Two fully-funded PhD studentships available in the field of regional and labour economics

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City-REDI is embarking on the development of a set of analytical tools to assist stakeholders in the West Midlands region to address significant policy challenges over the next several decades. We have two fully-funded PhD studentships (3 years full-time equivalent) to support City-REDI quantitative research team led by Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés under the topics of regional economic systems and microdata analysis.

The scholarships are available to candidates of the highest academic calibre who wish to conduct a doctoral level study on a topic within the research areas of regional and urban economics in the Birmingham Business School. The Scholarships are the equivalent of an ESRC studentship and cover home/EU fees (£4,260 p.a.) plus a living allowance of £14,777 per annum for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. For applicants outside the EU the scholarship covers fees and funding of £17,520 p.a.

Doctoral researchers should be capable of analysing a range of data using a range of quantitative techniques. They will be able to explain theories underlying different approaches to social science research. Doctoral researchers are expected to participate fully in the life of City-REDI, the Business School and more broadly across the University, attending academic and policy seminars, conferences and associated activities in order to gain exposure to new ideas emanating from outside their own area of specialisation.

Doctoral researchers may choose to become academics, work in Government, consultancy companies, businesses or supranational organisations. They are expected to achieve a substantial understanding of regional and national policy development enabling them to take a lead in ongoing debates within society. They will be aware of and understand the function of related institutions at sub-national, national and international levels.

The Birmingham Business School has been placed 17 out of 101 business schools in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, according to the Association of Business Schools. 68 percent of our research activity was judged to be ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) according to the national REF results. This ranking puts us ahead of Aston, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Oxford and a range of other UK Schools.

City-REDI is offering two PhD positions in the field of regional and labour economics.

We are looking for two candidates with a research master degree in (international) economics, (international) business, labour economics, regional science or economic geography with a substantial knowledge of applied econometrics methods. Alternatively, students with a strong background in applied econometrics combined with a demonstrated interest in economics, geography and/or business are welcome to apply. Candidates should have some proven experience of working with official data and standard statistical and programming languages such as STATA or R. Candidates should have excellent marks for their courses and demonstrate competency in academic writing, in such a way that their competencies can be verified via their writings. Candidates should have good communication skills and be able to co-operate in a multi-disciplinary international team. The PhD positions will focus on either:

(1) Regional economic systems

The student will make extensive use of macro and regional data with the ultimate aim of developing innovation in currently available regional and interregional economic models. Potential topics of the PhD are regional innovation systems, regional labour markets, regional entrepreneurship ecosystems, economic resilience or inclusive growth.


(2) Microdata analysis

The student will make extensive use of microdata held in the UK Data Service Secure Lab, and will look to match this to other firm/company-level datasets, including data from online sources.  Potential topics of the PhD are firm productivity, skills, taxation, automation and global competition, wage inequality.

Applications will be assessed on (a) the quality of the student’s academic achievements and preparedness for doctoral level study; (b) the quality of the research proposal; (c) the potential to contribute to cutting edge research; and  (d) the match of the proposal to areas of research strength within City-REDI and the Business School. You can find more information on how to apply for a research degree at the Birmingham Business School here. Since we are particularly keen to build on existing areas of research strength, all applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors and to discuss their proposal with them prior to online submission.

Candidates should submit their applications to Sarah Jeffery ( by the 16th May.

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