or religious orientation, or focus on specific geographical areas in which the consequences of digital ID projects may be felt more acutely.

Funding Notes

100% tuition fee, Stipend UKRI level stipend, additional funding available for research and training.
In exceptional circumstances, for an outstanding student, tuition fees at the overseas rate may be available.
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