University of Dundee and Mozilla Announce Doctoral Program for ‘Healthier IoT’

With €1.5m in EU funding, this paid PhD program will explore how to build a more open, secure, and trustworthy Internet of Things


This week, the University of Dundee and Mozilla are announcing a new, innovative PhD program: OpenDoTT (Open Design of Trusted Things). This program will train technologists, designers, and researchers to create and advocate for connected products that are more open, secure, and trustworthy. The project is made possible through €1.5m in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.

As IoT evolves, the internet becomes more deeply entwined in humans’ everyday lives. Data flows around us in ever more complex ways: wearable technologies monitor our heartbeat, AI voice assistants cohabit our kitchens and our children’s bedrooms, smart cities know our every move, and facial recognition determines our access across country borders.

These technologies need to be built responsibly, and this practice requires the cultivation of design research and advocacy. OpenDoTT addresses this need on a systems level. By training the very people who will develop and influence IoT technology, we can create positive change that starts at the drawing board.

The challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT) require interdisciplinary thinking. And so the program will be hosted across several locations with training by leading organizations in different fields. The doctoral researchers will begin at the University of Dundee to learn about design research, and then move to Mozilla’s office in Berlin to focus on internet health. Throughout their studies, they will receive training on open hardware from Officine Innesto; field research from Quicksand and STBY; internet policy from the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society; responsible IoT from Thingscon; and usable security from SimplySecure.

University of Dundee will lead training in design research, building on their world-class work on the Internet of Things, co-creation, and craft technology. The university’s past projects have explored the future of voice assistants in the home and IoT for independent retailers.

Mozilla will lead training around open technology and healthy internet practices. Mozilla focuses on fueling the movement for a healthy internet by connecting open internet leaders with each other and by mobilizing grassroots activists around the world.

Professor Jon Rogers, the project coordinator and a Mozilla Fellow, says: “This program is a game changer for the future of IoT because it’s about developing leadership. Change happens through people, and this project will bring future leaders together for a radical training programme that is located between university research and industry advocacy.”

Dr. Nick Taylor of University of Dundee adds: “This project builds on our long-term collaboration with Mozilla and provides an amazing platform to make a real difference in the IoT landscape. These doctoral researchers represent a huge boost to Dundee’s growing capacity for design-led IoT research.”

Michelle Thorne, the program coordinator at Mozilla, states: “With training at the intersection of design, technology and policy, OpenDoTT will produce a cohort of leaders in the internet health movement who are uniquely qualified to steer the field not only toward what is possible, but what is also responsible.”

The program will begin recruiting doctoral trainees in late 2018, and the first trainees will begin in July 2019. There are five available slots in the program. Further details can be found on the project website (, where potential applicants can register their interest.

The project is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN), which are designed to support mobility of young researchers across borders, while providing the training needed to support European industries. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813508.