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Policy Researcher

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ORGANIZATION: Digital Inclusion Research Hub

  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
  • 8 people are interested
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We are looking for 6-10 researchers with a passion for improving digital equality and closing the digital divide across the United Kingdom. As a researcher, you will provide a shorter research brief on one of the topics described below:

The Importance of Digital Skills for Combating Disinformation

Digital skills are increasingly important for fact-checking information, identifying credible sources, and spotting red flags that indicate potential disinformation. Hence, those who lack basic digital skills are more likely to fall prey to disinformation. This research brief explores the correlation between digital skills and the ability to spot disinformation and what interventions may mitigate this growing challenge to democracies.

Digital Inclusion and E-Participation

The notion of "e-participation" emphasises the possibility and desirability of citizen participation in the design of public services and political decision-making. It has been argued that digital tools remove the obstacles to such political participation and also make it easier for politicians to respond directly to citizen needs and concerns. Yet, those who lack digital skills and devices risk being excluded from such participation. This brief will explore this issue further and whether E-participation, in fact, can give marginalised groups a stronger voice in society.

Older Adults and Digital Health

Many health services have moved online - a change that was intensified during the pandemic. Although this has made it easier for some to book appointments, order prescription medicine, and self-manage their health, others, including older people, may lack the adequate digital skills to utilise such online health services, and could suffer from worse health outcomes as a result. This research brief pays particular attention to the older population. That is, as older people are more likely to suffer from the digital divide, how does this affect this demographic’s ability to access health services and what are some of the health outcomes?

Digital Inclusion and Mental Healthcare

Digital tools, including video calls or mobile phone applications (apps), are increasingly used to provide mental healthcare at distance. Yet, there is evidence to suggest that people with mental health problems are more likely to face digital exclusion, in that they do not have access to devices or the digital skills to navigate these digital solutions. This brief will explore such challenges and identify relevant policy recommendations.

Digital Exclusion and Social Isolation

It has been shown that a lack of digital skills and access can have a substantial negative impact on a person’s social life, leading to increased social isolation and loneliness and negative effects on one’s mental health and well-being. Older adults, in particular, have been affected by this. This research brief will explore the link between digital exclusion and increased social isolation.

The Digital Divide Among Disabled Students in Higher Education

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a significant digital divide in higher education, as many students without easy access to computers and high-speed internet have struggled to keep up with online learning, exacerbating existing inequalities. Many universities are now offering more online courses and different forms of hybrid learning and, as a result, those students without sufficient digital literacy and connectivity may miss out on education opportunities. This research brief highlights the need to address the digital divide among disabled learners in UK higher education, and whether digital forms of education can aid the participation of disabled learners.

Experience and Skills Needed

  • · Desk-based research skills
  • · Educated to a degree level or equivalent research/policy experience
  • · Excellent command of written English
  • · Competent IT skills
  • · Ability to mediate complex information and analyse governmental reports, academic articles, and media articles
  • · Interest in issues regarding the digital divide in the United Kingdom and/or previous experience in writing about such issues
  • · Willingness to dedicate 3-7 hours per week and work remotely

Responsibilities

  • · Compile shorter research briefs (800-2,000 words).
  • · Deliver the first draft of the report within 8 weeks.
  • · Notify the director of new research developments or governmental initiatives regarding digital inclusion.

Benefits

  • · Develop your skills in research and writing.
  • · References for employers.
  • · The satisfaction of contributing to an important cause and emerging research area.
  • · Fully remote working, with the ability to fit the role around other commitments.

Application Process

· Please send a letter of interest and CV to info@digitalinclusionuk.org, with "Volunteering" in the subject line.

· Specify your preferred research topic in the letter of interest.

· We will be in touch after reviewing the application. If successful, we will schedule a short interview.

Main Duties and Objectives

  • · You will provide short research reports (800-2000 words) and desk-based research regarding the effects of digital exclusion by analysing governmental reports, academic journal articles, and media articles.
  • · You will notify the Director of new research developments or governmental initiatives regarding digital inclusion.
  • · You will deliver a first draft within 8 weeks.

Selection Procedure

  • · Please send a letter of interest and CV to info@digitalinclusionuk.org, with "Volunteering" in the subject line.
  • · In your cover letter, please specify your preferred research topic.
  • · We will be in touch after reviewing the application.

Induction/Training

We provide an introduction to the roles and responsibilities and showcase example reports to the volunteer. The induction may partly be tailored depending on the volunteer’s background, interests, and ambitions.

Ongoing Support/Supervision

Per our "Volunteer Agreement", Digital Inclusion Research Hub ensures the well being of the volunteer through regular contact and provides the necessary information required to successfully carry out duties. The Director and the wider team provide feedback on drafts, and can aid in identifying relevant material for report writing. We respect any other commitments the volunteer might have, which may, on occasion, prevent their ability to deliver reports on time.

More opportunities with Digital Inclusion Research Hub

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About Digital Inclusion Research Hub

Location:

Swinnow L, Leeds, Yorkshire LS13 4QT, GB

Mission Statement

We seek to understand the causes and impact of digital exclusion, and promote digital inclusion through research.

Description

Digital Inclusion Research Hub exists to advance our understanding of the effects of the digital divide on the UK economy, communities, and individuals.

Increasingly, we need digital skills to access public services, manage finances, book medical appointments and order prescriptions, and apply for jobs. Digital skills are no longer optional.

While current society is becoming thoroughly digitalised and the UK is establishing itself as a leader in technology, it remains the case that significant parts of the UK population are digitally excluded.

A lack of digital skills is associated with a range of negative outcomes

1) Fewer job opportunities and limited career progression.
2) Unequal access to healthcare, with a decreased ability to self-manage health.
3) Reduced civic and political participation


Too many groups and individuals are falling behind the digital transformation of society. Our research seeks to identify the causes of digital exclusion and propose recommendations for how the UK can create a digitally inclusive society and economy. Our hope is that this research will inform governmental strategies and key policy actors so that we can close the digital divide.

We are currently focussing on three main projects: 1) The Labour Market; 2) Health and Healthcare; 3) Civic Participation.

CAUSE AREAS

Advocacy & Human Rights
Education & Literacy
People with Disabilities
Advocacy & Human Rights, Education & Literacy, People with Disabilities

WHEN

We'll work with your schedule.

WHERE

This is a Virtual Opportunity with no fixed address.

SKILLS

  • Reading / Writing
  • Research
  • Analytics

GOOD FOR

  • Group

REQUIREMENTS

  • 3-7 hours/week, up to 8-10 weeks

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