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Funded PhD Opportunity

Linking big data citizen insight with social marketing in smart cities: transitioning to inclusive urban societies

Subject: Business and Management Studies


Summary

There are 1.3 million people moving into cities each week, and by 2040, 65% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Choices leaders make today and in the coming years will depend on technology to improve citizens’ lives. Smart cities make use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to source data and efficiently process it to create more liveable cities. In particular, by inserting sensors across city infrastructures and creating big data sources — including citizens via their mobile devices — city policy makers are using big data analysis to monitor and anticipate urban phenomena in new ways.

While smart cities instrumented with digital devices to produce big data citizen insights and real-time analysis offers considerable potential, this technology in and of itself embedded in urban infrastructure does not make a city smart. It is rather how big data insights, in conjunction with human and social capital and wider socio-economic policy, can manage urban development that makes a city smart. Smart city projects are big investments that are supposed to drive socio-economic transformation in areas such as transport infrastructure, education and employment. However, little attention is given to the social, economic, policy and governance changes that will be required to ensure smart cities are not just technologically well informed but intelligently adaptive to citizens’ needs. New forms of urban governance require integration of diverse stakeholders to transition socio-economic regimes in smart cities towards equitable and prosperous place to live, work and play for all citizens. Inevitably, this creates tensions as stakeholders such as corporate tech firms attempt to keep the status quo and resist socio-economic transition.

Big data in smart cities has the potential to empower citizens through open transparent information underpinning participatory governance, stimulating new thinking and alignment of ideas with policy makers, private and third sector stakeholders. Despite this, there has been little focus to date in the academic literature on how big data citizen insight produced in smart cities can be mobilised from an urban governance perspective. This Doctoral research draws on the multi-level perspective (MLP) to understand how big data citizen insight provides a means to understand citizens’ behaviour informing new governance mechanisms at the local level that facilitate socio-economic transition to more inclusive cities.

Specifically, the focus is on how big data citizen can be mobilised by the concept of social marketing. Commercial marketing seeks to create value by understanding the various needs of diverse groups of customers, selecting relevant segments of customers with similar needs and targeting them with value propositions. Social marketing is the application of marketing principles to transform peoples’ well-being and social welfare. This research will use a qualitative case study of specific smart cities to uncover how big data insight with social marketing facilitates ‘smart governance’ as a key characteristic, driving citizens’ participation and involvement with other stakeholders to transition them to equitable and prosperous places to live, work and play for all citizens.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Research proposal of 2000 words detailing aims, objectives, milestones and methodology of the project
  • A demonstrable interest in the research area associated with the studentship

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Masters at 65%
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
9, 10, 19 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Contact supervisor

Professor Mark Durkin


Other supervisors

  • Brendan Galbraith (UU), Supervisor

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