New Future Leader awarded funding within the Department

Picture of Dr Katharine DommettA fifth member of the Department of Politics has been awarded a prestigious European Social Research Council (ESRC) Future Research Leader grant.

Dr Kate Dommett, Lecturer in the Public Understanding of Politics, has been awarded £185,372 as part of the funding scheme. Beginning in October 2016, this project will enable her to conduct a new research project on parties’ engagement with digital campaign software. The project, entitled ‘Renewing Party Politics? Digital Innovations in Political Campaigning’ explores the capacity of digital campaigning to resolve the disconnect between citizens and the state.

In 2015 digital campaigning tools were widely used with software such as Nationbuilder and online advertising key tools by which parties engaged the public. This project works with political parties to map how digital technology has, since 2015, been used to campaign. Using interviews, surveys, case studies and deliberative groups the research will explore the implications of these practices, considering how they are perceived by the public and whether they deliver desired ends. The project will therefore contribute vital new empirical and theoretical insights that consider the significance of digital campaigning practices for party democracy.

The other Future Leaders in the Department include Hayley Stevenson, Genevieve LeBaron, Matt Wood and Lucy Mayblin.

Professor Nicola Phillips, Head of Department, commented:

"It's fantastic news that Kate has been awarded a prestigious Future Leaders grant, and I look forward to the outstanding research that she is planning to conduct into political parties' digital campaigning. It gives me great pride that our Department now has five members of staff identified by the ESRC as Future Leaders."

If you are interested in finding out more about this project then please contact Kate by e-mail on or by calling 0114 222 1682.

For more information about research in the Department click here.