Theme Co-Leads: Dr Maria Sourbati and Dr Mary Darking

CDCI researchers are looking at the role of smart technologies and infrastructure in a range of different domains including smart cities, travel, housing, energy and care.  For more information on research in this area. See our list of smart infrastructure projects and researchers below.

Funding is available for PhD and (in the case of ESRC SCDTP funding) Masters level research. Visit our listing of PhD funding opportunities.  Visit our list of current PhD projects in Smart Infrastructure.

Come and join our CDCI Smart Lab team as a visiting researcher or PhD student

Increasingly, digital technologies are added to, or included within, ordinary objects that make up our day-to-day lives and lived environments.  These technologies take an object such as a phone, watch, fridge, bicycle, ventilation system or electricity meter and give them additional functionalities designed to enhance the experience of using them.  For example, smartphones have brought  new functionalities to ordinary mobile phones, offering access to a multitude of software applications (apps) and connectivity such as Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS.  In our homes, devices such as smart fridges add functionality by storing information on items kept within the fridge through sensors that can track information such as product expiry date and usage.  As well as providing additional functionality, smart devices also generate data that can be used by device manufacturers and companies to find out when and how a product is being used or an activity is taking place. Awareness of data privacy and ethics is needed if a balance of interests is to be struck between the advantages smart devices provide their users and the data privacy issues that arise from generating and sharing data from objects so deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives.

On this point, CDCI Smart Infrastructure Theme Lead Dr Maria Sourbati and former CDMC Director Dr Frauke Behrendt describe how, in the case of transport infrastructure, “data are increasingly captured by (public) transport and mobility as a service (MaaS) providers, Internet of Things (IoT) vehicles, apps” leading to an “increasing entanglement of mobility and datafication”. They focus on the need to consider issues of justice given the extent to which it is known that processes of digitalization and datafication happen unevenly. In an increasingly data-driven policy making environment, this can leave substantial parts of people’s lived experience overlooked, and already marginalized groups even further under-represented (Sourbati and Behrendt, New Media and Society 2021).


Current CDCI Smart Lab Research Projects

Innovative Light ELEctric Vehicles for Active and Digital TravEl (ELEVATE): reducing mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions (2021-2025)

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) funded

Dr Mary Darking (CoI)


Smartphone sensors and machine learning in positioning, navigation and tracking

University of Brighton Rising Stars funding; BRITE funding (2 awards)

Dr Khuong Nguyen


Developing innovative physical components for ‘Smart’ natural ventilation systems

Dr Ryan Southall


Ageism in AI: new forms of age discrimination and exclusion in the era of algorithms and artificial intelligence

Volkswagen Foundation (2022-2025)

Dr Maria Sourbati



Current CDCI Smart Lab PhD Projects

Kelly Prime    (CDCI Supervisors: Dr Mary Darking;  Dr Ryan Southall)

Smart(er) Energy Justice: Embedding equality into smart technology use and design

(ESRC South Coast Doctoral Partnership 1+3 funded – Social Policy)


James Marshall (CDCI Supervisor: Dr Mary Darking)

Generational understandings of automobile futures in industry and policy and in everyday mobilities

(ESRC South Coast Doctoral Partnership +3 funded – Social Policy)

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