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Collaborative research across discipline and sub-discipline boundaries remains at the heart of our research and impact strategy. The support developed for REF 2021 enabled our Unit to grow its research impact by creating strong interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborations with local, national and international entities to tackle UK Grand Challenges and UN’s Strategic Development Goals. For example, our Unit is one of two organisations which comprise the new £9m Centre for Digital Citizens. 

Digital Economy Research Centre  

The Digital Economy Research Centre aims to theorise, design, develop, and evaluate new digitally mediated models of citizen participation that engage key stakeholders such as communities, local government and the commercial digital economy in developing the future of local service provision and local democracy. 

Cyber Guardians 

The Cyber Guardians project led by Dr James Nicholson worked with the University of the Third Age (U3A) to train a team of older volunteers on the digital skills needed to stay safe when using the internet. The ‘Cyber Guardians’ will share their learnings with others in their community. The project stemmed from research by Dr Nicholson that found there was very little engagement providing training and information for this group, despite them being more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and scams. Find out more about the project

Top tips for staying safe online from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

Community Health and Support  

Research has found that middle-aged male football fans often do not exercise enough. Researchers addressed this challenge by working with fans to design an app to encourage them to take more exercise in a sustainable way. Researchers leveraged fans sense of team identity to create online communities where people can encourage and support each other. Find out more  


The T-GRAINS project aims to increase the amount of food in our diets that is produced regionally, the extent to which this can provide health and sustainable diets, and how this could be achieved through work with supermarkets and other stakeholders. Northumbria’s contribution to this project includes examining how the design of human computer interactions could support and promote sustainable lifestyles.  


Dr Marta Cecchinato used her research in digital distraction and human computer interaction to work with UK collaborators to create a newly designed web-platform that provides evidence-based strategies to help remote workers (e.g. during COVID-19) with their digital self-control, productivity, and achieve a better work-life balance.  

Learning from the Past to create a Sustainable society

This project worked with partners in Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi to promote access to and use of digital cultural heritage content for classroom education. Access to information about cultural heritage helps provide context and understanding about society that is essential to pave the way forward for sustainable growth. 

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