UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose



Find out more about scholarships available to support PhD students.



EPSRC/BBC iCASE PhD studentship (supported by IIPP and BBC R&D)



In 2020, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) worked with the BBC on a research project to enable examine how to research and co-design new assessment methods for public value. As a result of our work with the BBC, we published a scoping report titled 'Creating and measuring dynamic public value at the BBC' outlining an early-stage prototype of an evaluation framework that can measure dynamic public value. This report was a first step towards understanding the BBC’s place in the economy and how it is evaluated by public sector organisations.

IIPP and BBC Research and Development are offering an exciting opportunity for a 4-year full-time PhD studentship to further progress this work. Funded by EPSRC and BBC, the successful applicant for this Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (iCASE) studentship will engage with the challenge of delivering universal access and equitable provision of future media in the context of growing digital inequalities and divides. 

Data-centric technologies, including AI, are at the centre of the BBC technology and innovation plan and will transform audiences’ experiences in the future. Not everyone has equal access. The same knowledge or capacity to engage and to benefit, and the people at risk of this digital inequality are often already experiencing social, cultural, and economic marginalisation. BBC has a commitment to universality, and this research will contribute to understanding and addressing of key issues and barriers in digital inclusion in a data-driven society. It will directly benefit key areas of the BBC’s innovation work spanning personalisation, data stewardship, and the design of new interactive and participatory forms of media.

The PhD opportunity

As part of a wider multidisciplinary cohort of four industrial PhD projects, you will have the opportunity, both individually and as a group, to research and develop processes, tools and technologies that help ensure emerging data-driven digital media technologies are inclusive, fair, and socially sustainable – so that technology and policy teams in the BBC and wider digital economy can better respond to the needs of marginalised and underserved audiences.    

This iCASE studentship would focus on the economics of public value and broadcasting. Thinking on how we might apply aspects of IIPP’s work around dynamic public value, market-shaping and mission-driven innovation and evaluation, to understand the role of the BBC in the economy and its interaction with the wider system of private and public organisations. The studentship should also think about the connections within the challenges public media face regarding universality, digital inclusion, and new forms of digital public media service amidst growing digital divides and data-related inequalities. We invite multiple perspectives, ranging from innovation economics to science and technology studies to public administration.

We are interested in how we might advance this thinking in the context of IIPP’s and BBC R&D’s work through the creation of frameworks, tools, methods, and processes that seek to enable the production of socially beneficial media innovation at the BBC and beyond. This could be through case studies, pilots, the development of frameworks, tools, processes, or guidance that can be applied to support the creation of public values and spillover effects through BBC’s work around mission-driven technology, innovation and evaluation aligned with its public purposes.

Supervised jointly by UCL IIPP Director and Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, Mariana Mazzucato and Dr Rhianne Jones at BBC Research and Development, this studentship will have bases in both Salford’s Media City and in Central London. This studentship has a generous research support budget, and an enhanced stipend, and includes travel and accommodation costs between research bases.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have a real and demonstrable interest in the role and impact of media technology and the broadcasting sector in the economy and society in relation to and desire to create technical, practical or policy interventions aimed towards ensuring socially beneficial outcomes. Additionally, the successful applicant for the studentship should (by the start date) have a First or high Upper-Second class honours degree and, preferably, a Masters-level qualification or comparable professional experience. Candidates with degrees in economics are especially welcome. 

Applicants will be assessed across four areas: 

  • Academic and/or professional excellence  
  • Educational background in relevant area
  • Publication record
  • Connection between the applicant’s proposal for doctoral research and one or more of IIPP’s key research themes (market shaping, collective value creation, dynamic capabilities, directing finance).

This studentship is fully funded and available to both home and overseas students. Further information about the Designing For All programme can be found in this BBC R&D blogpost

Award: Fully funded, including annual £19,500 stipend
Duration: 4 years, full time (starting Sept 2022)
Deadline to apply: 31 May 2022. Interviews will be provisionally scheduled between June and July 2022.
Queries: please email iipp.studentenquiries@ucl.ac.uk


Bartlett Doctoral funding 

The Bartlett offers four separate funding opportunities for MPhil/PhD students:

  • Bartlett Student Conference Fund
  • Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund
  • Bartlett External Training Fund
  • Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund
more information and application 

The Bartlett Promise PhD Scholarship

The Bartlett Promise aims to enable students from backgrounds underrepresented in The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment to pursue a PhD at The Bartlett.

Full tuition fees plus an annual allowance to cover living and study expenses (£17,631), for the normal duration of the programme at UCL. All Promise scholars will also receive on-going academic and career support during their study.

find out more here

The Bartlett Promise Sub-Saharan Africa Master's Scholarship

This scholarship is open to applicants who are nationals of a Bartlett approved list of Sub-Saharan African countries pursuing a Bartlett master’s programme.

Full overseas tuition fees, an allowance to cover living and study expenses (£15,364) for the normal duration of the programme at UCL, a flight to/from the UK, UK Study Visa costs, English language assessment costs, health test costs, master’s programme application fee costs and the NHS health supplement charge in the UK. All Promise scholars will also receive on-going academic and career support during their study.


Economic and Social Research Council Funding

Find out more here