PhD Studentship: 'Understanding and Improving Research Capacity in the Global South'

The Open University - Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS)

Robert Beevers Memorial Studentship, with Christian Aid and The Open University are co-funding this PhD studentship, which is available to an OU graduate. It has been co-created between the Centre for Excellence in Research, Evidence and Learning at Christian Aid and The Open University to explore what it means to understand and improve research capacity in the global South. The idea of building research capacity has become popular with research funders in the UK as a key element of research into ‘development challenges’.  However, there is limited analysis of what is understood in by ‘research capacity’, and within this field there is an implicit set of assumptions which suggest that such capacity will be built through knowledge transfer from global North to global South. This studentship will support research that takes a critical perspective on research capacity strengthening. By comparing the research and knowledge ecosystems of two contrasting countries, it will examine questions such as who produces and uses research, what role is played by civil society nationally and internationally, what networks are created and how research capacity is understood and developed – contributing to enhancing both theory and practice in research capacity development.

The doctoral student will be based at The Open University in Milton Keynes in Development Policy and Practice (DPP) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Students will benefit from a rich and diverse research environment encompassing the social, economic, political and technological aspects of international development and inclusive innovation. Christian Aid will facilitate office space as required and links to its offices in the global South, as well as the possibility of an internship.

For pre-submission enquiries, prospective applicants may write to Dr Jude Fransman (

Applying for the studentship

The studentship is for 3 years full-time (fully funded) and only open to an Open University Graduate.

Closing date:  noon 7th May 2018.  Interviews are expected to take place May/June 2018.

Application forms are available from

For detailed information and how to apply please click the apply button below.

Please see the links below for the full criteria for eligibility and funding support.

Completed application forms, together with a Research Proposal and a covering letter indicating your suitability and reasons for applying must be sent to

Equal Opportunity is University policy

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South East England