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PhD in Sustainable Place-Making at the Sustainable Places University Research Institute: Sustainable Communities and Alternative Finance (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R2301
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU tuition fees plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Project title: Building sustainable communities through innovative forms of community and place-based financial arrangements

This theme will build upon research programmes currently progressing with PLACE and its partners of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and the Canal and River Trust.

Sustainable Places Research Institute

The doctoral academic supervisory team is comprised of affiliates of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE). PLACE combines expertise in planning and urban design, energy systems, rural and urban communities, ecosystems, infrastructure, health, and decision-making which addresses the management and policy needs for integrated place-based solutions. It operates as a scientific 'meeting place' in research and training between the Schools of Social Sciences, Planning and Geography, Medicine, Earth and Biological Sciences, Law, Architecture, Psychology, Engineering, and Business.

Based in PLACE, the doctoral student will be supported in adopting an interdisciplinary research approach, with the aim of enhancing knowledge and understanding as to the role of alternative community finance systems in strengthening rural community resilience. Involving both primary and secondary methods of data collection, the study will include critical analysis of alternative finance systems (including one or more of: crowd funding, local currencies, LETS, time-banking (etc)) as both a form of, and facilitator of, social innovation at the community level. Incorporated within this will be questions surrounding the role of alternative finance systems in i) strengthening local economies, ii) supporting the safeguarding of cultural and environmental assets, and iii) bridging divides between communities of interest and communities of place. Also of central interest to the study will be the role of institutional partners in creating opportunities for (or overcoming barriers to) the scaling-up and scaling-out of alternative financial systems across a range of geographical spaces and scales.

Supervisors: Professor Terry Marsden, Director, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University, and Dr Alex Franklin, Research Fellow, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University

Start date: The successful applicant can start in either October 2014 or January 2015 subject to negotiation.

Number of Studentships: 1


This studentship consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,863 p.a. for 2014/15, updated each year).


Residency: The PhD studentship position is only open to applicants who satisfy the home fee status. For information on fee status please visit the UKCISA website.

Academic criteria: Successful applicants are likely to have a very good first degree (a first or upper second class BA or BSc Honours or equivalent), and an appropriate Masters degree in a relevant subject(Social sciences; Environmental Studies; Sustainable development),with an average mark of at least 65.

How to Apply

Consideration is automatic on applying for PhD in City & Regional Planning, with a start date of October 2014 via Cardiff University's Online Application Service. In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from Sustainable Places University Research Institute.

When submitting your application, please include a 1000 Word Research Proposal – the proposal should provide details of the academic rationale for the research and the proposed research strategy. We suggest that you use the following four headings in your research proposal:

  • Aims and purpose of the research;
  • Overview of the academic literature relevant to your field;
  • Proposed methodology;
  • Academic contributions of your research

The deadline for applications is 21 July 2014.

Cardiff University reserves the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.


Further Information

For further information or enquiries, please contact Dr Alex Franklin by email at or by telephone on +44(0)2920 879271.