Scolarship Funds Online Friendships Research

Posted on 23 November 2011

Scholarship winner, Sarah Merry

A PhD student of Aberystwyth University has been awarded a University of Wales Postgraduate Studentship.

Sarah Merry, originally from Oxfordshire, will use the money to support her through the final year of her PhD.

The funding will contribute to her study of online friendships, cultivated by social media and cyber communities.

Speaking of the award, Sarah said:

“I’m very pleased and honoured to have been awarded a University of Wales Postgraduate Studentship.

“I have been involved in online communities and social media since the mid-1990s, and so I am very excited to be doing a PhD investigating the friendships which are created online.

“This is an area of study which is still quite under-researched in the UK, but which is attracting increasing international interest.

“Society is changing; the Internet has facilitated a transformation in the way that friendships and communities develop, with connections increasingly formed around common interests rather than geographical proximity.”

Towards the end of the 90s, it became increasingly easier for people to establish meaningful online relationships.

Since the development of high-speed broadband internet, online friendships have changed significantly – it is now possible to hold real-time audio and video conversations over the internet providing levels of interactivity beyond plain text.

Sarah Merry is a graduate of Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University who writes poetry in her spare time.

The University of Wales Postgraduate Studentships are provided from the income of a trust gifted to the University of Wales in 1905 by the late John Eyton Williams, of Chester (1828-1905), from part of the income of a trust gifted to the University under the will of the late Lord Morris of Borth-y-gest, Pro-Chancellor of the University from 1956-1974.


Application forms for the Scholarship can be obtained by visiting:  

Or emailing  

Notes to Editors:

The University of Wales has decided to merge with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University. The unified institution will be merged under the historic 1828 Royal Charter of the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David. This is a historic decision and offers the transformed University the opportunity to continue to serve higher education both within a Welsh and international context. It is envisaged that the three institutions will have integrated by 1 August 2012.

For more information on The University of Wales please visit:  

For press and media information, please contact Communications Officer, Tomas Llewelyn Barrett  


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