Dr Mark Wong
- Lecturer in Public Policy and Research Methods (Public Policy)
Dr. Mark Wong joined the University of Glasgow as a Lecturer (also known as, Assistant Professor in Hong Kong/US) in 2017.
Mark's current research focuses on young people, inequalities and precarity, and the unequal impact, experiences, and bias of technology, AI, and data. 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 a range of leadership experiences and responsibilities at the University, College, and School levels.
Mark serves as the Deputy Theme Lead of the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), a flagship University initiative bringing together researchers across disciplines and sectors to enable transformational research to respond to societal and global challenges.
He is the Deputy Lead of the Creative Economies and Cultural Transformations Theme, contributing his expertise in digital transformation and AI & Ethics. He is particularly interested in understanding issues of bias and ethics in data, algorithms, and AI. His work in this area seeks to examine and promote inclusive, equitable, and sustainable use of data.
Mark has also served in several advisory roles for the Scottish Government, including for the National Performance Framework and, more recently, on the collection of ethnicity data in the COVID-19 vaccination programme and health & social care.
He has provided expert advice and served as a member and policy advisor in four working groups in the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland since 2021. He has offered advice on the ethical design of the collection of ethnicity data, which is now being rolled out in the COVID vaccination programme and primary care. This work helped transform the practice, policy, and data infrastructure of how ethnicity and other protected characteristics data is being collected and used in health and public sectors to tackle inequalities in Scotland.
In addition, he is developing new research activities with a team of colleagues across Colleges on youth climate action and the inclusive transition to Net Zero - reflecting on collective action, youth participation, and the role of technology and data. Mark has led a public engagement event in the offical UofG COP26 programme and the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021, "SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement and Sensing & 5G Technology for Net Zero".
CURRENT RESEARCH, FUNDED PROJECTS & AWARDS
Mark has a successful track record of publishing original research and single-author articles in top 4* (world-leading) peer review journals, e.g. New Media and Society (Impact Factor: 8.061) and Housing Studies (Impact Factor: 3.516). He has also published several co-authored articles in other high impact academic journals.
Mark is actively involved in leading interdisciplinary research and innovations. He is a Co-Investigator of the EPSRC-funded project, MultilayerALGS (£766K, 2020-23), and he's leading cutting-edge innovations in social data science. He is collaborating with computer scientists, algorithm design experts, and mathematicians at the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh in this project. He leads the work package on developing new network algorithms to analyse online social networks in new ways. This work seeks to understand online inequalities and design new solutions to mitigate algorithmic harm and inequalities, especially among Minoritised Ethnic communities.
Mark has also been 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.
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.
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 is part of the leadership team of the College of Social Sciences interdisciplinary research theme, Digital Society and Economy (and cross-college Glasgow Social and Digital Change group).
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, 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
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.
He has an active interest in the meaning and importance of online social networks and digital interactions for young people and marginalised communities. His research examines this issue in the global changing context dominated by precarity, and his work has contributed to new understandings of the lived experiences of young people, particularly how their lives have been impacted by technology in both positive and negative ways.
Mark's interest also broadly lies in addressing the societal challenge of how technology and data can improve people's lives and promote "social good", particularly equality, inclusion, and welfare and wellbeing, while addressing concerns in ethics and biases of technology and data processes.
He is interested to understand the lived realities of technology and what unequal impacts technology and data have on marginalised groups, based on racialisation/ethnicity, genders, age, and other intersectional factors.
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 Straregy Group. He is also a policy advisor and member of several working groups in the Scottish Government, including the Data & Intelligence Network, Primary Care Data, and Vaccination Ethnicity Data Collection.
Mark was an External Collaborator for a project funded by the European Research Council, "Medical Translation in the History of Genomics", based in the University of Edinburgh. 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.
Media Appearance and Interviews
Mark's research contributed to public awareness of the issue of "hidden youth", including through several news reports on his research in The Sunday Times, The Times Scotland, and BBC Radio Scotland. He was interviewed by the BBC Radio Scotland's prime national news programme, Good Morning Scotland, in May 2018.
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 and was reported in news media, including the Herald and Future Scot (published with the Times Scotland).
Mark also regularly provides interviews for international media outlets, such as the Vice UK, in which he discusses how rapid innovation in data and algorithms could deepen social inequalities.
Teaching and Learning
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.
Digital society, data & AI, and social networks in the "digital age"
- Young people and online social networks
- Impact of technology, data, and algorithms on society and inequalities (especially Minoritised Ethnic communities)
- Inclusive, sustainable, and fair AI and data-driven innovation (e.g. algorithmic decision-making)
- Relationship between technology and social inclusion, equality, and wellbeing
- Innovation, data, and AI for social good
Social Data Science
- Social data science methods, "big data" analytics, automation and APIs (particularly in R)
- Social Network Analysis and network visualisations
- Participatory approaches to AI and data design and development
- EPSRC Standard Grant, Multilayer Algorithmics to Leverage Graph Structure (MultilayerALGS), Co-Investigator, with Meeks K. (co-PI), Enright J. (co-PI), Lee D. and Guo H. (£766,000) https://gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/T004878/1
- 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, Principal Investigator, with Inge Sorensen (Co-I) and Bishakha Chaudhury (project support), with a range of public and voluntary sector partners (£5,000)
- ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021, "SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement and Sensing & 5G Technology for Net Zero" (£1,000)
- ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Grant, Social and Digital Change Group, Knowledge Exchange Associate Stream - to promote industry engagment and knowledge exchange in the Social and Digital Change Group
- 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 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 2020-21 (£1,470); 18-19 (£780); 17-18 (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, £1,700)
- UofG College Dean of Learning and Teaching Fund, Improving Feedback in Active Learning Using a Web App "UniCom", College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow
PGT in Urban Studies (including Public Policy, Housing Studies, and Real Estate and Regeneration); UG Social and Public Policy
Topics interested to supervise include:
- Young people and online social networks
- 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
- Youth policies, welfare, wellbeing (particularly in Hong Kong and UK/Scotland)
PGR students currently supervising:
Teaching Excellence Award 2020, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
- 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)