PhD Studentship on “Technology Adoption and Organisational Change in Corporate R&D”

The University of Manchester - Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School

A full-time PhD research scholarship, including stipend and tuition fee costs, is available for September 2018. This position is an opportunity for an ambitious and engaged candidate who wishes to pursue doctoral studies in the area of digital innovation and organisational change. The scholarship is part of a major collaborative research programme between The University of Manchester and the global fast moving consumer goods company Unilever, funded under the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership Centre in Advanced Fluid Engineering for Digital Manufacturing (CAFE4DM). The position is available to applicants who meet the programme entry requirements and who have outstanding potential as a researcher in the field of innovation management or organisation studies. The studentship will cover students who are classed as Home under the EPSRC eligibility criteria.

The CAFE4DM research programme

We are embarking on an exciting academic-industry project on the digitalization of R&D and innovation processes in Unilever, the major multinational fast moving consumer goods company. The successful candidate will explore the opportunities and challenges for innovation management and organisational change posed by the adoption of digitalization and automation in the R&D and innovation process. The PhD position is part of a research programme that is developing cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary research related to the development, adoption, and diffusion of digitalized R&D and innovation processes. The research programme is focused on four inter-related areas: 1) R&D and innovation practices within Unilever and comparable companies; 2) change management programmes that promote the adoption of new digital technologies in R&D and the new product development process; 3) how digitalization can help decision making by senior management; and 4) the transfer of digitalization practices within a global company.

PhD topics

We welcome expressions of interest in research ideas that connect with one or more of the four main themes addressed by our research programme, but we also expect the candidate to have a strong interest in the general theme of innovation/R&D management and organisational change.  Whilst it is expected that the student will generate independent, in-depth analysis of their chosen theme, it is also important that the candidate is willing and able to work as part of a multidisciplinary research team comprising senior academic supervisors and a post-doctoral research associate. Our research programme has a mixed methods approach, combining detailed case studies of organisations, employee surveys, interviews with senior managers and R&D staff and ethnographic methods in a business organisational setting.  Much of the research programmes entails intensive interaction with managers at Unilever, and other organisations.  We will therefore give special consideration to candidates with an interest in engaging with management practice, and an ability to relate to managers, industrial scientists and engineers.  


The successful candidate will be located in the Manchester Institute for Innovation Research, a world leading centre for the study of science and innovation policy and management. Our 45 members of staff and 50 doctoral students build on more than five decades of interdisciplinary science, technology and innovation studies in Manchester. Our research, teaching and engagement activities are based upon a guiding principle of excellence, both in terms of academic rigour and societal relevance. The successful study will lead to the award of a PhD Business & Management at the Alliance Manchester Business School, which is regularly ranked highly by the Financial Times MBA rankings.

The studentship will start in September 2018 and is available for up to three years, with a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (approximately £15,000 per annum tax free for 2018/9, 2019/20 to be confirmed),  full university tuition fees and travel support for fieldwork and conferences (exact amounts to be confirmed). The Scholarship is only available to those who qualify as a home student under EPSRC residency requirements.  Nationals of EU countries are eligible only if they satisfy the EPSRC residential criteria: