SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

PhD opportunities in 2018

This is the list of SPRU faculty taking on new PhD students in 2018 - their research interests and projects.

We invite you to take a look at project-specific PhD positions available for September 2018 entry, as listed below. These PhD positions are available on topics with specific SPRU supervisors, into which you will have independent intellectual input. 

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. Please click on an individual's name to find out about their research interests. 

Allam Ahmed
Project: Knowledge management in business schools
Areas:     Evaluation of the UK economy towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy,  Knowledge management is the key for sustainable development: the role of the youth, Green Behaviour: Re-thinking policy for sustainability,  Understanding sustainable development will solve the problems of sustainable development

Saurabh Arora
Project: Sustainability by Design? Controversies and Agencies in Bioenergy and Biofuel Certification Processes 

Roberto Camerani and Daniele Rotolo
Project: Why do firm publish? Trends, incentives and strategies underlying corporate publishing

Tommaso Ciarli
Project: Innovation and Economic Development under Conflict

Nicholas Dacre
Open to proposals on areas of Digital Innovation, Digital Projects, Digital Transformation, and related aspects of Projects, Innovation Management, and Technology. Particularly interested in applicants focused on developing research on Enterprise Gamification, or broader aspects of Gamification using qualitative or mixed methods approach. 

Adrian Ely
Projects: 1) Biotechnology regulation and governance in China 2) The role of innovation in pathways towards sustainable food security

Tim Foxon and Johan Schot
Project: Transforming the energy sector by the digital revolution

Florian Kern - Open to proposals on low carbon innovation policy; governing energy transitions; politics and institutional change in sustainability transitions; political economy of energy transitions

Paula Kivimaa
Open to proposals in areas of (1) intermediary actors/processes in sustainable innovation, sociotechnical transitions and governance/policy for sustainability; (2) new business models in sustainable buildings or mobility; (3) upscaling/embedding sociotechnical and governance experiments for sustainability, and (4) policy and governance for sustainability transitions. Particularly in empirical domains of climate change, energy, transport, buildings and construction but also open to other domains.

Mari Martiskainen
Projects: 1) 
Social innovation in the energy system, 2) Transition to low carbon residential buildings, 3) Politics of grassroots innovations

Alberto Marzucchi
Project 1) Innovation barriers and failures. Outcomes, learning and coping strategies , Project 2) Green technology and firm growth

Mariana Mazzucato
Projects: Industrial Dynamics and the Economics of Innovation, Finance and InnovationMarket Creation and Mission Oriented Finance, and The Entrepreneurial State

Caitriona McLeish -
Project: Innovation and improvisation in the chemical weapons regime

Paul Nightingale
Open to proposals for PhD study in areas related to technology strategy, evaluation and design of innovation and science policies, finance, biopharmaceuticals. Particularly interested in applicants with a statistics, natural or life science background with an interest in advanced data analysis techniques.

Matias Ramirez
Projects: 1) Inclusion in emerging agricultural clusters, 2) Regional innovation and development, 3) Social networks and transitions

Karoline Rogge
Open to proposals on transformative policy mixes for sustainability transitions (particularly in energy, mobility, heat and ICT), industrial policy and governing low carbon structural change (incl. phase out policies), politics of transitions, policy making and implementation processes for transitions, policy integration and coordination challenges, and low carbon strategies of companies; open to qualitative and quantitative approaches; open to firm-level, technology-level and system-level proposals

Carlos Sato
Projects: 1) The use of projects and programmes to deliver business transformation 2) The improvement of performance of major projects managed by government 3) The use of projects and programmes to build innovation systems

Maria Savona
Project: International fragmentation of production and trade in tasks. Implications for developing economies. 

Maria Savona and Tommaso Ciarli
Project: Micro to macro models of economic growth and technical change

Josh Siepel - Open to proposals on areas of management, entrepreneurship, innovation and entrepreneurial finance and policy

Adrian Smith
Projects: 1) The grassroots appropriation of digital fabrication technologies for social purposes, 2) Hackerspaces, makerspaces and FabLabs – roles (potential and actual) in social development 3) The knowledge politics of smart urbanism: contrasting top-down ‘smart city’ initiatives with the development of smart technologies by citizens in urban neighbourhoods 

How to apply 

Please visit our postgraduate application system where you will find further information on the application procedure and can submit an application for postgraduate PhD study.


Please see Scholarships for a list funding opportunities offered by the University of Sussex. These are available on most of the above projects and awarded on a competitive basis. Please see individual grants for eligibility. Please also note that you must apply for a place on the SPRU doctoral programme and separately apply for funding before the funding deadline. Your application for funding will be considered once you are offered a place on the programme.


For all general enquiries about our research degrees please contact our Research and Enterprise team: bmec-pgr@sussex.ac.uk