Postgraduate research opportunities Understanding the impact of 'sense of place' in innovation spaces


Key facts

  • Opens: Wednesday 1 February 2023
  • Deadline: Friday 31 March 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend


This research explores how sense of place a distinct relationship between individual and environment is created and leveraged in innovation districts. Using a qualitative research design, the research will provide insight into the conceptualisation and production of innovation districts, as well as the lived experience of those located in and around the innovation district.
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It is expected that the candidate will have a first class Honours Degree or Master Degree (with distinction) in marketing or other appropriate business discipline. Familiarity or experience in the area of innovation, and a knowledge of qualitative research design and methodologies would be beneficial. Applicants should have strong- interpersonal skills, abilities to communicate confidently and effectively (written and oral), work independently and have a collaborative mind set.

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

Candidates for this PhD project will be selected on the basis of this information and interviews with potential supervisors.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

Innovation districts (IDs) encourage economic resilience, stability, and sustainability for companies, regions, and countries. Approximately 100 IDs exist globally, with potential for creating another 200 over the next decade. However, design, implementation, and management of IDs remains a relatively new practice area, relying on duplication of successful models e.g. 22@Barcelona. When research does focus on ID management, much is on physical, and to a lesser extent social properties of the space. What is not well understood is the relationship between person and place, specifically how a sense of place (SOP) develops. This is despite SOP having the potential to inspire innovation through creativity, collaboration, sharing, and reciprocity.

A phenomenological approach will be used to gather data from a number of IDs around Glasgow. Data will be collected from various stakeholders including those responsible for conceptualisation and design of the IDs, organisations present within the IDs, individual users of the IDs, and the community residing within and on the periphery of the IDs. Data will collected using interviews, diaries, and observations.

Understanding how SOP manifests in IDs will provide theoretical development in innovation and broader marketing/management literature. The timely nature of outputs will inform decisions for stakeholders when designing and developing future IDs, as well as when choosing to locate within IDs.

To achieve the above, the research asks:

  1. what is the interplay between sense of place and types of innovation place?
  2. what role does sense of place play in the conceptualisation and development of innovation districts?
  3. what role does sense of place play in the lived experience of innovation district users?
  4. what role does sense of place have on community engagement with innovation districts?

Further information

This scholarship is offered in conjunction with ICADE Business School/Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid – one of the University of Strathclyde’s strategic partners. The successful applicant will have an external supervisor based in Spain and will be expected to undertake a research visit, of up to 6 months, to Madrid as part of their studies. There may also be a requirement to participate in other activities relating to this valued partnership.

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Additional supervisor - Professor Carmen Martinez 

Dr Andrew Davis


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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.

To read how we process personal data, applicants can review our 'Privacy Notice for Student Applicants and Potential Applicants' on our Privacy notices' web page.


Programme: Marketing

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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Contact us

For further details, contact Dr Andrew Davis –