One fully-funded PhD studentship available for an outstanding candidate to join the ‘Realising Just Cities’ programme for Mistra Urban Futures UK, hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield.

Project description

We invite applications for an outstanding candidate to undertake a PhD on Communication, Engagement and Environmental Governance in Greater Manchester. The PhD is fully-funded by the Realising Just Cities programme and is supported by the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub. The student should be committed to the idea of transformative research, drawing on critical and pragmatist traditions to interrogate the relationship between knowledge and action and contribute to progressive urban change.

The aim is to develop an action-research PhD focused on improving city-regional communications and engagement with civil society groups and citizens, with a focus on climate change and environmental governance within Greater Manchester. Through collaborative working with Greater Manchester stakeholders, the PhD will explore and develop the communicative spaces between public policy officials and civil society in the city-region. The project will draw together interdisciplinary perspectives to apply to a live context, focusing on the balance between digital and face-to-face communications and engagement tools. The research will be linked to the refresh and development of climate change/environmental strategies in Greater Manchester up to 2020.

Programme description

The PhD is part of the Realising Just Cities programme, supported by the Mistra Urban Futures Centre. The programme seeks to determine the value of co-production between research and practice in realising just cities, through theoretical advances and practical demonstration projects.

The University of Sheffield and Mistra Urban Futures has given funding to develop a cluster of PhD studentships. Collectively, they will focus on different organisational cultures and spaces in city-regions and their role in realising just cities.

Financial information

UK and EU students will be eligible for full payment of fees and a bursary of £14,553. They will also receive a Research Support Training Grant. Additional benefits include participation in and travel to international partner cities to participate in annual conferences. All Realising Just Cities PhDs are co-
funded by the University of Sheffield and Mistra Urban Futures.


Applications are invited for a start date as soon as possible from September 2017. The PhD is offered full time; part-time requests may only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Students must have a Masters-level qualification in a relevant discipline and an undergraduate degree (minimum 2:1).

To apply, please contact Professor Beth Perry for an informal discussion and further information at

Further Information

Professor Beth Perry (lead) and Dr Aidan While are the co-supervisors of this PhD. The student will be located in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and will receive support and guidance from the Urban Institute. Professor Tim May, cluster lead, will also support learning and training from the Sheffield Methods Institute.

This PhD is also supported by the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub and sustainable communications company, Creative Concern. Regular meetings will be undertaken with the Director of Environment, Mark Atherton and Steve Connor, Chief Executive Creative Concern to support the co-design and implementation of the PhD.