Postgraduate research opportunities

PhD Studentship: Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Innovation and Regional Economic Development

The candidate will engage in an interdisciplinary study of the inter-dependencies and dynamics of entrepreneurial ecosystems and their role in supporting innovation, regional competitiveness and economic development.

Number of places



International fee, Home fee, Stipend


30 July 2019


31 August 2019


Up to 42 months from 1st October 2019


Candidates are required to have:

  • A strong interest in topics around (technology-based) entrepreneurship, innovations systems and networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional economic development.
  • Background in social science (business and management, economics, sociology or any other related discipline), engineering or science, with a first or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent and/or a Master’s degree.
  • Excellent analytical skills and a demonstrable aptitude to undertake research and develop into an independent researcher.
  • Prior knowledge in either qualitative and/or quantitative research methods and willingness to learn methodological approaches for conducting social science research as well as designing and conducting mixed method research
  • Excellent written and oral English language skills (see the application page for minimum test scores if English is not your first language).

Project Details

Entrepreneurial ecosystems are becoming a widely-used approach by policy makers to stimulate regional economic development. The concept itself follows a long history of territorial models of innovation and entrepreneurship. While there is a growing consensus on what an entrepreneurial ecosystem is, there is still a gap in the literature with regard to how different ecosystem ‘configurations’ lead to different outputs. In particular, how do ecosystems, which are inherently based on the role of ‘place’ and cross-industry fertilisation, interact with regional clusters as well as innovation ecosystems/platforms that are not geographically bound?

The specific research questions will be developed by the successful applicant and the supervisory team. Potential research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • How is the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem related to the development of the involved clusters?
  • What role does policy play in growing local innovative and entrepreneurial activity?
  • What resources do entrepreneurs rely on when growing their business and how do they engage with other ecosystem and cluster actors/resources?
  • What role do industry- or technology-specific and cross-industry fertilisation polices play in growing entrepreneurial ecosystems?
  • Which institutional factors are required to support ‘place-based’ entrepreneurial ecosystems?
  • How can the complex networks of different actors and factors in ecosystems and clusters be conceptualised and measured? Do actors change roles over time and why?

Applicants should submit a research proposal of up to 1000 words, describing the focus of their work including a background and potential contributions.

Due to the nature of this research, there will be plenty of opportunity to engage with external stakeholders, particularly in Glasgow and the newly formed Glasgow City Innovation District (GCID) and in Madrid. This PhD position is offered in partnership with ICADE Business School, Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid, Spain. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to spend six months in Madrid and will be allocated a supervisor there as well.

The successful applicant will join a vibrant research community within the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Hunter Centre is now one of the largest university-based centres of entrepreneurship in the UK and is home to a team of recognised entrepreneurial experts. It's committed to engaging in, and drawing from, world class research to inform the design and delivery of a growing portfolio of useful learning experiences offered to 'Strathclyders' (students, staff and alumni) and also the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Funding Details

One studentship covering home/EU fees and a tax-free stipend circa £15,000 per annum for up to 42 months. International applicants will need to cover the difference between Home/EU and International fees.

We also welcome self-funded or externally funded applications.

Contact us

For any questions or informal enquiries, please contact Bernd Wurth.

How to apply

We advise applications to be submitted as soon as possible as we will start conducting skype and/or face-to-face interviews for shortlisted applicants immediately.

At this stage, we are inviting applicants to apply for the position only. The successful candidate will then be asked to complete an application for PhD study at Strathclyde.

All applications should include:

  •  a covering letter (max four pages) which includes:
    • Your motivation to apply for this position
    • If you would like to be considered for the CDT funding or if you have already funding in place (self funding or external funding)
    • How your background and previous experience meet the requirements detailed above
    • A detailed description of your understanding of the topic including a short literature review as well as a particular research question you want to pursue on this topic (minimum two pages)
  • a CV and relevant qualification transcripts
  • two references (please refer to guidance on references)

 When sending the above documents please use the following file-naming convention: fullname_typeofdocument

 For example: 

  • Johnsmith_coverletter
  • Johnsmith_CV
  • Johnsmith_transcript1
  • Johnsmith_transcript2
  • Johnsmith_reference1
  • Johnsmith_reference2

Apply now by uploading your documents.