Fully Funded PhD in Data Prototyping and Urban Futures

This important post seeks to use a design-informed interdisciplinary perspective to address urban challenges and enhance the potential for impact activities with urban decision makers and communities.

The successful PhD researcher will be based here in ImaginationLancaster, an internationally recognised, open and exploratory design-led research centre at Lancaster University.  

ImaginationLancaster has an extensive portfolio and strong track record of major research into cities, working directly with policy makers and city stakeholders via UK Government Office for Science and the Future Cities Catapult.  

The Project 

The PhD project will explore experimental methods for using data (urban, social, environmental…etc.) to better understand the complex behaviour of cities and the intertwined lives of its inhabitants. To do this, the project will explore interactive and tangible means of working with data, in two, three and possibly four dimensions, in both digital and physical forms, to enable new ways of looking at the contemporary city. Critically, the project aims to combine both theoretical and technical approaches in order to imagine possible urban futures and contribute towards our understanding of the new science of cities. 

Traditionally, data visualisation approaches to examining cities have been preoccupied with displaying information derived from empirical data. This project places emphasis on “Data Prototyping” as a means of extending traditional data visualisation methods, and focusing on new ways of interacting with data to better communicate, understand and explore citizen-centric urban futures.  

The project aims to help people understand the vast potential of data in cities and enable citizens, policymakers, and other stakeholders make informed decisions about our built environment. The project aims to create a bridge between existing areas of expertise within imagination, and in doing so, form an effective platform for sharing data between various research themes and on-going projects. 

The successful applicant will have a good first degree, a postgraduate degree and/or equivalent research experience in a field relevant to creative design, visualization and/or the built environment. They will be enthusiastic about interdisciplinary research, and excited to develop, test and evaluate new ways of using data to understand and influence urban environments. Ideally the applicant will have excellent communication and visualisation skills, and be familiar data analysis and synthesis. Strong applicants will have additional expertise in at least one of three key areas, and/or be eager to develop skills in these areas. Firstly, the use of various open-source programming languages (such as Processing) to work with data and create interactive visualisations. Secondly, the ability to build physical prototypes using platforms such as Arduino. Finally, experience working with digital fabrication tools is desirable. 

Further information 

Generally applicants must be UK or EU citizens and be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

Studentship value (as of October 2015): 

  • Tuition Fees (UK/EU)
  • Maintenance Award of £14,057 (UK only)

Deadline: Friday 18th December 2015

To discuss this opportunity further please contact nick [dot] dunn [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk (Professor Nick Dunn.)

How to apply

In order to be considered for this studentship, please apply online via the University website.

You will need to submit an application for a Design PhD, making clear in your personal statement that you wish to be considered for the EPSRC studentship in Data Prototyping & Urban Futures.

You will need to upload the following to your application:

  • a research proposal in the area of Data Prototyping & Urban Futures
  • a personal statement
  • your undergraduate and masters transcripts and degree certificates
  • names and email addresses of two academic referees

You should also send a covering letter, explaining why you are applying to this studentship to lica [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact lica [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk or 01524 510899. Further details on the application process can be found on the LICA website.