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Department of Computer Science and Technology

Two researchers from this Department are part of a new national initiative exploring how digital services and infrastructures can be made to better support inclusion and equality.

Dr Jat Singh and Dr Jennifer Cobbe are co-investigators in the £3m Inclusive Digital Economy (INCLUDE+) Network Plus. 

INCLUDE+ considers how the digital transformation of society has impacted people unevenly, highlighting the extent of existing inequalities while making organisations and businesses question their previously held values.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), INCLUDE+ focuses on how social and digital environments can be built, shaped and sustained to enable all people to thrive. The cross-disciplinary team includes researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Leeds, Sheffield and Swansea and partners and collaborators from industry, academia, the public and third sectors.

As the national network for such issues, the five-year INCLUDE+ will build a community of knowledge around the equalities and inequalities in digital society in response to the UKRI Equitable Digital Society theme.

"We are working to drive work on issues of exclusion and inclusiveness, equalities and inequalities in the emerging digital society," says Jat, who leads our Compliant and Accountable Systems research group, which works at the intersection of technology and law.

INCLUDE+ will fund a series of opportunities for others to undertake work in this space, such as feasibility studies, small-scale exploratory studies, fellowships, secondments, workshops, events, and other initiatives. Projects funded by INCLUDE+ will produce real interventions into structural inequalities around digital technologies, focusing on the three key themes of wellbeing, precarity and civic culture.

A key aspect of the project will be engagement with a range of perspectives from academia, civil society, government, industry, and affected people and communities themselves.

The project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Helen Thornham, from the University of Leeds, says: "We have designed INCLUDE+ to enable a whole system approach that is genuinely exciting and innovative not just because of scalability, transference and scope, but also because of the commitment to people development, knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary practice that will shape future research."

As Jat says, "Digital technologies have profound societal implications, increasingly impacting everyday life. INCLUDE+ will foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research for ensuring that technology works for us all."

The project is supported by partner organisations including the International Labour Organisation, the Law Commission, the Cabinet Office, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, among others.

For more information, see the INCLUDE+ website or follow on Twitter.

Published by auto on Wednesday 17th May 2023