CDT Network Map
Colin Watson

CDT Student

Colin Watson

My research interest is citizen access to digitised national and local government services and the effects on individuals and communities.

In my MRes Digital Civics project I examined how to help citizens make better use of resource-limited advice and support appointments. In particular I studied how to assist claimants of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) health/disability benefit gather more accurate and impartial health assessment information to support their claims. This involved co-designing PIP Kit with service users and practitioners, comprising digital and non-digital components, to help people recollect and discuss how health conditions affect their own daily lives and mobility.

My PhD examines citizens’ access to e-government (digital) social protection services providing payments to counter poverty. There is an overlap between the most socio-economically deprived people and those more socially and digitally excluded, making research engagement more challenging. I have been working using the digital-by-default Universal Credit (UC) as a case study primarily, mostly with UC claimants directly, but also with people providing citizens with formal and informal support.

Prior to Open Lab, I have worked in manufacturing, engineering design, software development and information security. I undertake voluntary work for a charity and local community groups.


  • Shelter



Smartphone Data and Public Health Emergencies


The Digital Civics CDT is made possible by EPSRC funding under the project code EP/L016176/1