Back to search results

Future Practices of Data Storage and Data Use - a fully funded PhD in Sociology at Lancaster University

Lancaster University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Lancaster
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Fully funded
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th June 2019
Closes: 16th August 2019

To start: October 2019
Deadline for applications: August 16th 2019

This is a call for applications for a three-year fully funded PhD studentship for UK and EU citizens in the Leverhulme Trust PhD Training Centre in Material Social Futures at Lancaster University.

Topic: The invention of new materials, such as nanostructures, has created much hyperbole as well as concern. Nanostructures are minute beyond everyday understanding yet capable, in theory at least, of being assembled into new shapes and structures. In the computing industry, these structures are expected to be revolutionary; offering, amongst other things, the promise of quantum data storage. In this context, the PhD investigates past, present and future technologies and practices of data storage and data use to explore if a future in which we ‘store everything’ is desirable, and its potential social and environmental implications. The appointed candidate will decide the focus of the PhD in line with their specific interests and enthusiasms. Data storage and use associated with the explosion of social media and apps which now permeate all aspects of everyday life, or in the context of smart cities and digital urban environments would be appropriate topics. Likewise, it would be possible to focus on a specific sector(s), such as education, heritage or health, to explore imaginatively future practices of data storage and use therein. The point though, is to understand the relationships between different configurations of data storage materials and technologies, and practices of data storage and use: from filing cabinets and floppy discs historically, through to cloud computing today, and in imagined futures of quantum data storage.

All these and more are legitimate topics to be investigated in this forward-thinking research project. The appointed candidate will undertake their research alongside PhDs researching the materials science aspects of this topic, in particular related to the devising of nano-scale data storage materials. These and other PhDs will all be members of and participants in a multi-stranded PhD research training programme in Material Social Futures. The future of data storage and data need is one important part of this programme.

The Leverhulme PhD Training Centre for Material Social Futures brings together concepts and approaches from across the disciplines to help produce futures that people want and the world needs. The doctoral training is a major new strategic collaborative partnership between the vibrant research community of the University’s Institute for Social Futures ( and the Materials Science Institute ( Lancaster University is one of the top 10 universities in the UK.

Lancaster University is one of the top 10 universities in the UK. The Sociology Department was ranked 1st in the UK for research intensity in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), recognizing its inclusive approach and world-leading research. The project will also benefit from access to the vibrant research community of Lancaster’s Institute for Social Futures (


The PhD will be supervised by Prof. Richard Harper; and/or Nicola Spurling

Informal enquiries are warmly welcomed, please contact Richard Harper ( or Nicola Spurling (

Application Information: Please send enquiries about the vacancy and applications by email to Richard Harper (

We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools
More PhDs from Lancaster University

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge