PhD Innovation Placements

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Want to make a difference by working on today’s global challenges? Interested in getting work experience in the fields of green growth, automation, healthy aging, artificial intelligence, new models of education and many more? A PhD Innovation Placement could help with employability and give you the soft skills and networks for potential future collaborations.


What could a placement look like?

The placement does not have to be directly related to your PhD topic but needs to utilise your PhD-level skills, e.g. in research and analysis. You can contribute to an ongoing project or complete a specific distinct piece of work for the host organisation. An example might be analysing markets for particular incentives for a financial institutional, or producing a report on labour market implications of automation for a delivery company. Or it may be program development for a consultancy working on women’s rights in developing countries.

Placement requirements:

  • from 1 up to 3 months,
  • must be completed by September 2020
  • host can only be business organisations based in the UK (third sector and government are not eligible for that scheme)

Funding will be provided by the ESRC via the Grand Union DTP to support additional costs incurred related to the placement, up to a maximum of £4,000. Funding levels will take into account any financial support already in place, and may not be used to cover partner costs.  


How to apply

Is there a business or consultancy that you would like to work with? Can you think of a company your research is relevant to?

You can contact the Postgraduate Placements Officer, Dr Denitsa Filipova, to discuss potential host organisations and how to approach them before applying.

If you would like to apply, please submit an application form by 31 May 2020. The application requires a letter of support from your PhD supervisor and the potential host organisation.

The following will be considered when selecting candidates:

  • How far the placement meets the requirement for genuine research-based knowledge exchange with a UK business/industry partner
  • The likely benefit to the student’s programme of training and/or their broader development
  • Likely value for money


Who can apply

Current PhD students in the Social Sciences at Brunel University London, The Open University and the University of Oxford.

The scheme is open to both ESRC and non-ESRC funded students whose research aligns with the ESRC remit. Students that are successful in their application are generally expected to suspend their status with the university for the duration of the placement. 

Students on visas should contact their University visa office first to discuss whether undertaking a placement will be compatible with their visa requirements.

If you require more information about the scheme, please contact the Grand Union DTP Office at: