UK Digital Economy Crucible

What is the UK Digital Economy Crucible?

UK Digital Economy Crucible is one of the integral project outputs of CHERISH-DE. As the project enables facilitation of innovative interdisciplinary projects within Swansea, UK Digital Economy Crucible reaches out to outstanding Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from across all UK universities. Over the life of the project, UK Digital Economy Crucible seeks to build and provide leadership to a vibrant UK network of at least 100 ECRs who will bring their diverse expertise in addressing common human challenges, and become change agents in shaping future products, services and policies. UK Digital Economy Crucible is a UK-wide, multi-disciplinary leadership programme developed by the Centre at Swansea University for ECRs to develop career-altering skills surrounding digital economy research, network and collaborate to achieve societal impact and economic gain. It provides an exclusive development opportunity for aspiring academics to understand the wider context in which they work and to develop a broader perspective of themselves, how they might progress within their longer-term career and, in particular, build a strong network for research collaboration and peer support. Participants are challenged to become collaborative ‘outward-facing’ researchers who seek opportunities to engage and have greater impact. The leadership programme offers a series of residential-based skills labs, held across four cities in the UK to provide exclusive opportunity to interact with crucial actors of digital economy such as industry, media, research councils and parliament. The programme has nurtured 80 ECRs from 30 different UK universities so far. In our final year of the Crucible programme in 2019, we are seeking 20 more ECRs to join the nationwide programme. Our past participants have achieved a wide range of impacts, including policy shaping at Parliament and Government level, public engagements through BBC News, secured funding of over £8 million for their institutions since joining the programme, excelled in their careers and adopted interdisciplinary and co-creation (with user and industry) research approach.

Dates and locations for UK Digital Economy Crucible 2019 are as below:
  • 30-31 May in Swansea
  • 26-27 June in Glasgow
  • 25-26 July in London
  • 7-8 November in Cardiff (Alumni Event)
Applicants must commit to all above dates, and can look forward to the following exciting programme: Swansea skills lab will focus on Insight. It will provide an in-depth understanding of digital economy and leadership and offer an exclusive platform to interact with media (BBC, Channel 4, The Conversation, and the Wired (tbc)), and funding bodies (EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, Wellcome Trust and Home Office), and facilitate a collaboration jam. Glasgow skills lab will emphasise on Collaboration where the participants will start to work together and engage with household industry names (Microsoft, NHS, Amazon, BBC R&D, Facebook, and Google & AstraZeneca (tbc) to address industry challenges, participate in an intensive proposal writing workshop and hear about how to put together a winning proposal. The last skills lab in London will work on achieving Impact. The participants will interact with digital entrepreneur and social digital activist, learn how to feed into policy making at Parliament level through POST, get practical insight into achieving real impact through proven inter-disciplinary work from highly successful senior academics, build resilience as an ECR, and finally participate in a Dragon’s Den-style pitching for an exclusive research seed-corn funding. At the Alumni gathering, which is a crucial part of the leadership programme and will be the biggest gathering of existing and previous cohort, we’ll have a catch-up in a more relaxed environment. We will discuss what the participants have been up to since the last skills lab – their achievements and challenges, discuss emerging opportunities for collaborations, undertake a team bonding outing to foster a sense of common goal within the community. We also provide additional seed-corn research funding at the gathering.

So, how will UK Digital Economy Crucible benefit you?

UK Digital Economy Crucible will enable you to:
  • explore the advantage of working with researchers in other disciplines
  • understand how your research can have greater impact
  • develop a network of peers within the research community
  • introduce you to creative and innovative thinking and improve your effectiveness both within and beyond your organisation
  • develop skills in engagement with public, media, and parliament
  • discover how you can interact more effectively with industry
  • strengthen knowledge on how you can build international research careers


Read about Crucible experience from some of our 2018 cohort.

How do I apply?

Application Form & Eligibility Information