PhD studentships

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The Open University Business and Law Schools invite applications for a number of full-time funded PhD studentships beginning 1 February 2021 on ‘Responding to COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency’.

This themed call is for PhD research projects that consider the organisational and legal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the climate emergency – as urgent, complex societal problems that management, business and legal researchers can help to address. Your application should be based on one of the advertised projects.

You will join a vibrant environment of students and academics in the Faculty of Business and Law who conduct research of the highest international standard that has economic, public and social value consistent with the mission of The Open University. You will work with subject specialists and have the opportunity to develop your skills in research communication, engagement and impact.

Applicants for the PhD programme should have minimum qualifications of an upper second class honours degree 2:1 (or an equivalent) and usually a specialist masters in a subject relevant to the intended study with a strong research element.


PhD studentships are based on full-time study for three years at the Milton Keynes campus. Students are normally expected to live within commuting distance of Milton Keynes.

Studentships cover tuition fees, a generous research training support grant and a stipend (circa £15,285 per annum) for 36 months.

Department of Accounting and Finance (DAF)

DAF01 New frontiers on the rise: Dynamics and trends in the renewable energy sector in Africa

Department of People and Organisations (DPO)

DPO01 Democratic practice to address the climate crisis

DPO02 Materialistic approaches to organisation and the natural environment

DPO03 Gender, ethnicity and class inequalities in COVID-19 work lives

DPO04 Manager's lived experience of uncertainty in the aftermath of a Pandemic

DPO05 Workers' inquiry in the time of a pandemic

Department of Strategy and Marketing (DSM)

DMS01 Consumer response to green advertising

DSM02 Servicescape: people-place relationship after COVID-19

Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise (PuLSE)

PuLSE01 Collaboration and civil society post COVID-19

Department of Policing Organisation and Practice

POL01 Policing decision making in the uncertainties of a National emergency

Law School (Law)

LAW01 Women's rights and COVID-19

​LAW02 Technology, data and the law: post-pandemic responses

How to apply

Your application must include:

  • your proposal should be at least 1,000 words and no longer than 2,000 words, which indicates your knowledge of the literature, methods and likely approach to your project of interest (guidance on how to write your research proposal)
  • a covering letter indicating your suitability for the project
  • a fully completed application form
  • copies of degree certificates and transcripts relevant to your application

If your first language is not English, you will need to verify your competence in the English Language in all four elements (reading, writing, listening and speaking). The University requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any of the four categories (or approved equivalent). You should have your level of proficiency certified through a provider approved by UK Visas and Immigration and provide your certificate and grade with your application.

The closing date for applications is 12pm (noon) GMT on Monday 7 September 2020. Your proposal, covering letter, fully completed application form and copies of certificates and transcripts, should be emailed by the closing time and date.

Interviews will form part of the selection process and will be held in September 2020 either in person or remotely via videoconference. PhD candidates are expected to give a 10 minute presentation about their proposal, followed by a question and answer session.

We also welcome full-time and part-time self-funded applications in topics in business and management, dependent on supervision availability.

Further information

If you have any questions regarding our PhD studentships or about studying with The Open University Business School please contact us.