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PhD Studentship (ESRC South Coast DTP) - Small Businesses, Place and Industrial Success

Geography & Environment

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £14553
Annual stipend of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK rate) plus payment of programme fees
Closing Date:   Wednesday 31 January 2018
Reference:  SCDTP888817WR

Small Businesses, Place and Industrial Success

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2018/19 Academic Year.

Supervisory Team:

1) Dr Darja Reuschke, Department of Geography & Environment (G&E), University of Southampton (

2) tbc

3) Prof Donald Houston, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth

Small businesses have grown in number over recent years. The UK Government seeks to better understand the changing role and potential of small businesses and how these vary between places. This research addresses this aim using secondary and/or primary quantitative and/or qualitative data to understand how and where small businesses in the UK achieve economic success, and their relationships with larger firms across space. The emphasis on productivity, growth and/or innovation will depend on the interests and knowledge of the student.

Research questions:

1. How and where do small businesses achieve productivity, growth and/or innovation?
2. In what ways, and to what extent, do small businesses benefit from agglomeration externalities, e.g. infrastructure, specialist labour and suppliers, business clusters/networks?
3. What are the two-way interdependencies between small businesses and larger firms, and how globalised or localised are these linkages in different locations?

Skills required of the PhD student:

The student would be likely to come from a geography, business or economics background. Depending on the emphasis given to particular aspects of the research questions, and the disciplinary background and interests of the student appointed, the research could comprise either an entirely quantitative approach or a mixed methods approach. Quantitative skills would include collation and manipulation of secondary data sets (business population data, supplemented by Census, Labour Force Survey and commercial property data). The research questions could be tackled through a primary survey of businesses in selected locations, and may include in-depth interviews with business owners regarding location choice and use of business networks.


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK rate), plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at

Application Procedure

The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailsed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position



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