Dr Charles Knight

Digital Economy Expert

Associate Director (Learning & Teaching, Student Experience)



  • BA (Hons) Business Enterprise
  • PGCE Business and Economic Education
  • MSc Information Management
  • PhD Information Management


  • Digital Economy
  • Mobility
  • Social Media
  • Counterfeiting


  • Strategy
  • Success in the Digital Economy
  • Project Management


I am the Associate Director for Student Experience. In simple terms this means I spend my time trying to think of how to empower staff to give the student community the best possible educational and development experience we can provide. I also co-ordinate our work around TEF and similar teaching related activities.

I undertake research and consultancy into the digital economy with an emphasis on how organisations and individuals can and will adapt to disruption to existing business models and the transition from physical to digital goods and services. For example, I have recently completed the data collection for a project looking at how the piracy of academic papers is impacting the traditional scholarly press. Similarly,  I am also currently looking at how management by algorithm is transforming the relationship between workers, employees and employers.

As a side-project, I have recently undertaken some research looking at the overlap between social media and the counterfeiting and sales of high end Swiss luxury watches.

I blog at my own website which you can find here about both my research and teaching.

I was shorted-listed in the Times Higher Education Awards (2016) in the Category of ‘Most Innovative Teacher in Higher Education’. I have won Student led teaching awards at Edge Hill in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

I am currently working with Advance HE on a project looking at what makes high impact teaching in Business and Management schools and a report will be published in Oct 2018.


Teaching Expertise

I have worked in Higher Education since 2001 and joined Edge Hill in 2011. Outside of my own teaching and the digital economy, I am interested at the sector level in how pedagogical activity can be enhanced by strong business processes, a reduction in paper-shuffling and the use of technology. This was informed by a short period of service where I conducted academic audits. With a Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF) looming, I am interesting in how organisations can enhance student experience, NSS via the development of systems and processes to enhance the student experience.

I have been nominated for a Student Led Teaching Award every year since becoming a member of staff at Edge Hill and have won in 2013 and 2015. I have consistently high student evaluations particularly around organisation and assessment.

I hold a PGCE (Business and Economic Education) and I am a fellow of the HEA.


One of my current projects is exploring how the high-end counterfeit swiss watch industry has been enabled by forums and social media leading to a raise in quality and supply. The work considers how traditional anti-counterfeiting methods are doomed to failure due to the interaction of producers and consumers online and I consider this an example of digital economy ‘backwash’. My previous work based around online culture includes a recent paper in Innovations in Education and Teaching International (written with Dr. Linda Kaye) looking at academic and student usage of twitter.

Consultancy/external work

My most recent external research project was for Superfast Lancashire exploring the impact of fibre broadband on the regional economy,  You can read the report here.

I undertake a range of consultancy work ranging from advising organisations as a critical friend to advising business start-ups as a mentor. Often, if there is something that is of research interest to me, this is done on a expenses only basis – I am particularly interested in working with small businesses that are attempting to break into the digital economy or doing interesting things with mobile technology. I work with the Merseyside Special Investment Fund as a mentor.

I have also served as a member of Ed-Excel’s strategic review board for their Business Studies A-level and I am an external examiner for Leeds University Business School.

I am also conducting work with the HEA and JISC as an advisor.

Further background

Over the last ten years, I have been involved in both ‘pure’ research projects and commercially funded work on a consultancy basis. My interest in this type of work began when I did doctoral research exploring how front-line police officers were making use of mobile technologies.

Before joining Edge Hill University Business School as a Senior Lecturer, I was employed as a researcher by the AimTech Research Group at Leeds University Business School. While at the Business School, I was involved in a range of projects around information management, the digital economy and the impact of innovative or disruptive technologies. My work there included, but was not limited to:

  • A national survey of technology usage and adoption within public safety for the National Police Improvement Agency.
  • Longitudinal research projects for a number of UK police forces looking at usability and user adoption of new technologies and changes to existing work practices. These projects highlighted the importance of supervisors and managers in the successful adoption of technology and the impact of information overload on frontline officers.
  • Working on a project looking at the development of a tool to assess the business benefits of innovative technologies within the public sector.
  • Conducting research into the adoption and use of mobile information systems as part of the national government technology project NOMAD
  • Advising the (then) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on the development and refinement of a knowledge management toolkit for use by the Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Managing a project bringing together 12 partner organisations (both public sector and commercial) to explore the complexities and benefits associated with multi-organisational information sharing.
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