Postgraduate research opportunities

Building a framework to analyse the economic impacts of tourism economy policies in Scotland

Building and using a framework to analyse the economic impacts of policies targeted at the tourism economy in Scotland

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


1 February 2019


7 May 2019


36 months


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria

  • A good first degree (at least 2:1), preferably with an economics or similar quantitative component, either achieved or expected by Summer 2019 (for 1+3 programme) AND a high-quality taught postgraduate background in Economics (for +3 programme);
  • An interest in economic data and modelling techniques, including programming, and engaging with policy and tourism sector specialists;
  • A demonstrable aptitude to undertake research and develop into an independent researcher;
  • Other relevant experience or skills will also be considered so please highlight these in your application;
  • Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence of their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in an English speaking country).

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

This project analyses the system-wide economic impact of policies aimed at developing sustainable tourism in Scotland, one of the Scottish Government’s “growth sectors”. Past studies using economic models to assess the impact of tourism spending have often relied on disparate statistics and ‘off-the-shelf’ modelling techniques and therefore failed to fully capture the complexity of supply and demand of touristic activities.

This project reconciles definitions of tourism in the data and develops a tourism-specific large scale economic model to capture the role of tourism in Scotland’s economy. The project sheds light on the interaction between tourism and the rest of the economy, while the model’s features realistically capture current issues in tourism, specifically overtourism and tourism-specific supply constraints.

The outcomes will improve understanding of the economic characteristics of tourism in Scotland and of regional tourism in the literature. In addition, it will produce economic datasets reconciling demand-and supply-side perspectives on the sector and develop an academically novel tourism-specific treatment within an economic model of Scotland.

Developed in collaboration with - and with joint supervision from - VisitScotland, the project outputs will be of maximum relevance for the sector. This supervisory arrangement means that the project will incorporate the latest understanding of Scotland’s tourism economy, in addition to its clear academic contributions.

The academic supervisors have technical expertise in economic data, modelling and economic analysis of tourism. This ensures successful development of the student’s skills through this work, and the production of robust, transparent and academically important output.

Additionally, the team is based in the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, home of the Fraser of Allander Institute, which is a leading impartial economic research institute and has a supportive culture for policy relevant applied research, high impact dissemination channels and an international reputation in economic modelling.

Funding Details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior Economics and research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes

  • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2018/19 rate £14,777 full-time);
  • fees at the standard Home/EU rate;
  • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.


The project will be supervised by Dr Grant Allan and Dr Gioele Figus who are both members of the Department of Economics and Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde, and Raymond MacIntyre, Visit Scotland.

How to apply

Applicants register on GradHub and fill out Equal Opportunities data (this is a requirement of the application process)

Applicants complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:

  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV
  • Any other additional questions as specified by the supervising team - this should be uploaded in a standalone document with a naming convention as follows
  • *name/supervisor/institution/competition/date*

Applicants submit application through GradHub