Dr Mark Wong
- Senior Lecturer (Urban Studies)
Dr. Mark Wong has been a Senior Lecturer (also known as, Associate Professor) in Public Policy & Research Methods at the University of Glasgow since 2022.
Mark is an expert in digital society and policy, his work focuses on three key intersecting areas:
1) inclusive AI/data,
2) racial inequalities, and,
3) climate action and just transition.
His work addresses the harms and bias of AI/data on Minoritised Ethnic people and the impact of green and digital ransformation on perpetuating systemic racism. He is also an expert in social data science and Social Network Analysis (SNA).
Mark is part of the Urban Studies subject group (ranked joint-1st in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework [REF] 2014).
He has strong experience in promoting responsible, equitable, and sustainable innovation in data and AI. He has influenced and advised on policies in the Scottish Government, public health, and industry.
He is a Scottish-Minister-appointed member of the Scottish Government’s "Interim Governance Group on Developing an Anti-Racist Infrastructure”. He has also served in other advisory roles for the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland, offering expertise on countering bias and systemic racism in data infrastructure at a national level in Scotland.
His current research examines issues of algorithmic harm and racialised inequalities in data-driven transformation, especially in governments and the policy landscape. He has published in several high-impact international academic journals, given invited talks/seminars at international conferences, and have a strong track record in research and external engagement.
He has led innovation in participatory approaches in designing AI, algorithms, and game development, focusing on co-design with Minoritised Ethnic people and "ethical by design" principles.
In research funding, Mark has been the Principal Investigator/Co-investigator of several interdisciplinary research projects funded by the UKRI, including the EPSRC, NERC, and ESRC, and other funding bodies, e.g.:
- "Protecting Minority Ethnic Community Online" (£3.34 million, CI and UofG institutional-lead, UKRI Strategic Priority Fund);
- "Multilayer Algorithmics to Leverage Graph Structure" (£766K, CI, EPSRC);
- "Innovators Assemble: Using Gaming and Game Development to Accelerate Business Engagement, Commercialisation, and Innovation in SHAPE" (£10K, PI, Research England / Aspect Network + £3K, PI, ESRC IAA);
- "Sustainable Screens Scotland", RSE research network grant (£20K, CI, RSE);
- “Decarbonising Music Industry: A Survey on Music Fan Attitudes on Sustainability” (£9K, CI, NERC),
- "Music Sector Systems Map for Just and Green Urban Transition" (£19K, CI, NERC), and;
- "What Data Means to You" (£5K, PI, ESRC IAA).
Mark also currently serves as the Deputy Theme Lead of the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), a University strategic initiative for interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations and external engagement. He is the Deputy Lead of the Creative Economies and Cultural Transformations Theme, contributing his expertise in inclusive and sustainable digital transformation.
Mark was a co-investigator of the NERC-funded “Decarbonising Music Industry: A Survey on Music Fan Attitudes on Sustainability” project, promoting change in the music industry and fair actions to address the climate emergency. The project's report received attention from >50 news/media outlets. He is also a co-investigator of the RSE-funded "Sustainable Screens Scotland" Network.
MEDIA APPEARANCE & INTERVIEWS
Mark has strong experience in conducting regular media appearance and interviews. He's done radio interviews (e.g. BBC Radio Scotland - Good Morning Scotland programme), and his research has been reported in several major news media, e.g. The Sunday Times, The Times Scotland, Vice UK. He's also provided materials and quotes for press release (published in the Herald, Future Scot) and interviewed for online documentaries.
In Mark's recent research, he argues online connections have become especially important for marginalised young people to feel socially connected. This research contributed to informing public understanding around online social networks. He's also provided interviews on how rapid innovation in data and algorithms could deepen social inequalities and the changing era of social media. He has been interviewed for a UofG Spotlight podcast series (Ep. 30 - 18:32) talking about the importance of how governments collect data to inform public policy and how to avoid biases in decision-making using data.
