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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


PhD Scholarship on China-Africa relations in transport infrastucture development and regional integration

Applications are invited for a 3.5 year doctoral scholarship to work as part of the African Governance and Space project (AFRIGOS).

Deadline for receipt of applications: Friday 19 May 2017, 5pm.

This full-time, fixed-term position is available for 3.5 years, from September 2017 to December 2020.

The scholarship is attached to the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant entitled African Governance and Space: Transport Corridors, Border Towns and Port Cities in Transition (AFRIGOS) that runs for 5 years between 2016 and 2020. AFRIGOS is led by Professor Paul Nugent and investigates the process of 'respacing' Africa, a political drive towards regional and continental integration, on the one hand, and the re-casting of Africa's engagement with the global economy, on the other. This is reflected in unprecedented levels of investment in physical and communications infrastructure, and the outsourcing of key functions of Customs, Immigration and security agencies. The principal research questions are approached through a comparative study of port cities, border towns and other strategic nodes situated along the busiest transport corridors in East, West-Central, West and Southern Africa. Further details on the project may be found here.

We are looking for someone to work specifically on Chinese infrastructural investment and trade along transport corridors, and more broadly on China-Africa and China-EU relations in the context of regional integration initiatives in Africa. The successful applicant will be expected to develop an independent research project that will connect to the larger agenda of AFRIGOS. This may involve empirical case-studies from one or more regions of Africa. Because the student will carry out much of the research in China, or with Chinese respondents in Africa, we would intend to appoint someone with a working knowledge of Mandarin or is willing to learn. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will hold a Masters degree from a relevant Social Science or Humanities discipline.

The supervision will be provided by core members of the project team, and in particular Professor Nugent, Dr. Wolfgang Zeller and Dr. José-Maria Muñoz or by other staff within the School of Social and Political Science.

Value of Award

The scholarship will pay fees over a 3.5 year period, a maintenance stipend and fieldwork expenses. The successful applicant will be expected to make some contribution to the administration of the AFRIGOS project, such as help with organising workshops/conferences and public engagement.

Application Procedure:

Applications should include:

  • a cover letter of no more than 2 pages describing the applicant’s background and expertise and outlining reasons why (s)he is interested in the project
  • a research proposal that lays out the research questions, the proposed regional focus and relevant methodologies (maximum 3,000 words, including bibliography)
  • a CV, including nationality and current country of residence
  • the names and contact details of three referees
  • a sample of written work in English, ideally a peer-reviewed publication or possibly a sample chapter from a Masters dissertation
  • academic transcripts and proof of existing qualifications

The application should be mailed to with the subject line 'AFRIGOS PhD Scholarship Application'.

Application Deadline

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 19 May 2017.

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to interview, which would take place by Skype/phone in June. Please note that candidates are required to formally apply to the PhD programme of the Centre of African Studies, School of Social and Political Science. This is a separate process from the application for the scholarship, and the award can only be made to candidates who have secured admission to the PhD. Further information on the application procedure can be found here.

Freshers 2013