SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Overview of PhD study

SPRU offers an inclusive and active academic community that embraces a broad range of research topics and methodological approaches. The multidisciplinary nature of SPRU’s research means that doctoral students have access, and contribute, to a tremendous range of expertise.

SPRU offers two courses within two subject areas: 

We offer two routes to PhD study: 

  • An integrated degree combining one of SPRU’s MSc degrees with doctoral research. The expected duration of the combined degree is about four years. 
  • A stand-alone degree of doctoral research undertaken by students whose prior research training in a relevant field has been equivalent to that provided by a SPRU Masters degree. In this case, the expected duration of the degree is three years. 

PhD Opportunities in 2018 

We offer a range of project-specific PhD positions available for September 2018 entry. These PhD positions are available on topics with specific SPRU supervisors, into which you will have independent intellectual input. 

We also have a specialised range of topics for Colombians wishing to apply for a scholarship with the Government of Colombia’s Department of Science, Technology and Innovation - Colciencias to study at doctoral research level at SPRU.

We also welcome research proposals from prospective students but encourage you to link this to individual faculty interests and get in touch with members of faculty prior to submitting your research application. 

Find out from our students what a PhD at SPRU is really like:

"Since it was founded, SPRU has been at the forefront of ground-breaking innovation studies. There is hardly any area of innovation study, policy, or related event around the globe where SPRU is not represented or its contributions not felt. The academic rigour and quality of PhD research, warmth and support from faculty, and friendly atmosphere at SPRU is next to none. For me, SPRU has lived up to its name. I am very pleased with my decision to study for my PhD at SPRU."

chux daniels profile pictureDr Chux Daniels 

Teaching Fellow in Innovation Studies at SPRU (ex-PhD student)


"I knew that SPRU was a pioneer and leader in science and technology policy research and economics of innovation before starting my PhD here. Yet, my experience has exceeded my highest expectations. As you would expect, the programme offers a solid background into essential qualitative and quantitative research methods, but beyond this, PhD students are constantly exposed to high-level original research developed by SPRU’s faculty. What is more, at SPRU you will find a spirit of collegiality from day one, and develop friendships that last well beyond your PhD years."

Ex PhD studentDr Caetano Penna
Research Fellow, Institute of Economics of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Associate Fellow at SPRU (ex-PhD student).