The Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (Digit) studies the way that digital technologies are reshaping work and the impact on employers, workers and their representatives, job seekers and governments.

Our research aims to generate new knowledge about the benefits, opportunities, risks and challenges of these changes that is theoretically informed, empirically evidenced and policy relevant.

Through our research, events, publications and engagement with policymakers, commercial and third sector organisations, we aim to inform current debates about the future of work and develop a compelling, empirical basis for effective policy-making.

ESRC Funding and Partners

Digit has been established with an investment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), commencing in January 2020 for five years.

The centre is co-directed by Professor Jacqueline O’Reilly (The University of Sussex Business School) and Professor Mark Stuart (Leeds University Business School). Additional partners include the Universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge and Manchester in the UK and Monash in Australia.

We also work with a range of commercial and not-for-profit organisations to advise on the coproduction of research outputs to inform academic knowledge, business practice and policy reform. See Knowledge Exchange Partners.

In 2024, the Institute for the Future of Work (IFOW) joined our Centre as a partner. The IFOW will support our policy engagement activities over the final year of our current five-year research programme.

Research Objectives

  1. Generate new knowledge to inform the development of an analytical framework around the concept of the ‘connected worker’ and the ‘connected economy’.
  2. Maximise knowledge exchange and co-produced research with relevant communities.
  3. Establish a new Data Observatory as a one-platform library of national and international resources for decision-makers connecting with UK Industrial Strategy and welfare policy.
  4. Initiate an Innovation Fund providing financial support for new research initiatives and methodological approaches, enabling international exchanges and extensive dissemination.
  5. Provide a strong career development programme for mid and early career researchers through mentoring and staff development, internships and summer schools.
  6. Ensure the long-term sustainability of the centre by developing an MSc in People Analytics informed by Digit research.

Our current research programme, drawing on international, interdisciplinary and innovative approaches, is based around four core research themes:

  1. The impact of digitalisation on work and employment
  2. Employers’ digital practices at work survey
  3. Employers’ and employees’ experiences of digital work across sectors
  4. Reconnecting the disconnected: new channels of voice and representation

Read more about our Research Programme.

  1. What factors affect business adoption and use of technologies, ranging from digitalisation to automation, algorithmic management and Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
  2. How does the take up and impact of these technologies vary by sector, region and country?
  3. How is the implementation of digital technologies used to transform work and foster good jobs?
  4. What effect does this have for different groups of managers, employees, and the self-employed?
  5. What happens to displaced workers and how is technology used to help those looking for work?
  6. How are employment laws and regulations changing in response to the impact of digitalisation?
  7. How are civil society organisations including trade unions and other NGOs responding?
  8. How can we draw on different theoretical insights, methodological approaches and comparative experiences to interpret these?