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Personal profile

Research interests

In my current research, I contribute to academic and public understanding of how technology, data and information can be used in organisational and policy contexts to support the interests of citizens, communities, public service professionals and governments. I have studied and evaluated a range of digital health services and technologies including electronic patient records, data dashboards, visualisation tools and mobile phone technologies in a range of different health settings.  I also have research interests in fuel poverty and community innovation in the field of energy justice.

I am co-investigator on the Horizon 2020 project EmERGE (€5.5 million) in which partners from five EU countries have developed a mHealth platform, which includes a smartphone application, to support people living with HIV. In that project I contribute to a Workpackage on ‘Sociotechnical Evaluation and Codesign’ in which we have introduced a process to facilitate the coproduction of the platform with clinicians and people living with HIV.  Our approach was selected as an exemplar of HIV-related, social science research at the World AIDS conference 2018.  I also lead a Workpackage on ‘Innovation and Commercialisation’ in which I am responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the EmERGE technology after the end of the project through the creation of a digital health Community Interest Company. 

In addition, I carry out research with Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, policymakers, commissioners and infrastructure organisations who take action and provide services for people in need of support. I founded the Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Partnership which provides training and support to VCS organisations through our partner Community Works. Findings from this partnership work have been included in Brighton and Hove’s Social Value Framework and Guide and in the City’s Fairness Commission Report. They have also informed the Communities and Third Sector Commission (£2.2 million) evaluation and the 5-yearly social and economic audit of the third sector in Brighton and Hove ‘Taking Account 4’.

My specialism is in qualitative research methods and my theoretical interests are in Science and Technology Studies in particular Actor-Network Theory and related 'practice-based' approaches, and complexity theory. I was co-investigator on an ESRC seminar series entitled New Practices for New Publics in which I facilitated civil society and academic partners to pursue theoretical interests in ‘practice’.

Supervisory Interests

I have supervisory interests in digital health, coproduction of health and social care services, community and social innovation, complex evaluation and social value, fuel poverty and energy justice. 

Approach to teaching

My teaching is constantly updated by my research through which I actively seek to engage with policymaking. As an organisation and management and social policy educator, I see the study of organisations and technology as vitally important to public understanding of complex, technical processes and how these intersect with people’s everyday lives. In classroom teaching and online, I encourage students to draw on their own backgrounds and experiences in order to explore, challenge and collaboratively develop innovative ways in which to understand and intervene in policy processes. When teaching public organisation and management I use case studies, examples from current affairs and invite guest speakers with frontline experience of managing services to come in and speak to students, in order to bring contemporary priorities and concerns to life. I teach research methods in a range of settings and at a range of levels from undergraduate to PhD level. In 2012, I was awarded the University’s award for excellence in postgraduate supervision. I aim to ensure everyone I teach develops an interest and enthusiasm for designing, taking part in and sharing research.

I teach on the BSc Social Policy and Practice and coordinate postgraduate modules in Social Policy, Management  and Public Administration. I feel extremely fortunate to work with the students who come to us from local organisations and from around the world to study. We learn about public management, leadership, policy analysis, community engagement and research methods together. I aim to support all my students to develop and pursue research agendas that are important to them in terms of their own background and professional aspirations.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The London School of Economics and Political Science

1 Oct 20001 Jun 2004

Master, The London School of Economics and Political Science

2 Dec 19951 Jul 1996

Bachelor, University of Sussex

4 Oct 19913 Jul 1995


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Social Study of Technology
  • Digital Health and Care
  • Management of Innovation

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2002 2018

  • 8 Article
  • 4 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 2 Book - authored
  • 2 Chapter

Ambivalence in digital health: Co-designing an mHealth platform for HIV care

Marent, B., Henwood, F. & Darking, M., 6 Sep 2018, In : Social Science & Medicine. 215, p. 133-141 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

social scientist
Open Access
health service
Open Access
public service

Development of an mHealth platform for HIV care: Gathering user perspectives through co-Design workshops and interviews

Marent, B., Henwood, F. & Darking, M., 15 Sep 2018, In : JMIR MHealth and UHealth. 6, 10, 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
grounded theory

New Practices for New Publics? Theories of social practice and the voluntary and community sector

Adams, D., Bragg, S., Corble, A., Davies, C., Darking, M., Flegg, K., Gordon-Walker, M., Hatfield, D., Weiner, K. & Will, C., 15 Aug 2017, Online. 163 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearch

Open Access
economic research
social research

Activities 2015 2015

  • 3 Consultancy

Fairness in Brighton and Hove: an analysis of public voice

Mary Darking (Consultant), Carl Walker (Consultant)
1 Apr 201527 Jun 2016

Activity: Consultancy

Warmth for Wellbeing

Mary Darking (Consultant)
1 Nov 201530 Apr 2017

Activity: Consultancy


Information, Advice and Guidance in Community Learning Hubs: An Evaluation of the East Brighton Gateway Partnership

Mary Darking (Consultant), Carl Walker (Consultant)
1 Apr 201531 Mar 2018

Activity: Consultancy