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. dot.rural combined the Hub’s expertise with the experiences of a range of partners to realise this ambition through the activities organised around the following challenge areas.
Agent and Semantic Support for Rural Enterprise
Digital Advanced Rural Testbed
Informed Rural Passenger
Satellite Internet for Rural Access
Technology to Support Older Adults – Personal and Social Interaction
dot.rural Internship Scheme
As part of its wider engagement with the academic community and impact agenda, dot.rural introduced a summer internship scheme which ran in 2013 and 2014 and is being repeated in 2015. The scheme is designed to support students from outside dot.rural and the University of Aberdeen to spend time at the Hub. Interns join a lively community of 18 PhD students already based in the Hub, working across a range of disciplines.
In 2013 there were four interns from Heriot-Watt University (logistics with the Smart Micro-logistics for the Rural Economy project), Dundee University (Design/Computing with the Informed Rural Passenger project), Edinburgh University (Mathematics with the Managing Information in Medical Emergencies project) and Horizon CDT, University of Nottingham (Computing Science with the Cultural Repositories & Information Systems project). In 2014 interns were from Northumbria University (Design, worked with community heritage groups), Exeter (Medical Geography, Sunbeds, e-cigarettes & social media) and Highwire, Lancaster University (othering online) alongside two joint interns between dot.rural and the James Hutton Institute.
For 2015 there are two internship schemes: one for penultimate year computing science students (joint with James Hutton Institute, two internships of 10 weeks long) and one for PhD students in any discipline where interns propose their own 10 week topic. The PhD internships are looking at smart cities, policy and governance (Sheffield University) and social media use by whisky companies (Robert Gordon University).