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SSPP Leverhulme Doctoral Fellowships 2020

King's College London - Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £16,777 tax-free stipend for each recipient. Up to £1,000 p.a. research allowance.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 24th March 2020
Closes: 27th April 2020

Following an award from the Leverhulme Trust, a major new Doctoral Programme will bring 15 new Doctoral Scholars to the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP) at King’s College London.

Award details

Following an award from the Leverhulme Trust, a major new Doctoral Programme will bring 15 new Doctoral Scholars to the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP) at King’s College London under the research title: ‘Interrogating Visions of a Post-Western World: Interdisciplinary and Interregional Perspectives’.

Recruitment of PhD scholars is taking place over three years. The first five began in September 2018. A further four commenced their studies in September 2019 and the final six will begin in September 2020. A limited number of 6-month postdoctoral fellowships will be available to a select portion of those finishing their PhDs and it is hoped that the best PhDs will be published as monographs in a special series.


The declining influence of ‘the West’ in comparison to the rising power of Asia is expected to have a profound impact on almost every aspect of global politics in the twenty-first century. Yet existing attempts to understand the likely consequences of this epochal shift have suffered from politicisation, parochialism, societal angst and simplistic dichotomies about the differences between East and West. The Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy (SSPP) at King’s College London will create the first ever interdisciplinary and interregional doctoral programme to interrogate contending visions of a ‘post-Western world’ in the past, present and future.

Students will be encouraged to combine historical perspectives with strategic foresight, utilise methods from the political and social sciences, security studies, international political economy and international relations theory, and pursue area-studies expertise while retaining a global perspective. Applications are encouraged from any of these disciplines.

This project consists of three themes and prospective candidates are expected to frame a project proposal under one of these:

Between utopianism and declinism: Western visions of international order, 1918-2018

Five PhD scholarships on ‘Western visions of international order’ will examine the development of aspects of Western thinking about international order over the course of the last 100 years, through to the present day. A particular focus on ideas of ‘the future’ in Western international thought will be welcome.

The view from Asia: non-Western views of a changing international landscape

Five PhD scholarships will focus on non-Western, specifically Asian, views of international affairs and world order in the contemporary world. While analysis of foreign policy and diplomacy is understood to be an important part of this theme, candidates are also encouraged to develop innovative research projects that go beyond narrowly realist or great power-centric approaches to international relations. Applications from “area studies” specialists are particularly welcome.

Co-evolution or conflict? Changing relations between East and West in the twenty-first century

Five PhD scholarships will examine various dimensions of the relationship between East and West, and their likely trajectory in the twenty-first century. Students within this theme will be encouraged to think expansively in terms of the forces acting on East-West relations, taking into consideration systemic and transnational factors in the international order. There may also be opportunities to widen the geographical scope of potential studies by looking at regions, such as parts of Africa, which have become contested spaces between East and West.

Award value

  • 6 scholarships to cover full tuition fees (3 will cover International fees and 3 will cover UK/EU fees)
  • Approx. £16,777 tax-free stipend for each recipient
  • Up to £1,000 p.a. research allowance

Eligibility criteria

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of their academic record and research potential, the originality and strength of their specific proposal (max. 3000 words), the innovation of their proposed methodology, and the fit with the overall programme theme (broadly conceived). It is expected that the doctoral programme will be highly competitive and prospective candidates will have an excellent academic record at undergraduate level, plus a Master’s degree with Distinction (or equivalent).  If successful with your funding applications, you will have to apply directly to the relevant department within King’s College London for acceptance on the PhD programme. All offers are subject to passing the university’s admissions requirements.

Application process

Applicants must complete and submit an application/proposal form to on 27 April 2020.  The form can be downloaded from this page. Successful applicants will also need to formally apply to the relevant departmental PhD programme at King's College London in due course.

Contact details

Application forms

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