Inclusion through the Digital Economy

  • Watson, Paul (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Papagiannidis, Savvas (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Li, Feng (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Arnott, John (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Blythe, Phil (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Van Moorsel, Aad (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Tanaka, Atau (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Richardson, Ranald (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Reed, Chris (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Hanson, Vicki (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Norman, Sally Jane (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Gregor, Peter (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Bowers, John M. (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Olivier, Patrick (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Wright, Peter (Chief Investigator (CI))

    Project: Research

    Project Details

    Project Description

    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - Award value: £12,125,004 (UK pounds)
    Our aim is to transform lives by creating a centre of excellence in Inclusion through the Digital Economy. We will do this by building a world-leading multi-disciplinary research team with expertise ranging across technology, business, society, homecare, transport and the creative arts. To date the main thrust of UK and European policy regarding an inclusive information society has focused on increasing uptake of ICT (the internet, broadband, etc.) and significant progress in this respect has been made in the UK. However, less emphasis has been placed on how technology is used and in particular how technology can be used in to transform lives. This is the role of the proposed Digital Economy Hub.

    Currently, the potential benefits of the Digital Economy are not being realised by all members of society; it is recognised that digital exclusion mirrors many aspects of more general social exclusion. That is, not just poverty, but the mutually reinforcing consequences of citizens enduring unemployment, discrimination, poor housing, crime, bad heath and family breakdown. In order to develop transformative applications, it is necessary to understand the problems of, and opportunities for, inclusion through the digital economy from technological, social and economic (business) perspectives. We will therefore assemble a multi-disciplinary team who will work together to address these challenges. The research programme focuses on three key sectors for the excluded: Homecare, Creative Industries and Transport. It will engage with, and be driven by, end users of these services, as well as those traditionally involved in delivering technologies and services in these sectors (in both the public and private sectors).

    Users will be at the centre of our investigations. While recognising the different needs and concerns of these users, our methodologies will seek to bring out commonalities through genuinely interactive and iterative approaches that engage all users from the very start. This means involving users in both the formulation of the research strategy and the research itself. Our user-centred and user-driven programme of research will address key research questions, yielding innovations, across technology, social science and business. An important feature of this proposal is that the Hub will develop an internationally unique and carefully profiled panel of 3,000 people that will represent technology end-users. Drawn from the greater Newcastle and Dundee areas, the panel will contribute to the formulation of the research strategy and evaluate the research outputs, as well as being engaged in participatory design, co-design and evaluation activities to ensure that tangible outputs of our research programme are both meaningful and usable. Some panel members will represent disabled users, having vision, hearing, mobility, cognitive processing, or literacy issues that serve to limit their access to much of today's digital economy. In addition, the panel will have a large number of older adults who have needs as technology novices (some of whom are terrified of the new technologies) as well as issues of acquired disability associated with ageing. As well as evaluating and steering work within the Hub, this panel will also provide a unique resource to other research projects and companies working in the digital economy, providing them with information that will help them meet the needs of those who might otherwise be excluded.
    Short titleSIDE
    Effective start/end date1/10/0930/09/15