PhD opportunities in Science and Technology Policy and Innovation Management studies

We invite you to take a look at project-specific PhD positions available for September 2021 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.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Frederique Bone

    Open to proposals for doctoral studies on topics related to:

    1. Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on business practices and policies
    2. Research dynamics and evaluation
    3. Technological change in the biomedical sector.

    More about Frederique Bone.

    Simone Vannuccini

    Open to proposals for doctoral studies on topics related to:

    1. The Economics of Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, and radical/pervasive/general-purpose technologies
    2. Industrial dynamics (stylised facts, ILCs, sectoral patterns of innovation). Modelling/analytical approaches are welcome.

    More about Simone Vannuccini.

  • Creative and Digital Economy

    Roberto Camerani and Daniele Rotolo

    Project: Why do firm publish? Trends, incentives and strategies underlying corporate publishing

    More about Roberto Camerani.

    More about Daniele Rotolo.

    Josh Siepel

    Open to proposals on topics relating to entrepreneurial finance, creative industries, innovation, and STEM and creative skills, as well as policy topics relating to any of the above.

    Topics of particular interest include:

    1. Economics of awards and prizes
    2. Measurement systems and their role in innovation and the economy
    3. Access to finance in the creative industries.

    More about Josh Siepel.

  • Economics of Innovation and Industrial Policy
  • Energy

    Lucy Baker

    I am open to proposals that fit broadly within the area of the political economy of energy, the political economy of the low-carbon transition and energy geography, including, but not limited to:

    1. The political economy of electricity in low-income and middle-income countries, including sector reform and the introduction of renewable energy policies
    2. Global production networks and renewable energy technologies
    3. The role of finance in determining renewable energy pathways
    4. Alternative theoretical frameworks to understand the inequalities of energy demand and consumption e.g. systems of provision and ecologically unequal exchange.

    More about Lucy Baker.

    Marie Claire Brisbois

    More about Marie Claire Brisbois.

    Robert Byrne

    More about Robert Byrne.

    Tim Foxon

    Project: Modelling long-term techno-economic change, combining evolutionary economics and ecological economics perspectives and analysing implications for a sustainable low carbon transition.

    Project: Transforming the energy sector by the digital revolution

    More about Tim Foxon.

    Mari Martiskainen

    Open to topics related to:

    1. Just energy transitions, especially involving energy poverty, fuel poverty, and/or transport poverty
    2. Sustainable and net zero homes and buildings
    3. Climate protest and civil society action.
    More about Mari Martiskainen.

    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.

    More about Karoline Rogge.

  • Innovation and Project Management

    Gary Bell

    More about Gary Bell.

    Andrew Davies

    Open to proposals on:

    1. Managing innovation in complex products and systems
    2. Managing complex and uncertain projects (e.g. infrastructure, new product development and Big Science)
    3. History and development of innovation and project management
    4. Innovation in infrastructure and cities (including transitioning to low-carbon developments)

    More about Andrew Davies.

    Kat Lovell

    Open to proposals for research on innovation in/through infrastructure sectors. Projects could respond to:

    1. The prevalence and importance of infrastructure in technology and economic policy
    2. Infrastructure sectors as fruitful sites for studying various aspects of innovation and governance - for example these sectors can provide extreme cases of path depenency, network effects and requirements for inclusivity; they are also key settings for project based organisation of change
    3. The central role of technology in these sectors.
    More about Kat Lovell.

    Jeremy Hall

    More about Jeremy Hall.

    Michael Hopkins

    More about Michael Hopkins.

    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.

    More about Paul Nightingale.

    Carlos Sato


    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.

    Explore in more detail.

    More about Carlos Sato.

  • Science, Politics and Decision-making

    David Eggleton

    Open to proposals examining innovative organisations/projects from a variety of perspectives (including but not limited to high tech organisations, megaprojects, information systems, Big Science projects, and research infrastructure).

    Also open to proposals seeking to identify policy recommendations through project analysis and topics relating to 'research on research'.

    More about David Eggleton.

    Alex Mankoo

    More about Alex Mankoo.

  • Sustainable Development

    Saurabh Arora

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

    More about Saurabh Arora.

    Noam Bergman

    Open to proposals in areas of:

    1. Human dimensions in low carbon transitions, from how we use technology to cultural and behavioural shifts
    2. Social innovation for sustainability, including social movements, activism and local initiatives for change
    3. Tensions between the economic growth paradigm and transitioning to sustainability.

    More about Noam Bergman.

    Adrian Ely


    1. Biotechnology regulation and governance in China
    2. The role of innovation in pathways towards sustainable food security
    3. Innovation for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems in the Brighton-Lewes Downs Biosphere.

    Explore in more detail.

    More about Adrian Ely.

    Fiona Marshall

    More about Fiona Marshall.

    Katerina Psarikidou

    Katerina is open to proposals for PhDs with an interest in conducting social science research on following research areas:

    1. The politics and political economy of science, research and innovation for Sustainable Development - especially as applied to the agrifood and mobility sectors (e.g. from agrobiotech to alternative community-led knowledge practices)
    2. The sustainability and transformative innovation potential of Alternative Agro-Food Networks of production, distribution and consumption - for example research on community food innovations, local food systems, agro-ecology, food co-operatives
    3. Critical Food Security and Food Policy Studies - esp. on food justice, food poverty and inequalities, and inclusive food policies
    4. Sustainable Mobilities and Transport Research - esp. on alternative low-carbon mobility practices (e.g. cycling), as well as on transport poverty and mobility inequalities.

    More about Katerina Psarikidou.

    Matias Ramirez


    1. Inclusion in emerging agricultural clusters
    2. Regional innovation and development
    3. Social networks and transitions.

    Explore in more detail.

    More about Matias Ramirez.

    Adrian Smith

    I am open to PhD research proposals that address the politics of sustainable development through issues such as:

    1. Grassroots innovation movements
    2. Technologies in/for commons, degrowth, and development alternatives
    3. Spaces for democratising technologies and prototyping
    4. Post-automation and technopolitics.

    More about Adrian Smith.

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: