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PhD opportunities

PhD opportunities in the Birmingham City Business School

There are currently funded PhD opportunities in the following areas. For further information, contact the named staff below.



Funded PhD Opportunities

The Business School is seeking to recruit a new cohort to undertake research in a number of key areas. The funding consists of a tax-free stipend paid monthly and has a current value of £15,609 per annum. The bursary is renewable annually for up to 36 months in total, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD research.

Successful applicants for our funded PhD studentships will receive a tax-free research stipend that tracks UK Research Council rates (currently £15,609) and a fee waiver to the value of Home student PhD fees (currently £4,500).  All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status, however only Home fees will be covered and non-Home fee status applicants will be required to meet the difference in fee costs from their own funds.

You must upload your Research Proposal to your application.  Please ensure you include the Project Number and Title on your Research Proposal and upload it in place of the Personal Statement. We are not able to consider incomplete Applications.  Details of how to apply and what is required in a Research Proposal can be found here

The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Monday 31 May 2021

If you have any queries on the application process please contact the BLSS Doctoral Research College - blssdoctoralresearchcollege@bcu.ac.uk


Title:  Understanding the neuropsychological leadership qualities associated with the BIG Ten Capabilities of SMEs’ growth

Ref Number: 16

School: Business School & Psychology Department

Supervisory Team:

  • Prof. Mark Gilman
  • Prof. Alexandros Psychogios
  • Prof. Eirini Mavritsaki

This research project will be based on the BIG Tencapabilities targeting at expanding our knowledge towards cognitive capabilities of SME leaders. Focusing on cognitive capabilities of leaders of SMEs requires us to take a multidisciplinary approach drawing on Neuro-psychology. In this respect, this study will be based on applying neuroscientific tools and techniques to investigate SME leadership. Specific biometrical tools will be used to carry out research exploring motivation and resilience of leaders. The ideal applicant student should have a good first degree in psychology/neuroscience or compatible disciplines. Understanding of data collection methods is important. Previous experience in conducting neuropsychological experiments will be highly desirable.

Business School PhD Proposal - Ref 16 CIS Bus Understanding the neuropsychological leadership qualities

Contact information:

Prof. Mark Gilman - Mark.Gilman@bcu.ac.uk

Prof. Alexandros Psychogios – Alexandros.psychogios@bcu.ac.uk

Prof. Eirini Mavritsaki - Eirini.Mavritsaki@bcu.ac.uk


Project Title: Exploring the influence of middle managers’ cognitive styles on their strategic roles’ enactment 

Ref Number: 17

School: Business School & Psychology Department

Supervisory Team:

  • Prof. Alexandros Psychogios
  • Prof. Eirini Mavritsaki
  • Dr. Panagiotis Rentzelas

This PhD study will aim to explore Middle Managers’ (MMs) strategic roles in relation to their cognitive styles (analytic-holistic) in visual attention. The main research question that will be investigated is the following: Do MMs’ holistic and analytic cognitive styles influence the way that they enact their strategic roles?  The methodology will be based on experimental design along with a series of questionnaires following previous work in the area. The ideal applicant should have a degree in Psychology and/or Business Management (or relevant). In addition, experience on quantitative data collection and analysis will be important. 

Business School PhD Proposal - Ref 17 CIS Bus Exploring the influence of middle managers’ cognitive styles

Contact information:

Prof. Alexandros Psychogios – Alexandros.psychogios@bcu.ac.uk

Prof. Eirini Mavritsaki - Eirini.Mavritsaki@bcu.ac.uk

Dr. Panagiotis Rentzelas - Panagiotis.Rentzelas@bcu.ac.uk


Project Title: Building back better through innovation: challenges of corporate decision making in times of uncertainty and crises

Ref Number: 18

School: Business School

Supervisory Team: Dr Hanna Szymborska, Dr Danilo Spinola, Dr Bruce Philp

This project aims to analyse how uncertain macroeconomic conditions shape investment strategies of non-financial corporations (NFCs) in the UK. It uses empirical analysis and Stock-Flow consistent economic models to examine how changing financial sector operations contribute to firms’ preference for financial investment over investment in production and innovation.

The theoretical framework is based on the concept of “Maximizing Shareholder Value”, understood as the need to generate returns to placate shareholders, which is necessary to maintain competitiveness and avoid hostile takeovers, leading to a short-termism mindset on NFCs decision making process, reducing incentives for R&D investments. Furthermore, in this scenario, opportunities are uneven across firms, with large multinational corporations able to capture an increasing market share, depriving their competitors of investment opportunities for innovation.

The analysed research questions are:

  • How do financial sector operations and uncertain economic conditions affect objectives and decision-making across firms of different sizes?
  • How does market concentration influence profitability and capacity for R&D investment?
  • How can economic policy effectively promote investment and innovation?

The project will provide new understanding of corporate decision-making under uncertainty, expanding research on corporate finance. It will also contribute to improving the efficacy of economic policy to better support corporations during periods of uncertainty to promote innovative investment.

The candidate should have:

  • A good bachelor degree (2.1 or equivalent);
  • Strong analytical skills (knowledge of quantitative methods is desirable);
  • Interest in applying pluralistic perspectives in economic theory and research.
  • An interest in stock-flow consistent economic modelling is desirable

It is desirable for the candidate to hold a postgraduate Masters degree in disciplines of interests (for instance: economics, political economy, finance, business studies, critical management), or a similar level of professional experience.

Business School PhD Proposal - Ref 18 CIS Bus Building back better through innovation

Contact information:

Dr Danilo Spinola

danilo.spinola@bcu.ac.uk

+44 (0)121 300 4419


Project Title: Coronavirus, financial resilience and innovation amongst ethnic SMEs in the UK

Ref Number: 19

School: Birmingham City Business School

Supervisory Team: Professor Javed Hussain, Dr Simeon Babatunde and Dr Imran Akhtar

This research investigates the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic enterprises in the West Midlands region of the UK by examining their financial resilience, innovation and the survival strategies that they employ to cope with the Covid crisis. The project will analyses the success and effectiveness of government policy and support measures to safeguard ethnic-owned businesses to aid their survival, financial sustainability and to ensure the social cohesion of the UK’s ethnic economy. The ideal applicant should have a master level degree. Understanding of qualitative data collection and use of quantitative methods is important. Previous experience of liaising with ethnic enterprises will be highly desirable.

Business School PhD Proposal: Coronavirus, financial resilience and innovation amongst ethnic SMEs in the UK

Contact information:

Professor Javed Hussain-  javed.hussain@bcu.ac.uk

Dr Simeon Babatunde -Simeon.Babatunde@bcu.ac.uk

Dr Imran Akhtar - Imran.Akhtar@bcu.ac.uk