Skip to content
Studentships image background

Reducing Unsustainable Levels of Consumption by Redirecting and Repurposing Personalisation Mechanisms

  • School: School of Art & Design
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2023

Project ID: A&D3

Excessive consumption drives climate change. Current consumer lifestyles are no longer sustainable, and this status quo is only likely to be disrupted by consumers themselves. Personalisation is a technique which uses machine learning algorithms and personal data harvesting to prompt people to engage in a range of financial and social activities. We rely on personalised messaging and allow AI to select information for our newsfeeds. While personalisation creates wealth for businesses and brings satisfaction to customers, it often encourages increased consumption. Importantly, personalisation is always deliberately designed. Design, therefore, can be key to repurposing personalisation processes to promote ‘greener’ consumption choices and lifestyles.

This proposition points to two central research questions: (1) how could designers repurpose and redirect existing personalisation mechanisms from boosting unsustainable consumption to reducing it, and (2) how could the power of social influence change on-demand consumption lifestyles? These questions are challenging as the scope to address them is constrained by free-market economic policies and the psychological attractiveness of personalised consumption choices.

This project will gain the in-depth understanding of how current personalisation systems operate and what mechanisms (technological and societal) to identify potential future, profitable ‘green personalisation’ platforms. It will analyse past and present business and societal environmental programmes and movements, scrutinise the ‘intention-action’ gaps and greenwashing practices to come up with practical solutions and actions to ensure success, sustainability, and longevity of future initiatives. Finally, it will produce a set of recommendations on developing status quo-disrupting, consumer- and business-led initiatives.

Supervisory Team:

Dr Iryna Kuksa

Professor Tom Fisher

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

To make an application, please visit our studentship application page.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2023 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Application guidance can be found on our studentship application page.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418