SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

MSc and PhD study

Postgraduate study at SPRU provides aspiring professionals with the knowledge and skills to analyse and guide policy, and manage scientific change and technological innovation within public-sector organisations, non-governmental organisations and companies. It is also an outstanding foundation for a career in academia.

SPRU Study Brochure

English, Spanish and Chinese versions of our Study Brochure are available for download. Our Study Brochure provides a comprehensive overview of SPRU, our courses, and expertise.

  SPRU English teaching brochure front cover                  SPRU Chinese teaching brochure front cover                   SPRU Spanish teaching brochure front cover

Study at a leading institution

SPRU is internationally recognised as a leading interdisciplinary research centres in the field of science and technology policy and management. We generate new ideas through problem-orientated research, inspiring teaching, and creative engagement with decision makers across government, business and civil society. SPRU provides an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment for postgraduate study and is the largest academic body in the world studying science, technology and innovation. [See Key Facts]

Help shape the future

Our postgraduate level courses provide aspiring professionals with the knowledge and skills to analyse and guide policy and managing scientific change and technological innovation within public-sector organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and companies. With our courses you will be in a great position to help to shape the future. [see Careers / Profile: A career in Science Policy]  

Experience a truly multidisciplinary research environment

SPRU courses attract students from a wide range of backgrounds, in line with our inter-disciplinary approach, so previous study in a related field is not alwaysessential. Our emphasis on problem-led academic study has created a unique SPRU style, consisting of inter and intra disciplinary study, strong empirical research, and an emphasis on developing new analytical tools, theoretical frameworks and policy approaches. [See Research - Research Highlights under each theme]

A variety of opportunities for learning and engaging

We encourage interaction, collaboration and creativity. Working closely with our academics, you will have the opportunity to learn and contribute directly to SPRU research as part of your training, and to tailor your studies in line with your interests. With two weekly seminar series, you can broaden your knowledge and participate in lively discussions and present your own research. This year, our current Masters students established their own blog. [See Seminar listings] 

Access to an extensive range of expertise

Our academics are world-class researchers in their respected fields of study who pioneer new understandings and approaches in the governance of science, technology and innovation. SPRU is committed to engagement and generating impact. We pride ourselves on working closely with a wide range of organisations to ensure our research benefits and enriches society, and influences policy and practice at international, national and regional levels. [See our Impact case studies]

Work Experience

Through our extensive networks we provide opportunities for research in science, technology and innovation policy institutions, firms, governmental departments, or not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations. [See Employer Endorsements]

Introductory videos

Find out more about postgraduate study at SPRU, with short videos from:

Director of SPRU

Introduction to the Science Policy Research Unit (Johan Schot, Professor in the History of Technology and Sustainability Transitions Studies)

Course convenors and tutors

MSc in Strategic Innovation Management (Joe Tidd, Professor of Science and Technology Policy)

MSc in Science and Technology Policy (Joanna Chataway, Professor of Science and Technology Policy)

MSc in Project Management (David Pontin, Teaching Fellow in Project Management with Innovation and Strategy) 


PhD research studies at SPRU (David Eggleton, PhD Student)

Key Facts

  • University of Sussex ranked number one in the top 100 universities in the world for development studies in the QS University World Rankings by Subject 2017, above Harvard (2), Oxford (3) and Cambridge (4). The ranking includes our MSc in Sustainable Development.
  • The 'Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2016' places SPRU 1st in the UK in its listing of Science and Technology think tanks, 7th globally.
  • A 2012 study published in the journal 'Research Policy' ranked SPRU second only to Harvard University in terms of its research impact in innovation studies.
  • Founded in 1966 by Christopher Freeman, a pioneer of what is now known as innovation studies, SPRU was one of the first interdisciplinary research centres in the field of science and technology policy and management.
  • SPRU’s MSc in Science and Technology Policy is the world’s longest-established and most comprehensive introduction to this important field. 
  • All SPRU Masters courses are recognised as providing research training that meets ESRC requirements, and so eligible applicants wishing to take a one year Masters followed by a three year PhD (1+3) may apply for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship.

SPRU’s Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Challenge

Our Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Challenge provides Masters and PhD students with the opportunity to develop novel science, technology and innovation policy ideas and then compete for a prize for the idea with the most transformative potential.

You can work either individually or in a small team, and will receive training on how to give an engaging and effective presentation before pitching your idea to a panel of experts and a live audience at the end of the student year. You will gain key transferable skills in communication and critical thinking as well as exposure to high-level industry experts.

This is an extra-curricular and voluntary initiative designed to complement and enrich your academic studies by providing the opportunity to apply, test and extend knowledge gained from the course whilst also exploring possible essay and dissertation topics.