Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the EPSRC Next Stage

Surrey, United Kingdom
£33,309 to £40,927 p.a.
25 May 2022
End of advertisement period
16 Jun 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Centre for the Decentralised Digital Economy

Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Location: Guildford
Salary: £33,309 to £40,927
Post Type: Full Time
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Thursday 16 June 2022
Reference: 034322

We seek a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) for the EPSRC Next Stage Digital Economy Centre in the Decentralised Digital Economy (DECaDE), to be based in the Business School. We are currently defining the next phase of the work, but would like an individual with expertise in business models and value and knowledge of one or more of: power, supply chain, systems engineering, service design, cost modelling, process management. The position is part of a major cross-disciplinary Centre – - led by Professor John Collomosse and Professor Glenn Parry. 

DECaDE is focussed on the distributed data future. We see a shift from centralised siloed data models (e.g. Facebook, BBC News) to decentralised technologies where users exercise greater agency. There are opportunities for radical new business models that redefine how value is derived from digital content. As data and platforms become fully decentralised through distributed data sharing infrastructures such as Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) there is much we do not understand about how these technologies can scale, nor the kinds of governance and incentive structures required to maintain them sustainably. We are addressing these fundamentally socio-technical challenges from three thematic perspectives: how value is co-created, with a specific focus upon digital content creation and consumption; how we identify with and use digital services and in turn how they use us (our data); and how this affects the way individuals and employers interact in a decentralised future of work.


The research Centre, named “Next Stage Digital Economy Centre in the Decentralised Digital Economy” (DECaDE) is funded through a prestigious research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). We are moving in our second phase of research.

Sharing the value that data can provide equitably within a DDE requires a study of the drivers of individuals, organisations and government. Data sharing facilitates personalisation, creating more valuable products and services, but sharing is tempered by individual’s decision process and regulation, such as GDPR. To date literature does not offer organisations a practical frameworks with which to manage and organise in distributed contexts. Decentralisation can be a way of providing greater privacy in context, or trust and privacy as part of a process that gives individuals greater control over who can access their personal data. But what are the processes and methods through which these potential gains can be realised?

Decentralisation can be a way of providing greater control over their data. We must map these contexts, and study the new kinds of value that might emerge in a decentralised digital workplace where, for example, validated data records of past employment and performance provide reputational value – but what are the safeguards needed to host and share that information? Research could examine models for value co-creation, the effects of context and the opportunity for digital transformation afforded by decentralised data technologies such as DLT, co-creating visions of preferred futures underpinned by the DDE and capturing the implications for individuals, organisations and society.


Within the DECaDE project, this 24-month PDRA position, will concentrate on supporting the pre-defined projects based on scenarios that have been co-created with the business and end-users named. We are currently discussing which direction the centre will go, but there are clear themes in play:

  •  Media content trading – challenges of identity (both of people and content), ownership attribution, IP and processes for content exchanges that may be helped using blockchain/distributed solutions  
  • Supply chain, in particular how distributed systems may play a part in supply visibility or trust, helping goods cross international borders more easily. We have a body of work in the area of supply chain and blockchain and are happy to discuss future directions
  • Future of work; how will distributed ledger change the future of work? Smart contracts and DLT systems may facilitate portfolio careers, as well as providing sources of trust for accreditation of work done

The business Schools role is the business model for the system.

This falls under two clear goals:

  • Working in close collaboration with researchers from across the Centre’s group of partner firms, alongside academics who have expertise in DLT. The PDRA will focus upon DLT application, taking a leading role in building partner relationships, running workshops and contributing theoretical insights. 
  • Work needs to be synthesised into ABS 3 and 4 journal articles. The theoretical and empirical perspective taken will depend on your skills (value, power, business models, supply chain, systems, service etc.), but delivery of outputs are important both for the project and your own CV 

The deliverables from this project will directly support and help integrate the work of other project partners who are developing the components of the manufacturing system.


The key responsibilities of the position will be to:

  • Undertake research at an internationally competitive level.
  • Contribute to the development of the research project, specifically:
  • The development of projects and building relationships
  • To publish journal articles in ABS 3 or 4 ranked publications, building on current skills that supports the project goals.
  • Disseminate research results to the project team, as well as through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.


The Centre Director is Professor John Collomosse (PI & Technical Lead) from Surrey. Professor Parry is CoDirector (Co-I & Socio- Lead) from Surrey. Co-Investigators on the project include Prof. Steve Schneider (Cyber Security - Surrey), Prof. Chris Speed (Design Informatics – Edinburgh), Dr Chris Elsden (Design Informatics – Edinburgh), Prof. Burkhard Schafer (Computational Legal Theory, Edinburgh). Partners Dr Robert Learney, Alistair Yool and Nastasha Velasco (Digital Catapult DLT Field Labs).


A PhD in Business and Management, or related subjects to the call as well as a high degree of organisation and ability to plan and manage your own studies are essential. You will need to be able to offer thought leadership and hit the ground running. A knowledge of business model and value theory, or a useful area of business theory (privacy, power, process mapping, Lean etc.) is needed.

Previous academic experience publishing in academic journals in an applicable area of academia is highly desirable.

Previous experience of some of Business and Management area related to the project – which may include Business, Engineering management, development of DLT, blockchain, cryptocurrency or software services is desirable. Technical expertise already exists within the group on specifics of the science and software, so we do not seek a coder/programmer.

Given the broad cross-disciplinary nature of the project, it is expected that the PDRA would spend time visiting partners and working closely with the researchers at these institutes. Therefore, excellent communication skills and the ability to work with other disciplines are also essential.

The position is for 24 months full time, but part time working may be possible, providing contracts fall within the funded period.

If you would like to discuss the position informally, please send us an email and we'd be excited to discuss the project further with you.


Ranging from Grade 4.1 to 4.8: Salary from £32,817 per annum depending on experience.

Please note – we expect candidates to move to within easy commuting distance of the University. Please look at house prices in the area and decide if this is realistic for you.


Applications will close 16th June but apply as soon as you can.

We aim to hold interviews on 29th June 2022


To be agreed from September 1st 2022.

Candidates in the final stages of completing their PhDs are encouraged to apply only if they can provide a reference attesting that their PhD will be competed by the end of September 2022, or shortly thereafter.

More details

The role for the researcher will specifically help to develop the Centre. We need someone who would be excited to take a leading role in developing relationships with our academic and business partners, applying their theoretical knowledge to practice. The PDRA will have qualitative and quantitative skills to be able to capture nuance of the project from work done and construct the required insights to value and business models. The work necessarily examines the context of use of the offer and so all stakeholders including business and user groups and policy/regulators. Depending on skills, either a systems perspective, business model perspective or process perspective may be taken. Research will need to design their studies to capture primary data e.g. interviews/surveys, and then provide the rationale for how business creates, delivers, captures value, and possible costs of DLT. The resultant frameworks or models may act as the route to market, indicating competitiveness, growth, possible cost and profitability. Spin out companies may be possible, as well as opportunities to develop relationships with industry and academia that would form a firm basis for a longer academic career.

More about the project

Online links:

For more information and to apply online, please download the further details and click on the 'apply online' button above.

In return we offer a generous pension, relocation assistance where appropriate , flexible working options including job share and blended home/campus working locations (dependent on work duties), access to world-class leisure facilities on campus, a range of travel schemes and supportive family friendly benefits including an excellent on-site nursery.

Click here to find out more about the benefits we offer to support you.

The University of Surrey is committed to providing an inclusive environment that offers equal opportunities for all. We place great value on diversity and are seeking to increase the diversity within our community. Therefore we particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups, such as people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and people with disabilities.