CURRENT RESEARCH, FUNDED PROJECTS & AWARDS
Mark has a strong track record of publishing single-authored articles in top peer-review journals in his field, e.g. New Media and Society (one of the top-2 journals in media and communication studies, Impact Factor: 8.061) and Housing Studies (top-3 journal in housing research, Impact Factor: 3.516). He has also published several co-authored articles in other high-impact journals.
He is actively involved in leading interdisciplinary research and innovations. He is the Co-investigator and work package lead for the £3.34-million "Protecting Minority Ethnic Community Online" (PRIME) projected funded by the UKRI strategic priorities fund. He is also a Co-Investigator of the EPSRC-funded project, MultilayerALGS (£766K, 2020-23), and he's leading cutting-edge innovations in social data science, to design new algorithms with computer scientists/mathematicians to study online social networks. This research seeks to understand online inequalities in new ways and develop solutions to mitigate algorithmic harm and inequalities among Minoritised Ethnic communities.
He is also the Principal Investigator of the "Innovators Assemble" project, which is developing a new videogame to amplify Minoritised Ethnic's people's voices and traditional ecological knowledge in Scotland's sustainable futures. The project (funded by Research England/Aspect Network, £10.1K + ESRC IAA £3K) seeks to promote gaming and game development as a pathway for innovation for social science and arts/humanities research. Project partners include Education Evolved Ltd., Ethnic Minority Environmental Network (EMEN), and the Floating Designer.
Mark was also awarded the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account User Engagement grant (£5K) as Principle Investigator for a short film project “What Data Means to You”. He partnered with the Crichton Trust, East and Southeast Asian Scotland, FinTech Scotland, and Nesta Scotland to explore public imaginings and lived realities of data, especially from marginalised voices in the community.
In 2020-21, Mark served as the Co-Chair of the University Shadow Board, which contributes to the University strategy and Senior Management Group decision-making, and its aim is to influence change in the University through ideas, actions, and diverse voices.
In addition, Mark has co-convened the Scottish cross-institutional research network, Social Network Analysis in Scotland (SNAS) group for over 10 years. He has served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the SAGE Doing Research Online.
He has been invited to be a peer reviewer for several national funding bodies, including the MRC/GCRF, the Dutch Research Council, and for top international academic journals, such as New Media and Society, Journal of Social Policy, Sociological Review, Social Network Analysis and Mining, and Information, Communication and Society.
He has also had success in winning funding in the ESRC supervisor-led PhD studentship competition (with Prof. Sharon Wright) for a project on "Young people's lived experiences of welfare conditionality over time".
BACKGROUND, RESEARCH EXPERIENCE & EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT
Mark completed his PhD in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh and his work explored the importance of technologies and online connections for disengaged young people (“hidden youth”) in Hong Kong and Scotland.
Mark's interest broadly lies in addressing the global challenge of how technology and data may be used (or not used) to improve people's lives, particularly to promote equity, inclusion, and welfare and wellbeing, while addressing concerns in ethics and biases of data and AI processes.
Methodologically, Mark is interested and has been involved in several research projects working with innovations in social data science methods, including "big data" analytics, Social Network Analysis (SNA), network visualisations, social media data (e.g. twitter data), and linked data.
Mark has worked with several external partners, including providing consultancy for the Scottish Government in developing a new methodology for one of the National Indicators in the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework, a flagship policy measuring Scotland's outcomes against the UN Sustainable Development Goals, using Social Network Analysis (SNA).
He is a member of the Public Health Scotland's Scottish Migrant and Ethnic Health Research Strategy Group. He is also a policy advisor and member of several working groups in the Scottish Government, e.g. the Data & Intelligence Network, Primary Care Data, and Vaccination Ethnicity Data Collection.
