Postgraduate research opportunities Frugal innovation for Sustainable & Resilient Energy Resource Optimization: Mitigating the Energy Crisis


Key facts

  • Opens: Tuesday 17 January 2023
  • Deadline: Friday 31 March 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


This project investigates the interrelationships between frugal innovation, sustainability and circular operations for sustainable and resilient energy use in developed economies. A qualitative research design will be executed to deepen understandings of adoption and diffusion of frugal innovation, focusing on connections with circularity, in the context of the UK food and hospitality sector. This is intended to scale up the adoption of frugal innovation for resource-sensitive energy use.
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It is expected that the candidate will have a first class Honours Degree or Master Degree (with distinction) in marketing and /or science or engineering discipline and be familiar with innovation management practices and processes in their area. Knowledge of qualitative research design and methodologies is essential. Applicants should have strong- interpersonal skills, abilities to communicate confidently and effectively (written and oral), work independently and have a collaborative mind set. Strong English proficiency is imperative.

Candidates should possess a first-class or upper second-class UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant business, law, policy or social science related subject. A Masters degree, or overseas equivalent, is also desired, although there are often exceptions.

Strathclyde Business School is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive postgraduate research population. We make decisions on entry by assessing the whole person and not relying solely on academic achievements. On that basis, please ensure that your application (via your CV and covering letter) can evidence your resourcefulness, commitment and resilience as demonstrated by broader professional and life experiences. This evidence should be centred on your ability to undertake and complete a PhD and contribute to a positive PhD community. If English isn't your first language, you'll need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent with no individual element below 5.5.

Your application must include:

  • A cover letter presenting your academic path, motivation for doing a PhD and fit with the advertised research project
  • An updated curriculum vitae
  • Details of two academic referees, including email addresses
  • Academic transcripts, which must be certified copies
THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

Unlike traditional resource-intensive innovation, frugal innovation facilitates transformation in environments where resource shortage typically deters innovation. Traditionally focused on emerging markets, this is now a global phenomenon as organisations face significant challenges to innovate. Adopting frugal innovation is now an imperative to maintain competitive advantage. Frugal innovation capability may be a higher order strategic capability as organisations strive to increase affordability and sustainability as well as impact economic growth and benefit civic society. The study aims to explore relationships between frugal innovation adoption, sustainability practices and circular operations in the UK food and hospitality sector.

The study rationale is twofold: (1) to address the fragmentation of frugal innovation research and deepen understanding across lenses of conceptualisation, development and diffusion; (2) to explore connections with frugal innovation, sustainability and circularity, essential to scale up the strategic adoption of frugal innovation. 

A qualitative research design enables exploration of the scope, antecedents, enablers, barriers and emerging areas of application and adoption of frugal innovation. The current energy crisis will be the backdrop to this study, exploring how organisations adjust to the crisis, where a dramatic rise in electricity and gas prices necessitate sustainable energy. This is particularly problematic for SMEs in food and hospitality, many of whom continue to recover from the pandemic and struggle to survive the added pressure of unprecedented energy costs.

Accordingly, the aim of this study is to investigate the inter relationships between frugal innovation, sustainability and circular operations for sustainable and resilient energy use in developed economies. The following research questions will be addressed:

  1. How does frugal innovation manifest in developed economies?
  2. To what extent does this facilitate a circular approach?
  3. What is the capacity for fugal innovation to establish sustainable and resilient energy systems in developed economies?

Further information

This PhD opportunity forms part of a wider Innovation cluster within the Department of Marketing and will give the student the opportunity to work within a vibrant network of academics and practitioners. The PhD supervision will be undertaken by two experts in the fields of innovation and supply chain management.

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Funding details

Fully-funded scholarship for 3 years covers all university tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend for UK students. International students are also eligible for the scholarship, but they would need to find other funding sources to cover the university tuition fee difference between the Home rate and the International rate. Exceptional international candidates may be provided funding for this difference.

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Dr Natalie Mcdougall


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Professor Beverly Wagner

Head Of Department

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Number of places: 1

There will be a shortlisting and interview process.

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Programme: Marketing

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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Contact us

For further details contact Dr Natalie McDougall –