The Digital Economy (DE) Theme is led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and addresses the challenge of how the novel design and use of digital technologies can contribute to an innovative, healthy economy and inclusive society. The Theme is focused on understanding the impacts of the research and what drives users.

Led by EPSRC, the Digital Economy Theme brings together the work of EPSRC and that of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Innovate UK.

The DE Theme aims to:

  • Inform the upstream research agenda - Digital economy research challenges the boundaries of cutting edge technology. By considering future opportunities, we will inform and influence the priorities of the underpinning research areas to ensure that future outputs are aligned.
  • Inform Government policy - Digital economy research can provide thought leadership for the UK in terms of embracing digital technology. We will explore how this can be used at a policy level (both local and governmental).
  • Lead internationally - We will support internationally leading research. The digital world is global. We will aspire to ensure that the outputs of research and skills supported by the Digital Economy Theme are exploited on a global scale. This is also in line with an increasing emphasis on Official Development Assistance.
  • Make new connections - At the core of digital economy research is the involvement of users in defining and driving research that addresses real world problems. Co-creation is a big feature and we continue to strengthen existing relationships and pursue new ones.
  • Cement the capability - A key impact of the Digital Economy Theme is the sustainability of the digital economy community. We will continue to build and strengthen the community, focusing on our four themes, identifying gaps and articulating opportunities.

The Digital Economy Theme focuses on the cross-disciplinary research priorities of Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security; Content Creation and Consumption; Beyond a Data-Driven Economy; Sustainable Digital Society; and Equitable Digital Society, with close collaboration with users to define and drive the research agenda.

Several topics in EPSRC’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Theme are common to (and indeed underpin) these priorities. These include human computer interaction, pervasive and ubiquitous computing, information systems, artificial intelligence and ICT networks and distributed systems.