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Social Innovation of Public Services through Living Labs (Advert Reference: RDF19/BL/EIS/WILSON)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof R Wilson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Newcastle Living Lab, part of the Digital Living research strand at Northumbria, provides organisations with the ability to put their relationships with employees, partners and customers first. By analysing fundamental interactions it can help innovative relationships. Part of a wider European network, and represents a creative and innovative approach to complex problems. Many of the challenges facing our businesses and communities can seem difficult and intractable. Taking a Living Lab approach supports thinking and adaptation in response to new pressures and expectations to deliver workable solutions for complex, multi-faceted – or ‘wicked’ – problems synthesising approaches from co-production, social learning and management sense-making theories. The lab adopts a participatory oriented approach in which complex socio-technical systems can be envisaged, modelled and specified drawing practices from information system development approaches such as soft systems (Checkland, 1988) ‘bricolage’ (Badham and Ehn 2000), ‘co-creation’ (Hartswood et al. 2002) and ‘co-production’ (Wilson et al. 2012; McLoughlin et al. 2012; McLoughlin and Wilson 2013) that emphasise the emergent reality of systems and their lack of determinacy as a social practice (Garudet al. 2008). The challenges facing society require the innovation of inter-organisational relationships as an essential part of the shaping of complex services. The Newcastle Living Lab has developed a set of tools and methods with body of theory and applied experience in areas as diverse as planning for climate change to the deployment of smartcards to designing marketplaces for adult social care. As well as applicants proposing their own research areas the studentship could be potentially linked to the EU funded Co-Creation of Social Innovation (CoSIE) project which would provide potential research sites for data collection including contexts as diverse as information sharing in health, probation, social care, employability and agricultural reform.

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. RDF19/BL/EIS/WILSON) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide, and covers full fees and a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa).


• McLoughlin IP, Garrety K, Wilson R. The Digitalization of Health Care: Electronic Records and the Disruption of Moral Orders.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
• Wilson R, Baines S, Martin M, Richter P, McLoughlin I, Maniatopoulos G. Who is telecaring whom? Exploring the total social organisation of care work in an Italian municipality. New Technology Work and Employment 2017, 32(3), 268-282.
• McLoughlin I, Wilson R, Martin M. Digital Government at Work: A Social Informatics Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
• Wilson R, Baines S, Hardill I, Ferguson M. Information for Local Governance. Data is the solution...What was the question again?. Public Money and Management 2013, 33(3), 163-166.
• 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 2013, 33(3), 201-208.
• Cornford J, Baines S, Wilson R. Representing the Family: how does the State "Think Family"?. Policy and Politics 2013, 41(1), 1-18.
• Wilson R, Maniatopoulos G, Martin M, McLoughlin I. Innovating Relationships: Taking a co-productive approach to the shaping of Telecare services for Older People. Information, Communication and Society 2012, 15(7), 1136-1163.

Related Subjects

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