Postgraduate research opportunities Two Fully Funded PhD Scholarship on Science and Innovation Policy and Management


Key facts

  • Opens: Thursday 20 May 2021
  • Deadline: Wednesday 30 June 2021
  • Number of places: 2
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend


We're looking for two funded PhD students to be part of a community of scholars and PhD students working on the social study of science, innovation and entrepreneurship.
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  • strong interest in the social study of science, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship
  • background in social science (business and management, political science, economics, sociology or any other cognate discipline) with a first or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent. We also welcome applicants with an engineering or science background, who demonstrate a strong interest in the topic.
  • excellent analytical skills and a demonstrable aptitude to undertake research and develop into an independent researcher as well as strong critical thinking skills
  • excellent written and oral English language skills (IELTS 6.5 if English is not your first language)


  • an MSc degree is not essential but highly desirable
  • advanced data analysis skills, preferably by using R, are desirable. Prior knowledge of advanced data science approaches (including but not limited to bibliometrics, patent analysis, advanced statistics, social network analysis, natural language processing and machine learning), as well as the ability to conduct research with mixed method approaches blending data science and qualitative methods, are highly desirable. However, applicants who do not have such experience are also welcome, if they can demonstrate a strong commitment to develop these skills (training will be provided).
THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

We're looking for two funded PhD students to be part of a community of scholars and PhD students working on the social study of science, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Each studentship will focus on one of the following topics:

Studentship A: Diffusion of Social Innovation

Social innovation, one of the foremost examples of new forms of innovation, is attracting increasing scholarly and policy attention. By joining this studentship, you'll hone your analysis skills while gaining insight into a fast-moving field of innovation studies. Your work will enable governments, non-profit agencies, and entrepreneurs to deliver meaningful social change through unconventional channels.

We're developing the European Social Innovation Database (ESID) by employing a machine learning and natural language processing approach, as part of an EU funded project. We're particularly interested in a PhD project investigating the factors associated with the diffusion of social innovation by using ESID, as well as a qualitative research programme involving process mining and action-oriented research.

The project will include a particular emphasis on community-building and engagement, as well as local and regional development in the Scottish, and in particular the Glaswegian, context.

Studentship B: Use of rankings to assess research performance)

The production of knowledge requires that research institutes reconsider how knowledge is produced and governed, and the channels by which this knowledge is communicated to society as a whole. Rankings of academic institutions - such as universities, departments, and academic journals - are becoming more commonplace. This has often serious, unintended and adverse effects on academic careers and on the kinds of scientific knowledge that can be produced and published.

This PhD project will study the institutional and power dynamics of rankings, the impacts of rankings on institutions, and individual scientific careers. The project will also consider alternative approaches to rankings.

By joining this studentship, you'll learn more about science and innovation policy, the production of knowledge, and developments towards open science. We're particularly interested in approaches to this topic employing insights from strategic management, organisational theory, and political science.

This project will use a vast amount of structured and unstructured data, which will require you to possess and actively cultivate data science skills as well as qualitative research skills.

The studentship will enable you to further hone your abilities in strategic thinking and analysis.

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Funding details

Funding includes the following for 36 months from 1 October 2021:

  • waiver for tuition fee at the home rate*
  • around £15,609 per annum living stipend, paid monthly
  • IT equipment
  • support for conferences and field study if applicable

*The funding covers the stipend at the home rate, not the international rate. To be classed as a home rate student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be a UK national, meeting residency requirements, or
  • have settled status in the UK, or
  • have pre-settled status, meeting residency requirements, in the UK, or
  • have indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK

Applicants who do not meet the home tuition rate criteria are still eligible to apply for the scholarships. You will receive the monthly stipend and contribution towards your tuition fee at the home tuition rate, but the difference between the international tuition rate and home tuition rate (currently £10,800 per annum) must be financed by you or your third-party sponsor.

Please indicate if you're eligible for the home tuition rate and if not, specify your additional funding source in your cover letter.

We also welcome fully self-funded or externally funded applications for additional places. Please indicate this in your cover letter.

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Dr Abdullah Gok

Chancellor'S Fellow And Senior Lecturer
Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

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Professor Scott Cunningham


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Applicants should submit the below documents:

  • CV
  • a cover letter (max 3 pages): This should include: your motivation to pursue a PhD degree; your preference between the two topics described above; your interest and understanding of the chosen topic among these two. Please also discuss how you meet the eligibility criteria listed above.
  • a research proposal is not required at this stage, but we highly recommend that you demonstrate a critical understanding of the topic in your cover letter.
  • two academic references: If you are unable to provide the letters, supply the contact details of two academic references.
  • undergraduate and Postgraduate (if applicable) degree transcripts. If you do not have the final formal transcripts yet, preliminary documents are also acceptable.
  • one piece of a substantial writing sample (e.g. an academic article, thesis, dissertation, project report or assignment).
  • if your primary language is not English, English language test results. If you do not have any test results yet, this might be evaluated at a later stage.

Please email all documentation to both and Please write the email subject as 'Application for funded PhDs 2021'.

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Earlier applications are highly encouraged as the virtual interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. Please feel free to contact the supervisors for any informal inquiries.

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Contact us

Please feel free to contact Dr Abdullah Gök,, and Professor Scott Cunningham,, for any informal inquiries.