He has provided expert advice on the collection of ethnicity data in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, making a distinct contribution to close Scotland’s ethnic data gap. He was also invited to provide advice to improve the data infrastructure on protected characteristics of the Scottish population. This work has helped transform the practice, policy, and data system design of how ethnicity and protected characteristics data are collected and used in public sectors to tackle health and social inequalities in Scotland.
Digital society, data & AI, and social networks in the "digital age"
- Impact of technology, data/AI, and digital transformation on society and inequalities
- Equitable, Inclusive, and Responsible AI and data
- Bias of AI/data on Minoritised Ethnic people
- Relationship between technology and fairness, equity, sustainability and welfare and wellbeing
- Young people, online social networks, and the climate emeregency
- Use of AI and data-driven innovation in public sector and governments (e.g. algorithmic decision-making)
Social Data Science / Co-Design
- Social data science methods, "big data" analytics, automation and APIs (particularly in R)
- Social Network Analysis and network visualisations
- Participatory/co-design approach to AI and algorithm design and development, co-production
- UKRI Strategic Priority Fund (EPSRC/ESRC/AHRC), "Protecting Minority Ethnic Community Online" (PRIME), £3.34 million, Co-Investigator / work package and UofG institutional-lead, 2022-25.
- EPSRC Standard Grant, "Multilayer Algorithmics to Leverage Graph Structure" (MultilayerALGS), £766K, Co-Investigator, with Meeks K. (co-PI), Enright J. (co-PI), Lee D. and Guo H. https://gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/T004878/1.
- RSE Research Network Grant, "Sustainable Screens Scotland", £20K, Co-Investigator, with Inge Sorensen (PI), 2021-23.
- Research England (Aspect Network), "Innovators Assemble: Using Gaming and Game Development to Accelerate Business Engagement, Commercialisation, and Innovation in SHAPE", £10.1K, Principal Investigator, 2022-23
+ ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (£3K, PI), 2022-23.
- ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (User Engagement) Grant, “What Data Means to You”: a short film project on public imaginings and lived realities of data futures, £5K, Principal Investigator, with Inge Sorensen (Co-I) and Bishakha Chaudhury
- NERC Disciplinary Hopping Funds, "Decarbonising Music Industry: Survey on Music Fan Attitudes on Sustainability", £9K, Co-Investigator, with Matt Brennan (PI)
- NERC Disciplinary Hoping Follow-on Funds, "A music sector systems map to plan for a just and green urban transition: Connecting Glasgow’s ‘UNESCO City of Music’ and ‘COP26 Legacy City’ identities through mapping and social network analysis", £19K, Co-Investigator, with Matt Brennan (PI).
- ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021, "SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement and Sensing & 5G Technology for Net Zero" (£1,000)
- ESRC supervisor-led studentship competition (with Prof. Sharon Wright), for a doctoral project on "Young people's lived experiences of welfare conditionality over time"
- UofG Research Reinvigoration Grant, "Project Gamestorm: Using Gaming to Address Global Challenges", £22K, Co-investigator, with Dr. Tim Peacock (PI), Dr. Matthew Barr, Kezia Dugdale
- UofG Learning and Teaching Development Fund 2020 x 2 (£3,000 x 2, on technology and gamification (lead applicant) and feedback and assessment literacy, with Dr Craig Gurney, Prof Susan Deeley, Prof Rebecca Madgin, Dr Alasdair Stewart)
- UofG Urban Studies Research Incentivisation Funds 2021-22 (£1000 + £630); 20-21 (£1,470); 18-19 (£780); 17-18 (£1,700, organised the "Researching Youth and Inequalities in the Digital Age" Workshop Series, and organised a mini-symposium including academics and youth practitioners/third sector organisations)
PGT in Urban Studies (including Public Policy, Housing Studies, and Real Estate and Regeneration); UG Social and Public Policy
Topics interested to supervise include:
- Digital society, social networks, and social connections in the "digital age"
- Impact of technology, data, and algorithms on society and inequalities
- Limitations and bias of technology, e.g. racial, gender, and class biases
- Inclusive, equitable, and fair AI and algorithmic processes
- Relationship between technology and social inclusion, equality and wellbeing
- Innovation, data, and AI for "social good"
- Social data science
- Social Network Analysis and network visualisation
- Young people and online social networks
- Youth policies, welfare, wellbeing (particularly in Hong Kong and UK/Scotland)
PGR students currently supervising:
- Du, Haitao
Understanding the Residential Expectations, Aspirations, and Outcomes of Skilled Migrants in China-the Case Study of Guangzhou, Foshan, and Zhongshan
- Rochow, Thomas
Young people's lived experiences of welfare conditionality
- Wang, Dajun
Family and state intervention in children’s gaming behaviours and its effect on family relationship
Teaching Excellence Award 2020, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
Mark won the School Teaching Excellence Award 2020, in recognition of his distinct contribution in enhancing student experience and using technology such as smartphone apps and Virtual Reality (VR) to promote active learning pedagogy.
