New University of Wales Research Chair for University of Wales, Newport

Posted on 27 September 2010

Professor Gillian Youngs

“The digital economy has the capacity to transform not only business and commercial environments but also the everyday lives and possibilities of all people of all ages. But we are really only beginning to understand this new economy’s comprehensive potential for combining economic development with greater social justice and inclusion.”

So says Professor Gillian Youngs, the recipient of the third University of Wales Research Chair. Professor Youngs is also the newly appointed Professor of Digital Economy and Academic Director of the Institute of Advanced Broadcasting (IAB) at the University of Wales, Newport.

This is one of seven new Research Chairs being funded by the University, five of which will be based within institutions which form the ‘University of Wales Alliance’ which includes the University of Wales; Swansea Metropolitan University; University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC); University of Wales, Newport; Glyndŵr University and the University of Wales Trinity St David.

Professor Youngs has a combined media, business and academic background and has been researching digital economy and empowerment for over a decade. Her academic research interests developed directly out of her work with different technologies during her career. She was one of the earliest UK researchers on digital developments, initially when she was based in Hong Kong and teaching at Syracuse University’s centre there. She returned to the UK to take up a position in media and communications at the University of Leicester and led the development of one of the first MA courses to examine Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and economic, political and social transformations related to them. Professor Youngs also supervised international PhD students researching ICT developments across the world.

Her early academic research was on globalization and her co-edited collection, Globalization: Theory and Practice (Continuum), one of the first critical volumes on the topic in 1996, was recently published in a substantially revised third edition. She has published extensively in major international journals, edited collections and policy related documents including for UNESCO and the NGO sector nationally and internationally.

Professor Youngs’ monograph Global Political Economy in the Information Age: Power and Inequality (Routledge, 2007) assessed ICT developments globally including in relation to China and India as well as the least developed parts of the world. All her academic work on globalization and ICTs has featured a central focus on questions of inequality and empowerment including as they relate to women and this has been the basis of much of her policy related work nationally and internationally.

Professor Youngs has also recently been awarded an ESRC research seminar series grant (2011-2013) on the theme of ‘Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights’ in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester; the Oxford Internet Institute and the Institute of Communications, University of Leeds. This is the second ESRC research seminar series she has led and it will include focus on the digital agenda in Wales.

On being awarded her University of Wales Research Chair, Professor Youngs said:

“I am honoured to be appointed as a University of Wales Research Chair and excited to be joining Newport’s IAB which is bringing together business and academic expertise to generate new kinds of research that has direct impact on developing the digital economy and its inclusiveness in Wales.”

Congratulating Professor Youngs, University of Wales Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marc Clement, said:

“Professor Youngs is bringing some fascinating insights to bear on the developing digital economy, which have the potential to open up exciting research possibilities. This is an excellent appointment, and another example of the ways in which University of Wales Research Chairs are being deployed to bring the greatest possible support for Welsh business and industry."

The sponsorship of the University of Wales Research Chairs is part of the University’s aim of supporting the economic, social, cultural and intellectual well-being of Wales. It will support the building and enhancement of the research capacity of higher education in Wales, consistent with institutional mission and with the priority sectors identified by Welsh Assembly Government.
The Chairs will also act as focal points for work on pan-Alliance initiatives. This includes working with the University’s prestigious industry-based programme, the Prince of Wales Innovation Scholarships (POWIS).


Notes to Editors:

The University of Wales, Newport is part of the University of Wales Alliance which also includes the University of Wales; Swansea Metropolitan University; University of Wales Institute Cardiff, (UWIC); Glyndŵr University and the University of Wales Trinity St David. The University of Wales Alliance aims to enrich and enhance Higher Education in Wales.
For more information about the University of Wales Newport please visit:

For more information on The University of Wales please visit:

For press and media information, please contact Tom Barrett, Communications Officer, University of Wales:                 or call 02920 376999


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