Postgraduate research opportunities Datafied Policing Technologies, Racial Justice and Human Rights Compliance


Key facts

  • Opens: Friday 12 May 2023
  • Deadline: Thursday 29 June 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3.5 years
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


This project will examine the intersection of datafied technologies used in policing for 'social benefit' and racial justice, specifically in relation to the human rights law-based prohibition of racial discrimination. It is a collaborative project with Amnesty International Scotland.
Back to opportunity



  • Background in e.g. Sociology and/or Social Policy, Critical Digital Studies, Critical Race Studies, Media Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Policing Studies
  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject area (awarded or expected award)
  • UK Honours degree (at 2.1 or above), or equivalent for non-UK qualifications

For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here: An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum is required (with a minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not a first language and this must be evidenced at point of application. The University of Strathclyde accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details here:


  • Background in law and technology, and/or human rights law. Training in human rights law will be provided.
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research and/or working in an interdisciplinary environment
  • Experience working with non-academic partners (e.g. community organisations, public service providers)
  • Knowledge of UK policing, especially Police Scotland
THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
Back to opportunity

Project Details

This is a collaborative project with Amnesty International Scotland.

The proliferation of AI-propelled, datafied technologies in policing is generating significant scholarly and public concerns over their impact on human rights, and their intersection with racial justice. From the use of black-boxed algorithms, the hyper-securitisation of predictive policing tools, biometric surveillance, the use of third-party data sharing platforms, to other forms of digital evidence-gathering: the deployment of such datafied practices in the policing of racialised minorities (and indeed of other minoritised groups) has been argued to give rise to technologically-mediated, racialised vulnerabilities.

There is a need to further examine: the nature of datafied policing practices and their impact on racialised minorities in a range of contexts; ways in which datafied policing practices may generate new forms of racialised digital (intersectional) vulnerabilities; and accountability avenues for ensuring that decision making on the use of datafied practices complies with human rights law and related non-discrimination guarantees.

Through a focus on human rights-compliant police accountability, this interdisciplinary PhD project will examine the intersection of datafied technologies and racial justice. Its focus is on the context of policing in Scotland. This intersection should be examined from human rights law-based perspectives on the prohibition of racial discrimination, whilst specifically analysing how these concerns are played out and more widely understood in the context of Scottish policing.

The PhD project is expected to contribute new knowledge in areas such as Digital Humanities, Human Rights Law, Critical Race Studies and Police Studies. It should also provide policy-oriented recommendations that may enhance racial justice in policing in Scotland.

Potential topics (or aspects of topics) for the Scottish context include but are not limited to:

  • Datafied policing and racialised intersectional disparities
  • Datafied policing and lived experience of minoritised, racial groups
  • Decision making processes around datafied practices and policing of minoritised groups
  • The role of substantive and procedural dimensions of human rights law in decision making in this context
  • Potential for human rights accountability in relation to strategic and operational decision making about the use of datafied practices and policing of racialised minorities
  • Socio-cultural discourses and representations of race, data and policing (e.g. popular and news media, public communications) and implications for human rights compliance.

The successful candidate will work closely with our team to develop their research focus in a way that is tailored to their own skills and interests but proposals should fit with the broad aims of the project.

Further information

Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training in Human Rights-based Decision Making

This project is hosted within the newly launched Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Human Rights-based Decision Making. The PhD projects affiliated with this CDT should enhance understanding of the complex challenges and opportunities related to human rights-based decision making by a range of actors/institutions in the public, private, and third sector. The CDT’s aim is to bring together a cohort of postgraduate researchers to build interdisciplinary skills and knowledge needed to help tackle the major challenges of translating international legal protections into more just institutions, processes, and equitable outcomes for people in their everyday lives.

The interaction between human rights-based decision making and data-intensive technologies is the theme for the phase of projects beginning in 2023.

The CDT supervisory team includes academics in Law, Humanities, Computer and Information Sciences, Government and Public Policy, and Economics. The multidisciplinary supervisory team will continue in line with future projects. As a CDT postgraduate researcher, you will be trained by, and collaborate with, the supervisory team to grow a critical knowledge base around understanding how human rights standards can become integrated in strategic and operational decision making.

