ESRC Digital Good Network

Digital Good Network Summer School 2024: call for applications

24 – 26 June 2024, at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Copy Of Summer School 2024

The Digital Good Network Summer School provides a fully funded opportunity for PhD researchers to engage with a range of theoretical, methodological and professional development topics relating to the digital good.

It is an annual face-to-face, residential program hosted at the University of Sheffield in late June. It includes lectures, workshops, sprints and other activities delivered by leading digital society researchers and practitioners from a range of industries and sectors.

Applications for the 2024 Summer School have now closed.

The summer school includes opportunities to engage with interdisciplinary scholarship, network with other doctoral students, and attend the Summer School’s opening keynote speech. In addition, this year will include a ‘provotyping for design’ workshop.

As well as developing participants’ skills and capacity, the Digital Good Network Summer School aims to build our wider Digital Good Network. Attendees will have opportunities to network with leading researchers and practitioners, building potential future research collaborations.

You can read a blog from a 2023 Summer School attendee here.

Funding

Unlike many other PGR summer schools, the Digital Good Network Summer School is free to attend. We will award at least 20 funded places to participants based on our assessment of the applications we receive.  Within this total we will fund a minimum of 18 places for UK based PhD students and a minimum of 2 places for PhD students studying at a University based in the Global South (subject to receiving sufficient applications of a fundable calibre).  We have identified the Summer School as a key vehicle enabling us to internationalise what we do.  We have decided to focus on the Global South specifically as we are committed to spreading the network’s investments in a way that opens us more channels of knowledge production and exchange.  We aim to amplify less heard voices and perspectives from the Global South and low and middle income countries.

Funding covers return travel to Sheffield, meals and accommodation.  For overseas attendees funding also covers any other costs associated with travel ie. visas.  But please note it is the applicant’s responsibility to check, and make, any arrangements relating to relevant visas.

Who can apply for the 2024 Digital Good Network Summer School?

Eligibility:

  • You must be a current PhD student, must be researching digital society and must have a demonstrable interest in the digital good.
  • We welcome applications from any discipline but your research should align with the Digital Good Network objectives.
  • You must have completed your confirmation review/upgrade (which typically takes place at the end of the first year of full time study) by the application deadline of Thursday 15 February 2024. This is so that attendees have a relatively advanced understanding of their research project, theoretical framework(s) and method(s). This is necessary because much of the Summer School is highly interactive and will require attendees to reflect back on their own research projects.
  • If you’re applying from a country which does not have confirmation reviews you must have successfully completed your first year of study
  • If in your final year, your anticipated viva date should not be before the Summer School takes place.
  • You do not need to be UKRI funded to apply.
  • You must not have attended a previous Digital Good Network Summer School.
  • We welcome applications from PhD students studying in the UK and also from PhD students studying in the Global South.  

NB: We are cognisant that the term ‘Global South’ is itself a contested term when referring to global divides and inequalities. The Digital Good Network is committed to spreading the network’s investments in a way that opens diverse channels of knowledge production and exchange. We use ‘Global South’ to refer to countries listed on the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance country recipients for 2024-2025′, listed here. Applicants who are studying their PhD in any one of these countries, would be considered for the ring fenced awards.

How to apply

Please download the Summer School 2024 Application Form to apply by 16:00 (UK time) on Thursday 15 February 2024.

  • If you need an alternative format please email info@digitalgood.net to discuss your requirements.
  • The application window for this scheme is from 1-15 February 2024.  Applications will open at 09.30am on Thursday 1 February 2024 and will close at 4pm on Thursday 15 February.
  • We encourage early application because, if we reach capacity, we may close applications before the 15 February.  If you have any concerns about applying early, due to accessibility related reasons, please contact info@digitalgood.net to discuss your situation.
  • Applications should be submitted by email to applications@digitalgood.net.
  • Applications received before the opening date and time or after the closing date and time will not be considered. 

Guidance for completing the application form

To apply, we require a supporting statement from an academic supporter. Your academic supporter can be your PhD supervisor, Director of Postgraduate Studies or Head of Department. In the statement, they must confirm that they support your application and attendance at the Summer School. They should explain why the Summer School would be valuable for you (eg, why it might benefit your project, or your personal and career development).

Please copy your academic supporter into the email when you send your application. If your PhD supervisor is not your academic supporter, please copy your PhD supervisor into the email too. We will send our confirmation of receipt of your application and our decision to them too.

You should also provide a summary of your PhD research. This should clarify what theories and methods you engage with (or plan to engage with) in your work. This will help us to ensure we have a diverse range of disciplinary perspectives and areas of research represented at the school.

We also ask for information about how your research relates to the Digital Good Network, and how attending the Summer School would benefit you and your research.

We’re also interested to hear how your work might support our goals to build a more representative community of researchers (both in terms of EDI and interdisciplinarity). Feel free to share anything you feel might help to explain how your participation would help us to achieve this.

As part of your application, we will ask you and your team to fill out an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Monitoring form. The information collected in this form will help us work towards our goal of building an inclusive and broad network.

Assessment process

There are various stages to the assessment process.  

Stage 1: 

Applications will be checked for eligibility.  Those deemed ineligible will not proceed past stage 1.

Stage 2: 

Applications will be reviewed by a panel composed of members of the Digital Good Network Core Team.

Proposals will be assessed using the standard ESRC expert reviewer scoring system against the following assessment criteria:

  • Research Excellence: is the applicant engaged in excellent research?
  • Fit: has the applicant engaged with ideas of the digital good in their application?
  • Capacity Building: has the application made it clear how attendance will develop the applicant and their research?

A final decision on the combination of successful applicants will then be made taking into account the scores and following criteria:

  • Interdisciplinarity: do we have broad coverage across disciplines amongst selected attendees?
  • EDI: do we have a diverse and inclusive cohort of attendees in our final selection?

We will follow principles of peer review, including on conflicts of interest.  Assessment processes will be overseen by our Network Manager.

Key Dates

  • Launch – video about funding opportunities available: Friday 19 January 2024. Watch here.
  • Live Q&A webinar about our 2024 funding opportunities: Tuesday 30 January 2024. Sign up here.
  • Application window: 09.30 Thursday 1 February 2024 – 16.00 Thursday 15 February 2024 (UK time).
  • Results announced: by Friday 22 March 2024.
  • Summer School: Monday 24 – Wednesday 26 June 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last updated 6 February 2024

Is it correct that applications for the Digital Good Network Summer School are accepted exclusively from the UK-based PhDs and students studying in the Global South (all countries on the PDF provided on the website)? Am I right to say that if I am based in the EU, my application will not be considered?

Yes. We welcome applications from PhD students studying in the UK and also from PhD students studying in the Global South.
Please note: we are cognisant that the term ‘Global South’ is itself a contested term when referring to global divides and inequalities. The Digital Good Network is committed to spreading the network’s investments in a way that opens diverse channels of knowledge production and exchange. We use ‘Global South’ to refer to countries listed on the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance country recipients for 2024-2025′, listed here.