Mark has an extensive range of experiences in teaching social policy (particularly youth policy), social data science, quantitative methods, social network analysis, and data visualisation for various UK institutions and international academic networks.
Mark was the Undergraduate Convenor in Urban Studies in 2018-2021, and he was the Programme Director of the award-winning MA (Hons) in Social and Public Policy programme.
Mark successfully led the UG teaching team, which won the UK-wide Social Policy Association Outstanding Teaching Award 2020, and the programme was joint-first for Social Policy in the UK in NSS 2019 and 1st in the Complete University Guide Subject League Table 2022.
He is also one of the VR App Champions for Project Mobius, funded by Innovate UK (£1 million), in developing cutting-edge innovations in Virtual Reality (VR) in teaching and learning. He contributed in co-designing a new VR application and the co-development of a new VR platform for teaching, Edify, with industry partner Sublime and reached commericialisation in Feb 2021.
The "Data Landscape" VR lesson he co-developed allows learners to visualise data and learn about data analytics in a new immersive environment in VR.
- UG Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (Course Convenor, 2019-present)
- Youth, Policy and Welfare: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Designed by Mark Wong, Co-Convening with Kezia Dugdale, Director of John Smith Centre, 2020-21)
- Big Data, Policy, and Power (New Course Designed by Mark Wong, Convenor 2020-21)
Learning and Teaching Innovation
Mark is a co-lead in a team in Urban Studies, which won two awards from the University Learning and Teaching Development Fund 2020 (LTDF, £6000) to explore embedding technology in active and blended learning as well as promoting feedback literacy.
He also previously served as the Deputy UG Convenor of the School of Social and Political Sciences (2019-2021) and was part of the School's Learning and Teaching Committee.
Mark served as the Academic Lead for a project in the College of Social Sciences Learning and Teaching Framework 2020-25, in "Transforming Assessment and Feedback". The project, funded by the College Dean of Leaning and Teaching Fund, served as an exemplary case of using technology to transform assessment and feedback practices in CoSS. He led the co-design of a new app, UniCom, to improve timeliness of feedback in active learning.
Mark was appointed to the University Learning and Teaching Committee's working group, Re-imagining Learning Encounters, and contributed to addressing challenges in learning and teaching in University of Glasgow during the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the College representatives.
Best Paper Award, Housing Studies Association/Chartered Institute of Housing, Housing Studies Association Conference 2017
Sue Grant Service Award, University of Edinburgh (2012)
Kiwanis International Service Award (2003)
Mark was an External Collaborator for a project funded by the European Research Council, "Medical Translation in the History of Genomics". He developed original applications of SNA methods and data linkage and developed a large open-access dataset (using Application Programming Interface and over 30 million automated API queries in R), to map networks of scientific collaborations from the 1980s to 2000s.
Mark was a member of the conference organising committee of the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith international symposium 2021 on Inclusive Digital Futures.
He led a public engagement event in the UofG COP26 programme and the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021, "SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement and Sensing & 5G Technology for Net Zero"