Research culture, supervision and training

At Strathclyde, Centres for Doctoral Training aim to provide you with an innovative, engaging, and supportive student experience that promotes world class research in an interdisciplinary environment. You will benefit from a range of excellent training and opportunities and be part of our vibrant research culture.

The Primary Supervisor for this project is based in the School of Humanities. The School of Humanities is currently home to over 110 postgraduate research students (PGRs), who are part of a larger community of over 300 PGRs at Strathclyde’s Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School. Many PGRs in the Humanities are part of cross-disciplinary, cross-Faculty/School supervisory teams, engaged in relevant areas of research, including: Internet and Social Media Studies; Race, Postcolonial and Migration Studies; Gender and Equality Rights; International Policy and Politics. You will have the opportunity to participate actively in relevant staff/student initiatives, such as the Race, Ethnicity and Migration (REM) network and the Strathclyde University Feminist Research Network (SUFRN); and present at relevant events such as the Humanities Research Seminar Series and the more subject-specific Journalism, Media and Communications Research Seminar Series. The Secondary Supervisor is based in the Law School. Strathclyde Law School has, in its 60 year history, established and consolidated its reputation for research excellence and provides a vibrant and inclusive research environment for PGRs.

We are members of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. All registered PGRs are members of one or both of these Schools, which provide training, event and funding opportunities for all PhD students.

A key focus of the CDT will be training, to support your development as a highly skilled researcher able to work at the interface of different disciplines and methods. CDT-specific training will sit alongside research skills training offered within your home faculty, and you’ll also enrol in the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD). This programme offers a tailored suite of workshops, courses, events, online provisions and resources designed to meet your development needs. This is a unique qualification, where students can gain credits for academic-related activities, such as conference presentations, event organisation, and public engagement. This programme is aimed at developing skilled, confident researchers and effective and valuable potential employees. You will graduate with the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Strathclyde is a socially progressive institution that strives to ensure equality of opportunity and celebrates the diversity of its student and staff community. Strathclyde is people-oriented and collaborative, offering a supportive and flexible working culture with a deep commitment to our equality, diversity and inclusion charters, initiatives, groups and networks.

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnicity, women, LGBT+, and disabled candidates and candidates from lower socio-econo

Back to opportunity

Funding details

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant in line with UK Research and Innovation guidance to cover living expenses, with an annual cost of living increase. Home fees are included in the studentship.

International candidates are very welcome to apply but will be required to pay the difference between the home student fee and the international student tuition fee.

Back to opportunity


Dr Esperanza Miyake

Chancellor'S Fellow And Senior Lecturer
Journalism, Media and Communication

View profile
Dr Schippers

Dr Birgit Schippers


View profile
Back to course


Interested candidates should forward a CV (3 pages max. and to include undergraduate and postgraduate degree grade point averages) and project proposal (1500-2000 words) to the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law: You will receive an email confirmation of receipt within 3 working days. If you do not receive this, please email the named contacts below.

This proposal should indicate:

  • Motivations for researching in this subject area
  • Your understanding of the research context, to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area
  • A suggested research question or questions, and how these fit in relation to the suggested questions above
  • Potential research methods.

Please indicate in your email if you are available on the interview dates.

If your application is not shortlisted, we aim to let you know within 2 weeks.

Number of places: 1

Shortlisting will be carried out by three members of the supervisory team at the Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training in Human Rights-based Decision Making.

It is anticipated that shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview on 5 July 2023.

All staff involved in shortlisting and interviewing will have undertaken recent unconscious bias training.

Interviews will take place via Zoom. Applicants can request an in-person interview if preferred and this will be accommodated depending on availability of the interview panel.

To read how we process personal data, applicants can review our 'Privacy Notice for Student Applicants and Potential Applicants' on our Privacy notices' web page.

Back to course

Contact us

For further information please contact Dr Esperanza Miyake ( and/or Dr Birgit Schippers (