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2 PhD Studentship Positions - Leverhulme Research Grant - September 2021 Start - "Ageing in Place in Cities"

The University of Manchester - School of Social Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: The package would be around £22,000 per annum.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th November 2020
Closes: 5th February 2021

Project: Ageing in place in cities

Starting in September 2021, two full-time PhD positions (3 years) are available as part of the following research programme: “Urbanisation and population ageing: Interdisciplinary perspectives on ageing in place in cities” under leadership of Dr. Tine Buffel on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Research

The PhD students will be part of a team carrying out the research programme “Urbanisation and population ageing: Interdisciplinary perspectives on ageing in place in cities” led by Dr. Tine Buffel. The aim of this project is to develop an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding how urban environments can adapt to meet the needs of a growing and increasingly diverse ageing population. To do this the research will conduct a systematic examination of the processes and policy initiatives that shape the experience of ‘ageing in place’ for heterogeneous older populations in seven contrasting cities across the world (Akita [Japan], Bilbao [Spain], Brno [Czech Republic], Brussels [Belgium], Manchester [UK], Quebec [Canada]. The research will apply a mixed-methods approach drawing upon an interdisciplinary, cross-national comparative framework. In addition, the programme will develop cutting edge ‘co-production’ methods to reach out beyond academia, and to co-produce knowledge and tools in order to enhance policy and public debate in this area. The programme will transform current research on the relationship between ageing and urbanisation by addressing four objectives:

  • Integrate interdisciplinary perspectives and empirical evidence in order to develop a new theoretical understanding of ageing in cities
  • Examine patterns of population ageing across seven case study cities and explore similarities and differences in the ways in which cities have responded to demographic change
  • Investigate the experience of ‘ageing in place’ among diverse populations (long-term residents, ageing migrants, gender, class) living in neighbourhoods undergoing demographic and urban change in diverse city contexts
  • Develop a theoretical framework for assessing and evaluating age-friendly initiatives

Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group

Both PhD students will be part of the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG) led by Tine Buffel. MUARG brings together researchers from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds and is committed working with national, regional and local government, third sector organisations, NGOs, and older people, to promote ‘age-friendly’ urban environments. The successful PhD candidates will be expected to contribute and support the development this dynamic research group. The student will also undertake collaborative work with other team members.

Essential attributes

  • Available to ‘home’ tuition fee paying students only.
  • Applicants are expected to have a First Class or Upper Second Class Bachelor Honors UK degree and/or a Master’s degree (minimum merit, with a minimum overall average of 65%, including 65% in dissertation and no mark below 55%) in sociology, anthropology, political sciences, geography, urban studies or any other closely related subject
  • Experience, knowledge about, or strong interest in ageing and age-friendly issues and urban developments
  • Excellent analytical, oral and writing skills
  • Skills in both quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, demonstrating an ability to deal with a wide range of people and stakeholder groups
  • Good time management skills and ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • Creative, outcome-focused and a sense of initiative
  • Willingness to conduct cross-national research and travel internationally

Desirable attributes

  • An understanding of empirical research relating to ageing in cities, as well as the theoretical underpinnings of that research and associated age-friendly policy developments
  • Any peer-reviewed publications will be considered an advantage
  • The applicant should be fully proficient in English. Proficiency in any of the following languages will be considered an advantage: French, Spanish, Japanese, Norwegian, Czech.

The successful candidate will be required to submit a full University of Manchester PhD in Sociology application to fulfil admissions requirements. In addition to the materials requested as part of the regular admissions process, candidates must submit a letter (max 3 pages) outlining: (1) their interest in the research topic of the project; (2) previous relevant research or work experience; (3) links between their PhD proposal and the main research agenda of the project; and (4) their overall suitability for the studentship within the framework of the project. 

Further details on eligibility and on the application procedure are available here.

Potential applicants who meet the eligibility criteria are welcome to contact Dr. Tine Buffel on for more information ahead of the official closing date. Please include

Leverhulme Research Grant: PhD Studentship” in the subject line of your enquiry email.


Full tuition fees, a maintenance stipend, a training allowance up to £4,500 per PhD student, and specialist course fees

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