Head of Innovation and Impact
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Dr Gillian Youngs is Professor of Creative and Digital Economy and Head of Innovation and Impact. Her role includes connecting innovative approaches across teaching and research to partnership work with diverse external stakeholders. With more than 20 years’ experience in full-time academic work she previously had careers in entrepreneurial communications business and media.
She has worked on technology and change throughout her professional life and has been researching diverse aspects of the internet’s impact on society and economy for the past 15 years. Gillian is an applied theorist engaged in knowledge exchange, business and policy-related processes, including through the Knowledge Transfer Network of the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK.
Her strategic work has also involved engagement with diverse research councils/Innovate UK processes and bodies including the Arts Council, Nesta, Design Council, the BFI, Policy Connect and Inside Government. Her policy work has included co-chairing (with Lord Richard Inglewood) the AHRC-funded Design Commission Digital Revolution Inquiry (2013-2014) which produced the report ‘Designing the Digital Economy. Embedding Growth Through Design Innovation and Technology’ launched at House of Lords in May 2014.
Gillian’s international work has included participation in UNESCO projects and NGO networks in Europe, the USA, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She has taught within the UK and US university systems including in Hong Kong where she researched the political economy of the handover of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997. In 1999 she co-founded International Feminist Journal of Politics with colleagues from the USA and Australia.
Her current international work includes serving as an expert on the Protection and Security Advisory Group and the Advisory Group for Gender (2016-17) at the European Commission in Brussels. Her national level academic work has included serving as a Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 Sub-panel 36: Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management.
Gillian has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on digital economy, global political economy, international relations and globalization studies, international communications and internet studies, feminist international relations and feminist international communications. She has led the development of interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules in these areas.
She has successfully supervised as director of studies eight PhDs in digital economy and communications including case studies in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. She is interested in supervising research students in the areas of creative and digital economy and innovation.
Gillian adopts an interdisciplinary approach to creative and digital economy drawing on her research background in critical international relations, globalization studies, international communications and new media. She studies macro trends in the globalization of the digital economy, digital empowerment and inclusion, including in relation to women, and new socio-technical literacies and applications in online production and consumption.
Most recently her research and knowledge exchange work has focused on innovation and has involved engagement with the start-up business sector. This practice-driven research addresses the challenge of embedding creative arts, design and multimedia approaches more firmly in processes of digital innovation. Her collaborative knowledge exchange work in this area has included leading the AHRC-funded Brighton Fuse ‘Fusebox’ Knowledge Exchange Project (AH/L504014/1) (2014-2015) featuring a radical new start-up business support programme for innovators at Wired Sussex in Brighton.
Gillian’s professional and research activities have always been collaborative and internationally oriented. She publishes her work in policy-related and briefing papers, research reports, major academic and community of practice journals, co-edited and edited collections, monographs and chapters. She has given invited keynote and guest papers internationally in the USA, China, South Korea, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Austria, Tanzania, and presented over 100 conference and workshop papers at national and international conferences.
Her recent publications have included ‘Internet of Place: innovation in the data-rich experiential economy’ based on her academic leadership in the development of the core theme of ‘Internet of Place’ for the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton (DCCB) which launched early in 2015 as part of Innovate UK’s national Catapult innovation network. She served on DCCB’s launch Steering Group through to early 2016 while Professor of Digital Economy at the University of Brighton, and she continues to serve on the Stakeholder Group of the DCCB, and engage with the Digital Catapult Centre.
Her edited collection Digital World: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights was published by Routledge in 2013 based on the ESRC research seminar series: ‘Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights’ 2011-14 which she led in collaboration with colleagues at University of Leicester, Oxford Internet Institute and University of Vienna. She also led an earlier ESRC research seminar series ‘Ethics and the War on Terror: Politics, Multiculturalism and Media’ 2006-9 in collaboration with colleagues at University of Oxford and University of Birmingham.
Her first monograph International Relations in a Global Age was published by Polity in 1999 and a second Global Political Economy in the Information Age: Power and Inequality was published by Routledge in 2007. She is currently working on a third on Virtual Globalization for Routledge. Her edited collection Political Economy, Power and the Body was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2000 and the third edition of her co-edited book Globalization: Theory and Practice (New York: Continuum) was published in 2008 having been one of the first critical collections on the subject in 1996.
Gillian was also principal investigator on a British Academy project ‘Discovering Digital Me: Forging Links Across Digital Identity, Digital Literacy and Digital Economy’ 2011-14.