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PhD Scholarship in Accounting: Reconfiguring Institutional Investment and Corporate Governance

The University of Manchester

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,000 See advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th December 2018
Closes: 3rd May 2019

We are seeking applications from exceptional UK, EU and international students with outstanding academic backgrounds to conduct PhD research as part of the Alliance Research Grant funded projectReconfiguring institutional investment and corporate governance: standards, commercialisation, indexation and the shifting jurisdictional authority of accounting and finance professionals and professional practice.

Theme of the PhD project:

Professions and professionals play a crucial role in shaping institutions given their ability to simultaneously create, legitimise and control the knowledge and practices that govern various elements of everyday life. They are widely perceived as primary societal institutional agents who have assumed central roles in creating, disrupting and maintaining prevailing institutions. In the past decade, the accounting profession has undertaken extensive efforts to expand its jurisdictional authority into a variety of new domains linked to improved corporate governance. This attempted positioning has engendered significant competition from competing bodies of professional experts simultaneously seeking to claim exclusive rights to work in similar areas. Moreover, these attempted expansions in jurisdiction have had considerable implications for the public interest role the accounting profession purports to prioritise given the often commercially driven motivations underlying these expansionary efforts. The PhD project will build on ongoing work by Professor Chris Humphrey and Professor Brendan O’Dwyer in the Accounting and Finance Division, which seeks to significantly enhance our understanding of how the professionalisation of new fields by accounting professionals is emerging in three key areas: the development of standards in sustainability reporting and assurance; the processes through which Big 4 professional services firms are professionalising the area of human rights; and the jurisdictional power and consequences of indexation in different domains.

The PhD project will be qualitative in nature combining detailed case studies of organisations, extensive investigative work analysing official websites, publications, social media and other pertinent material, together with in-depth interviews with key actors associated with the establishment and development of standard setting in the fields of sustainability and human rights accounting.


You will be jointly supervised by Professor Chris Humphrey and Professor Brendan O’Dwyer of the Division of Accounting and Finance. The Division is one of the leading accounting and finance units in Europe with an outstanding reputation for excellence in research and a superb research track record, with staff regularly publishing in leading international academic journals.

Nature of the scholarships:

Commencing September 2019, the scholarships will be available for up to three years, with a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (approx. £15,000 per year), tuition fees (at Home and/or International level), and travel support for fieldwork and conferences.  


You must demonstrate that you are highly motivated, intellectually astute, with high-level analytical competencies, and experience of qualitative research design and application.

For entry requirements, please visit


Apply online for the full-time PhD Accounting and Finance programme, and provide:

  • A written statement clearly indicating how your research competencies and interests to date are aligned with the specific nature of the PhD projects;
  • Evidence of excellent writing skills; and
  • A research proposal indicating how you would propose to address one of three areas of investigation outlined above.

If you do not submit the required supporting documents outlined above by the deadline, your application will not be considered.

Link to Apply button -

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