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Role of Data in the Innovation of Public Services (RDF20/BL/EIS/WILSON)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Data and Information have been lauded as the solution to the problem of the reform of public services in the UK, across Europe and beyond. However, ‘Information sharing’ and ‘data sharing’ are used in different ways by Government, and are taken to mean both the same and different things. This causes problems when the pressure to use the same language leads to reduction in meaning. Understanding that Citizens are entangled in messy relationships (e.g. families, communities of identity and place) is crucial for the sorts of horizontal co-ordination required to meet the complexity of the real (rather than imagined) needs of individuals, communities, businesses.

This doctorate will take a critical approach to exploring the current model, based on the unit of an individual citizen or business interacting with single organizations in specific transactions with a monolithic state its agents. With the aim of establishing the reality of the information brokerage required for the multi-agency collaboration of networked society. For instance does treating 'data' and 'information' differently and recognising the relationship between them as help us understand better the debates in this area in terms of the needs of different stakeholders in the digital economy?

The Studentship will be based at Northumbria University in a research group with interests in the Digital Economy, Complexity and Public Service reform. Our work is based in three overlapping contexts - the integration and information aspects of public services (in particular contexts of health and social care - including children, older people and families); the challenges of data, information and measurement in local governance (the NHS, VCS/Third sector and local government) and relationship of information and information systems to organisational change in government.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Jamieson, D., Wilson, R. & Martin, M. The (Im)possibilities of Open Data? Public Money and Management. 39, 5, 364-368.

Wilson, R., Cornford, J., Richardson, S., Baines, S., Gil-Garcia, J. R., Curtis, S. & Underdown, N., Information sharing—Easy to say … much harder to do than we want to believe! Public Money & Management. 39, 5, 317-319.

Lowe, T. Wilson, R., Playing the Game of Outcomes-based Performance Management. Is Gamesmanship Inevitable? Evidence from Theory and Practice Social Policy and Administration. 51, 7, 981-1001.

Cornford, J., Wilson, R., Baines, S. & Richardson, R. Local governance in the new information ecology: The challenge of building interpretative communities Public Money and Management. 33, 3, 201-208.

McLoughlin, I., Wilson, R. & Martin, M., (2013) Digital Government @ Work: A Social Informatics Perspective Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK.

Wilson, R., Baines, S., Hardill, I. & Ferguson, M (2013). Information for local governance. Data is the solution…what was the question again? Public Money & Management. 33, 3, 163-166.

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