ESRC Digital Good Network

Digital Good Network summer school

22 & 23 June 2023
The University of Sheffield, UK

The ESRC Digital Good Network is building a research community focused on what a good digital society should look like and how we get there.

Sheffield University

The network will:

  • bring disciplines and sectors together
  • support and fund interdisciplinary research, internships, fellowships
  • provide training, including a summer school
  • host events (eg talks, exhibitions, workshops, sprints)
  • engage policy, industry, practitioners, communities and civil society

What is the Digital Good Network Summer School?

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.

The summer school 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.

Attendees will learn about early career grant-writing, and how and why to engage with stakeholders from different sectors in research-transforming ways. There will be opportunities to explore cutting-edge computational methods in addition to hearing from leading digital society journal editors about how to write excellent peer-reviewed articles.

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.

Where we have permission to do so, we will also include summer school training materials on our website for those who are not able to attend.

Who can apply for the 2023 Digital Good Network Summer School?

The 2023 Summer School will be a slimmed-down version of the usual programme, with a focus on networking, training on building public engagement with your research, and providing feedback on your ongoing research projects.

PGRs who are researching digital society and interested in the digital good can apply, regardless of their discipline. You do not need to be UKRI funded to apply.

Unlike many other PGR summer schools, the Digital Good Network Summer School is free to attend. We will award funded places to up to 20 participants based on our assessment of the applications we receive. Funding covers travel, meals and accommodation.

This year, we can only support attendees based in the UK. In future years, we will offer some competitive bursaries for attendees from outside the UK.

We require applicants to have completed their confirmation review/upgrade (which typically takes place at the end of the first year of full time study). 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.

A full programme will be provided to attendees upon securing their place.

How to apply for the Digital Good Network Summer School

Download the application form and send it via email to applications[at] by 23:00 on 24 March.

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.

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.

We also ask for details about travel costs. If you have support from your funder or institution to travel to the Summer School, please let us know. This will not have any bearing on our decision to award a place, it just helps us plan our budget.

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 clearly stated which aspects of the digital good (include DGN societal challenge) their research addresses?
  • 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 be made using the 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?

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

We will follow principles of peer review, including on conflicts of interest. The most highly ranked applications will be awarded a place, up to the total number of spaces available at this year's Summer School.

Assessment processes will be overseen by our Network Manager.