The theme for Digit’s 2021 Summer School reflects the way that digital transformations are changing the organisation, quality and location of work along Global Value chains.

The Summer School is open to Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who we define as individuals that are currently undertaking a PhD or working in a postdoctoral researcher capacity, and are within 5 years of submitting their PhD.

This year’s School will be held online on 14th, 15th & 16th September 2021

The digital transformation of organisations contributing to global value chains (GVCs) has presented significant challenges to many organisations and the people they employ. Organisations across the globe are exploring how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D Printing can enable the quick and efficient delivery of products and services to consumers. These digital transformations are changing the organisation, quality and location of work along GVCs. Production is changing from global to local, while new patterns of consumption are driving a need for increasingly customised products and services.  

The purpose of this Early Career Researchers (ECRs) summer school is to explore these issuesThe summer school is open to Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who we define as individuals that are currently undertaking a PhD or working in a postdoctoral researcher capacity, and are within 5 years of submitting their PhD. Individuals can submit their research to one of four parallel tracks.  

In some cases there is evidence of new employment opportunities for ‘entrepreneurs’ emerging with novel business models at different points in the GVC. The ability to draw on a geographically dislocated workforce to contribute to work on the GVC raises empirical questions as to how these innovations and decisions will affect skill set needs for future workforce in geographically dispersed locations across these GVCs. In addition, recent efforts have instigated a global digital single market through talent moblity with digital rights and data flows with protection. However, some of these developments have also led to a debates athe macro level on the impact of automation alongside increaing income inequality and economic, social and political tensions  

These developments indicate the need for theoretically informed and empirically evidenced research on how policy makers need to act to help steer the digital transformation to act as a force for greater prosperity and creation of digital innovators. Specifically it is not clear from a GVC perspective what innovations are needed at product, process and business model level and how that will affect employment opportunities.  

The school will have four parallel themes:

Led by Dr Samuel Roscoe

ECRs are invited to submit papers related to how emerging technologies (including, but not limited to, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things and 3D Printing) are transforming global value chains, in terms of visibility, resilience and the manufacturing location decision (regionalisation, globalisation, localisation). We are also interested in the new skill sets needed for future managers to deal with resilience, visibility and location decision making.  

Led by Professor Nachiappan Subramanian

This track invites submission on how the digital transformation is changing the nature of work along global value chains, be it in supplier’s factories overseas, distribution facilities or  in the delivery of products and services to customers. Submitted papers may wish to explore how the digital transformation is impacting the quality of jobs along global value chains in relation to the UN sustainability goals.  

Led by Nikki Stopford

Contemporary organisations are witnessing the influence of digital technologies within and beyond organisational boundaries, especially in terms of customer behaviour. This track invites researchers to re-evaluate traditional assumptions about IT- led or driven organisational transformation and create new theories about how digital transformation can be leveraged to place firms in an advantageous position in emerging economies. 

Led by Dr Katerina Antonopoulou

Digital infrastructures, defined as the collection of technological and human components, networks, systems and processes” (Henfridsson and Bygstad 2013; p.908), are offering opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in a wide range of industriesThis parallel track invites submission on how work that is being increasingly virtualised, and digitalised is allowing new professions emerge (e.g. influencers, YouTubers among others). 

Alongside opportunities to present research and receive feedback in the parallel sessions, the Summer School will include:

  • Plenary sessions including senior leaders from industry and academia.
  • A ‘Getting Published’ session with a panel of editors from leading journals in the fields of Operations and Supply Chain Management, Global Value Chains, Innovation and Digital Work.

Abstract Submissions

The summer school is open to Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who we define as individuals that are currently undertaking a PhD or working in a postdoctoral researcher capacity, and are within 5 years of submitting their PhD.

Applicants should submit a 1000 word abstract which clearly articulates the research topic, research problem, research question, research design and any preliminary findings.

The abstract should be submitted by 15 June 2021, as a pdf document, using the email address below.

Please read the guidance, which can also be used as a template for your abstract submission, in full before submitting your abstract.

Abstract Review

Abstracts will be evaluated on the following four criteria, through a review process and authors will be notified of acceptance / conditional acceptance / rejection on / shortly after 30 June 2021. The notification will include feedback to author(s). The decisions of the review panel are final.


  • Topic & research question
  • Methods
  • Findings
  • Contributions (theory & practice)

Abstracts will be accepted for review on the understanding that the submitted manuscript is an original work and has not been copyrighted, published, or accepted for presentation at any other conference.

Full Paper Submission

If your abstract is accepted to the conference, ECRs will then be invited to submit a full paper (up to 9000 words including references, appendices, figures and tables) for discussion during the summer school. The deadline for submission of the full paper is 31 August 2021.

Full Paper Submission instructions will be available in due course.​


  • Deadline for 1000 word abstract submission 15/06/2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance and invitation to submit full paper 30/06/2021
  • Deadline for full paper submission: 31/08/2021

Abstracts should be submitted using the below template to: