Ubiquitous Computing for a Digital Economy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Computer Science


The emergence of a global ubiquitous computing environment in which each of us routinely interacts with many thousands of interconnected computers embedded into the everyday world around us will transform the ways in which we work, travel, learn, entertain ourselves and socialise. Ubiquitous computing will be the engine that drives our future digital economy, stimulating new forms of digital business and transforming existing ones.However, ubiquitous computing also carries considerable risks in terms of societal acceptance and a lack of established models of innovation and wealth creation, so that unlocking its potential is far from straightforward. In order to ensure that the UK reaps the benefits of ubiquitous computing while avoiding its risks, we must address three fundamental challenges. First, we need to pursue a new technical research agenda for the widespread adoption of ubiquitous computing. Second, we must understand and design for an increasingly diverse population of users. Third, we need to establish new paths to innovation in digital business. Meeting these challenges requires a new generation of researchers with interdisciplinary skills in the technical and human centred aspects of ubiquitous computing and transferable skills in research, innovation and societal impact.Our doctoral training centre for Ubiquitous Computing in the Digital Economy will develop a cohort of interdisciplinary researchers who have been exposed to new research methods and paradigms within a creative and adventurous culture so as to provide the future leadership in research and knowledge transfer that is necessary to secure the transformative potential of ubiquitous computing for the UK digital economy. To achieve this we will work across traditional research boundaries; encourage students to adopt an end-to-end perspective on innovation; promote creativity and adventure in research; and place engagement with society, industry and key stakeholders at the core of our programme.Our proposal brings together a unique pool of researchers with extensive expertise in the technologies of ubiquitous and location based computing, user-centred design, societal understanding, and research and training in innovation and leadership. It also involves a wide spectrum of industry partners from across the value chain for ubiquitous computing, spanning positioning, communications, devices, middleware, databases, design, and our two driving market sectors of the creative industries and transportation.Our training programme is based on the approach of personalised pathways that develop individual students' interdisciplinary and transferable skills, and that produce a personal portfolio to showcase the skills and experience gained alongside the more traditional PhD thesis. It includes a flexible taught programme that emphasises student-led seminars, short-fat modules, training projects and e-learning as delivery mechanisms that are suited to PhD training; an industrial internship scheme under which students spend three months working at an industrial partner; and a PhD research project that builds on a proposal developed during the first year of training and that is supported by multiple supervisors from different disciplines with industry involvement. Our DTC will foster a community of researchers through a dedicated shared space, a programme of community building events, training for supervisors and well as students, funding for a student society, and an alumni programme.


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