- Name: Dr Ding Wang (2013 cohort)
- CDT: HighWire CDT – Lancaster University
- Nationality: Chinese
- Status: Alumni
- Research title: Not a dashboard, not a sandcastle: Unpacking the smart city discourse.
- Current role: Post-doc Researcher, Microsoft Research India
Ding joined HighWire after completing an MSc Design Ethnography degree at the University of Dundee. It was whilst Ding was completing her Master’s degree that she realised how multidisciplinary her degree and the skills she had acquired were. Ding wanted a PhD programme that would suit and accommodate her desire to further pursue interdisciplinary research.
Upon reflection of her PhD journey, she acknowledges that the friendly, supportive and extremely innovative atmosphere she experienced at the HighWire CDT Open Day played a strong role in her decision to choose the Lancaster-based centre.
Ding’s research focus centred on critically unpacking the concept of ‘Smart City’. She undertook a research internship with Microsoft Research Cambridge, as well as a research project with the Royal College of Art.
During her PhD, Ding has published both single-authored papers, as well as collaborative papers and the citation numbers of these papers are still growing. For Ding, the best part about doing a PhD in a CDT was the supporting networks. It was through these communities that she found her best collaborators and she still shares friendships and collaborative projects with some beyond her PhD. In addition, the activities such as the PhD writing retreats (offered by both HighWire and the Digital Economy Network) and the Deep Dive Workshop with her HighWire cohort were some of the most cherished moments of her PhD.
Even though Ding had a relatively smooth PhD experience, one of her biggest challenges was her financial situation. Ding received a stipend, but had to pay additional substantial tuition fees as an international student. She had the good fortune that her family were extremely generous and supportive, but it was still a burden that she had to manage throughout her doctoral journey.
Ding is currently working as a PostDoc Researcher in Microsoft Research India; a position that she would not have been able to apply for without completing her PhD. The relevance of her thesis topic played a strong role during the selection process, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of her PhD work.
Ding hopes that the future impact of her conceptual and theoretical research on smart cities will provide a critical reflection on the social impact and ethical consideration of the technological and economic development in digital economy in the future.