Scholarship for a PhD in Development Studies

18 December 2015

A PhD Scholarship (fee only) is being made available for a student whose research interests respond to one or more of IDS' three main strategic aims- reducing inequalities, accelerating sustainability and building inclusive and secure societies.

Photo by Chris Noble

Our Doctoral Research Programme

Doctoral Research is a vital part of IDS, with about 40 PhD students at any time exploring a range of topics in Asia, Africa, the Balkans, Latin America and the Middle East. Students work under the supervision of two Research Fellows and have access to the thriving community of research centres, knowledge programmes, postgraduate courses, training, lectures and seminars in the Institute as well as the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex and the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS), Europe’s most comprehensive research collection on economic and social change in developing countries. PhD students are formally affiliated with at least one research and knowledge cluster, have a shared work and social space and are actively engaged as full members of the Institute.

Engaged Excellence for Global Development

Research is driven by the academic and policy-oriented activities of individual researchers which is shaped by IDS’ unique ‘engaged excellence’ approach which underpins our five year strategy, and means working in partnership with those at the heart of the change we wish to see, including policymakers, civil society, activists and practitioners, to produce and mobilise rigorous and operationally relevant research and evidence.

In line with our new strategy, IDS is looking for PhD students interested in working on projects that respond to the following global challenges and their intersections:

  • Reducing inequalities including economic, social and political inequalities that intersect and threaten to undermine future progress in reducing poverty, and ensure that the benefits of global economic growth more evenly contribute to the improved livelihoods and wellbeing of communities everywhere.
  • Accelerating sustainability to meet the urgent challenges of environmental and climate change by restructuring economies and societies and finding development pathways that address global demand for resources while securing local livelihoods and justice in an increasingly pressurised and urbanised world.
  • Building inclusive, secure societies where citizens are protected against threats from conflict as well as environmental, economic, political and social shocks, and feel that they have a stake in the governance of the communities which they live.

We would expect students to develop their own focused project that relates to one or more of these challenges or their intersections, and that would involve original empirical research or fieldwork whichcould be in one country or combine multiple sites. 

We are also interested in hearing from students who are working on projects that examine the way in which development is being framed as universal, progressive change for all – not just for those living in poorer countries.

Entry Requirements

A Masters degree in any relevant social science. In exceptional circumstances, candidates with other backgrounds may be considered.

The minimum acceptable level of English language competence is grade 7 overall, and no less than 6.5 in each section of the IELTS test. Applicants must submit an outline research proposal of three to four pages indicating the nature, ambitions and primary questions of the project.


  • Qualification type: PhD
  • Location: Brighton
  • Funding for: Fee only
  • Funding amount: EU or Overseas Fee
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Placed on: 1 December 2015
  • Closes: 31 March 2016 


This PhD Scholarship is open to all applicants (UK, EU or Overseas Student). To discuss the application process, please contact Angela Dowman, email: or telephone +44 (0)1273 915644.