Matthew Snape

Matthew Snape

Doctoral Trainee


After graduating in Law and studying International Business as a postgraduate I left the UK to explore the world. Before I left, I worked as a Volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau in my hometown for a year. My role as a Generalist Adviser was to empower people in my local community to overcome the legal and practical problems they faced. This was richly rewarding work as I was able to apply what I had learned to make a real difference to people’s lives – and not just my clients, but also those around them.

Having explored the world and immersed myself in other cultures through learning and teaching languages, I returned to the UK to study Marine Science as a mature student. I wanted to understand the world I had explored from a scientific standpoint. Through studying human-environmental interactions I became interested in a special type of complex social problem called ‘wicked’ problems. My bachelors degree dissertation explored young people’s values around the long-term problem of microplastic contamination of the marine environment as an example of a such a problem.

I am interested in co-developing sustainable and resilient processes that enable communities to address the problems they face. There is enormous potential for technology to facilitate these processes. I joined the Digital Civics PhD program to learn about the technology that is now available and to explore how I can harness this to develop tools that empower communities to overcome the challenges they face. I’m excited about working with the researchers at Open Lab and the communities in which the university is embedded as my research interests crystalise into a PhD project. Ultimately, I want to make a difference through my research.