PhD Studentship: The Cultivation of Hatred Online

Loughborough University

Application details:
Reference number: OCC1
Start date of studentship: October 1, 2018
Closing date for applications: April 27, 2018
Interview date: In May. Exact date to be confirmed after shortlisting.

Primary supervisor: Professor Andrew Chadwick
Secondary supervisors: Professor Tom Jackson, Dr Karen Lumsden, Dr Cristian Tileagă

Improving the Health of Our Online Civic Culture: A New Centre for Doctoral Training at Loughborough University.

Established in 2018 with a £300,000 award from Loughborough University's Adventure Research Programme, the Online Civic Culture Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) applies cutting-edge concepts and methods from social science and information science to understand the role of social media in shaping our civic culture. Led by Professor Andrew Chadwick it consists of a team of ten academic supervisors drawn from the disciplines of communication, information science, social psychology, and sociology. The CDT enables interdisciplinary teams of researchers and PhD students to work together on issues of misinformation, disinformation, and the rise of hate speech and incivility online. It develops evidence-based knowledge to mitigate the democratically-dysfunctional aspects of social media. It identifies and promotes the positive civic engagement benefits of social media. For more information visit

  • In the latest UK Research Excellence Framework (2014), Communication at Loughborough was ranked 2nd in the UK for research intensity.
  • Information Management at Loughborough is ranked 1st in the UK in The Times University Guide, 2018 and is home to the world leading emotional analysis system EMOTIVE. 75% of CIM’s research is world leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Communication has ranked in the World Top 50 for Communication for the last six years and 7th in the world and 1st in the UK in Communication for influence on scholarly research and debate as measured by citations (QS World University Rankings 2018).

Project Detail:
This PhD will explore online discourse promoting misogynistic and/or racist hate speech. The research will address, for example, the rise of the so-called "alt-right" online and assess whether social media discourse cultivates deep emotional involvement from individuals and groups who promote such ideas. It will also consider the power and significance of oppositional responses, such as, for example, the #MeToo movement, Hope Not Hate, and Black Lives Matter. The project will explore the potential of methods and tools that use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques that may be used to combat racism and/or misogyny.

Find out more:  

Entry requirements:
At least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) by start of project. A Master's degree will be an advantage.

Funding information:
Open to UK/EU and International graduates with backgrounds in relevant disciplines. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,777 per year for three years and covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4260). International students may apply: the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee. You will register for 1st October 2018.

Contact details:
Deirdre Lombard, Postgraduate Administrator  
+44 (0)1509 223879

How to apply:
Online at Under programme name, select Social, Political and Geographical Sciences. Mark your application "Online Civic Culture CDT."

Please quote reference number: OCC1

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Midlands of England