RCUK Digital Economy Hub
focusing on the rural digital economy

What is digital economy?

Digital economy research brings together expertise from different academic disciplines to understand and develop new digital technologies – working closely with those who will benefit from the research. These partners are crucial to the success of the research and may be drawn from community groups, NGOs, government or industry.

The Research Councils UK Digital Economy Theme is supporting research to rapidly realise the transformational impact of such technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy. Since its inception in 2008 the Theme has invested over £138m on a range of activities. These include three large interdisciplinary Research Hubs, led by the Universities of Aberdeen, Newcastle and Nottingham.

dot.rural is the RCUK Digital Economy Hub focusing on the rural digital economy. Rural areas have specific characteristics that create challenges around issues such as quality of life and wealth creation. These include: small, often dispersed populations; narrow and uneven channels of information flow; rapid change in population structures and economic activity bases; and restricted access to digital infrastructure. We believe that rural areas of the UK can, through the user-led application of digital technology, be more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Our aim is to harness the Hub’s expertise with a range of partners to realise this ambition.


Individual interdisciplinary research projects carry out most of the research at the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub alongside individual PhD and partnership projects. All projects are interdisciplinary and address real world problems. From buses to bumblebees, first responders to local history, dot.rural projects involve user partners and innovative technology solutions aiming to improve society, economy or the environment.

Featured Project: ASICA

The ASICA project seeks to improve the experience of aftercare for those diagnosed with melanoma, especially those living in remote and rural communities. All such patients are at risk of a recurrence or a second melanoma and research indicates that the two-years following diagnosis is a particularly anxious time for patients. Patients in remote and rural communities incur considerable costs to attend scheduled hospital follow-up and face an anxious wait until concerns are addressed.


  • dot.rural research at UTSG
    dot.rural research funded by the RCUK Digital Economy Theme and ESRC Social Media Enhancement grant is being presented at the Universities’ Transport Study Group Annual Conference at City University, 5-7 January 2015. The full programme is available online, but dot.rural associated presentations are listed below. Monday 5th January Konstantinos Papangelis (PhD student)  The effects of mobile real […]
  • Congratulations Manor Park School
    Congratulations go to Manor Park School who came 2nd in Aberdeen heat of First Lego League today (10th December). The team visited the dot.rural Hub as part of preparations for the event. They had a tour of the Hub and spoke to researchers Dr Gemma Webster and JP Vargheese about their ideas for how to help […]
  • dot.rural at Digital Economy 2014
    Research from dot.rural’s RuralPAWS project will be presented as a paper and demo at Digital Economy 2014, the full programme is available online. Dr Hassan Hamdoun will present the paper “Reaching the Hard to Reach? ‘Rural Public Access WiFi Service’ Delivery Model – Role, Potential and Pitfalls” in Session 1: Communities and place (13:30 – 14:50) […]


dot.rural is led by Peter Edwards, Professor of Computing Science (Director) and John D. Nelson, Professor of Transport Studies (Co-Director). They are joined by a group of academic investigators who lead the various research themes. Research staff include post-doctoral research fellows and research assistants, alongside a large cohort of PhD students. To deliver on its activities, the Hub draws on the expertise of academic colleagues from across the University of Aberdeen and a variety of other institutions. The Core Team support all Hub administration, training and outreach activities.

Contact Us

Contact Address

dot.rural Digital Economy Hub

MacRobert Building

King’s College

Aberdeen, AB24 5UA

Contact Details

+44 (0)1224 274065