Prestigious fellowship for Essex professor

  • Date

    Tue 17 Dec 19

Elisabeth Kelan

An Essex academic has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship to investigate how new technology is changing the world of work and whether it will lead to greater gender inclusion or exclusion.

Elisabeth Kelan, a professor of leadership and organisation at Essex Business School, is one of  34 academics across the country to be awarded funding from the Leverhulme Trust. She'll receive nearly £190,000.

The Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship is widely regarded as the most prestigious personal research award in the UK. It is awarded to support well-established academics in the humanities and social sciences to focus, for up to three years , on a specific piece of significant, original research. 

Professor Kelan’s project, ‘Shaping the Future of Work - Digitalisation and Gender’ will look at the impact of automation processes, artificial intelligence and other new technologies on the way we work. The digital transformation holds the promise of greater gender inclusion, but it also poses the risk of new forms of exclusion. 

“For example, while one company is developing a robot programmed to carry out unbiased job interviews, another has had to abandon its use of machine learning to review job applications, because it was found to be biased. 

“I am extremely grateful to the Leverhulme Trust to allow me to explore the topic of gender and digitalisation at work at such a pivotal moment. The fellowship is testament to the incredible research support and culture at Essex Business School and the University of Essex more widely.” 

The three-year fellowship will start in October 2020 and will include interviewing thought leaders, analysing popular books on the future of work, collecting case studies and extensive travel to conduct research.