PhD Innovation Placements in the Social Sciences

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.


The Grand Union DTP has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to fund PhD students wishing to undertake a placement with a business or industry partner by the end of March 2020.

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You may have an idea of a business or company you want to collaborate with to get experience of a variety of activities such as research, evaluations, project work, etc. If you would like to apply, please contact the placements officer,


The following will be considered when selecting candidates:


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


Placements must involve knowledge exchange, meaning that both parties must benefit from and be engaged in the activity (e.g. using academic skills to enhance the activities of the organization, as well as acquiring additional skills yourself), focused on carrying out identified, substantive research activity, preferably as part of a single coherent project.

Placements can be from 1 up to 3 months, and must be completed by March 2020 with UK business or industry partners. They don’t have to be directly related to your PhD topic eg. the placement could involve you using skills developed during your PhD.

Funding will be provided 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.  


Funding for these placements is open to current students or recently completed PhD graduates (within one year of award) of Brunel University London, The Open University and the University of Oxford, whether ESRC or non-ESRC funded; and to current ESRC-funded postdoctoral fellows from these universities.  

If you require more information about the scheme, please contact the Postgraduate Placements Officer at

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