CRISP Doctoral School 2016: A Great Success

Last week saw the third biannual CRISP doctoral training school, this time hosted doc school 2016by Edinburgh University. We were delighted to welcome 21 doctoral students from all over the world. The continents of South and North America as well as the four corners of Europe were represented in the cohort. Students listened to expert lectures addressing questions concerning surveillance and the internet, security, privacy, philosophy and religion. They also participated in academic skills workshops, culminating in our Epic Research Proposal Workshop ™ which is in equal measure challenging and enjoyable. Off campus activities included the stunning CRISP annual lecture, delivered by Duncan Campbell, field trips to the Glasgow City Observatory, a film viewing and lecture. The week was rounded off with a fish supper followed by an energetic Ceilidh. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the students for their engagement as well as the academic staff who contributed: Dr Michael Nagenborg (Twente), Duncan Campbell, Nik Williams (Scottish PEN), Alex Stobart (Mydex), Dr Andrew Neal (Edinburgh), Dr Kami Vaniea (Edinburgh), Professor Mike Nellis (Strathclyde), Professor Phil Taylor (Strathclyde), Dr Heather Morgan (Aberdeen), Dr Claudia Pagliari (Edinburgh), Dr Richard Jones (Edinburgh), Dr Eric Stoddart (St Andrews) and Dr Randoph Lewis (Texas at Austin).  Once we’ve compiled all of the feedback we’ll start planning the next one: Stirling or St Andrews 2018! Which will it be? Watch this space!

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Available

Department of Computer Science, University of St Andrews 

Tristan Henderson, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the Univnetwork-cablesersity of St Andrews is recruiting for a research fellow to work on a new Wellcome Trust funded project on predicting consent in online social network health research.

Online social networks (OSNs) such a s Facebook and Twitter are used by hundreds of millions of people daily. This popularity means that they form an attractive venue for health research, used both by patients for seeking support, and researchers seeking to gather data about behaviour. Studying people on such services is fraught with ethical challenges, however, owing to the sensitive nature of the topics being discussed. Concerns about privacy and surveillance mean that OSN users might not wish to share data with researchers, and researchers might inadvertently gather data to which consent had not been granted.

This new project will investigate whether it is possible to predict when social media users consent to share data with stakeholders, specifically in health research, such as researchers and clinicians. We aim to make the consent process better reflect the context in which data were created, and respect users’ preferences about which data should be made available to which stakeholders. For example, someone seeking support from their peers because they are anxious about an upcoming medical procedure might not want this shared with medical researchers, while they may want reports about the side effects of their medication to be made available to clinicians.

Our previous work shows that consent for sharing social media data with researchers is driven by the purpose of research. More recently we found that traditional `informed consent’ forms are insufficient for capturing willingness to share social media data. By applying a model based on “contextual integrity” we improve the accuracy of consent without burdening participants with consent requests, by detecting whether participants conform to social norms for sharing data with researchers.

The research fellow will explore whether it is possible to extend our contextual integrity consent work to health research. It would be suited to someone with an HCI and ethics background, and/or with some experience in machine learning. The project is initially funded for one year through a Wellcome Trust Seed Award, but these awards are intended to lead to full multi-year follow-on projects.

The full details can be found on the St Andrews vacancies web site. Informal queries are welcomed by e-mail to The closing date is 30 June 2016.

Big Data Surveillance PhD studentships available

Two Doctoral Studentships are available at the School of Management, University of St Andrews, October 2016 start
CRISP is the UK partner of the SSHRC funded Big Data Surveillance project, led by Queens University in Canada. We currently have funding available for two PhD studentships to complete research that will contribute to the project’s findings. The studentships are funded by SSHRC and by The School of Management at the University of St Andrews.

The Big Data Surveillance project aims to understand the impact of big data analytics in everyday life. At CRISP we are very interested in understanding how analytics changes aspects of the consumer experience as well as the activities of marketing professionals.

We invite applications from doctoral candidates in the following two areas:

–      Big Data Analytics and the changing nature of marketing work

–      Consumer experiences of data donation

‌The ‌successful applicants will have the opportunity to work with a number of scholars and students associated with the Big Data Surveillance project at Queen’s University, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta, the University of Ottawa and University of Toronto, as well as those at the University of St Andrews School of Management and the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy. Both studentships will be supervised by Professor Kirstie Ball.

For more information about the studentships and how to apply, please see this page, or contact Kirstie directly:  The deadline for applications is 30th June 2016