School of Geography

Applications are invited for ESRC LISS DTP Collaborative CASE studentships

20 December 2017

In 2016, the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) funded the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP), led by King’s College London, in partnership with Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London.

It provides social science research students with a unique opportunity to join and develop a research community that springs from the interface between the social science disciplines with health and medicine, the natural and physical sciences, engineering, and the arts and humanities. LISS DTP's Collaborative (CASE) studentship competitions promote partnerships between social scientists at the three institutions and end-user, non-academic organisations (public or private or third sector ‘partner institutions’). A CASE studentship is a PhD studentship in which the student enhances their training by working closely with the non-academic partner in the development of their research project. They are a great way to initiate longer-term partnerships and to ensure the ‘impact’ of doctoral research.

The School of Geography at QMUL is now inviting applications for the following projects for October 2018 start:


Staying afloat? Making home and creating place on London’s canals and rivers

Project description:

The London Assembly estimates that at least 10,000 people now make their homes on London’s waterways, occupying 4000 vessels, and living at fixed points in the city (home moorers) or moving every two weeks to different locations (continuous cruisers). This phenomenon has been triggered by the escalating costs of ‘on land’ housing but also by Londoners seeking an alternative lifestyle. These waterside environments are also emerging as novel public spaces with regeneration promoting opportunities for recreation and new economic activities, especially those centred around food and the arts. Benefitting from a collaboration with the Canal & River Trust and The Geffrye Museum for the Home, this interdisciplinary project is the first detailed study of the communities living on London’s waterways. It seeks to understand how these communities form and operate and how they manage the challenges of canal boat living. The research will contribute to our theoretical understanding of home and place making and, specifically, it will generate new evidence to help the CRT and other stakeholders better understand the needs of those who make their homes on London’s canals and rivers and help inform the development of these waterway environments as sustainable and high-quality places for people and wildlife.

For further details on the project please see: ESRC CASE Studentship Staying afloat project full details [PDF 443KB]. Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Alastair Owens to discuss the details of the proposed project. 


Transmitting In/equality Across Borders: Shifting Inheritance Practices and Outcomes among Indian Migrants in London

  • Academic leadProfessor Kavita Datta, QMUL
  • Co-supervisorProfessor Alastair Owens, QMUL 
  • Partner: Dr Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust
  • Funding: LISS-DTP ESRC Collaborative Studentship, 1+3 (MRes Global Development Futures and 3-year PhD) OR 3-year PhD (if the candidate has relevant masters degree)
  • Application deadline: 23 February 2018

Project description:

Investigations of migrants’ inheritance practices and outcomes are limited in multi-disciplinary migration and inheritance studies. This omission is surprising given that more than a billion people are migrants, 244 million of whom are international migrants. Situated within conceptual and empirical lacunae, this project aims to interrogate the migration-development nexus. At its core is a concern to make visible the extent and patterns of transnational inheritance among migrant men and women, and examine how these are mediated by gender and class; interrogate the formal and informal mechanisms through which migrants’ inheritance rights are negotiated, maintained and translated and assess the extent to which inherited assets translate into economic security and productivity. Focusing on skilled and semi-skilled Indian migrants living in London, a mixed method research strategy will be deployed, entailing a questionnaire survey with migrants; qualitative interviews with migrant men and women as well as wealth and asset managers, solicitors and other financial advisors who mediate migrant inheritance, as well as an analysis of migrants’ wills. Collaborative outputs beyond the thesis will include Briefing Reports and a workshop bringing together academics, policy makers and industry practitioners.

Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Kavita Datta to discuss the details of the proposed project. 


Circuits of Global Labour Governance: Public Procurement and Labour Standards in the Global Electronics Industry

Project description:

The globalisation of supply chains has created a governance deficit concerning working conditions in the world economy. Private-sector initiatives (corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct) face limits to improving labour standards. Yet, little attention has been paid to public sector attempts to regulate working conditions in global supply chains. An EU Directive on Public Procurement, however, allows state organisations to include clauses on labour standards in procurement contracts. In this context, this project will examine socially responsible public procurement of electronics hardware - an industry mired by serious labour violations – and focuses on the state as a regulator and buyer. The research will be carried out with Electronics Watch, a non-profit, non-governmental initiative which organises public sector buyers, provides tools to create effective market demand for decent working conditions (e.g. contract clauses), and monitors working conditions to ensure compliance in factories. The project will examine: how the EU Directive is being implemented by public-sector buyers in the United Kingdom; how the governance framework impacts lead firm and supplier relationships in the sector; and the experience of public procurement regulation as an emergent new relationship between the state, public sector governance and labour conditions in globalised production networks.

In terms of research methods, the project will involve key informant interviews with one or more public procurement agencies in the United Kingdom; a mapping of the legal framework for labour standards in public procurement, and its implementation in the contracts will be conducted; key informant interviews with one of the top three electronic brand firms at its headquarter location and with the brand firm’s major suppliers in Malaysia; interviews will also be conducted with local monitoring organisations, trade unions, and workers in Malaysia; secondary data from audit and monitoring reports will be analysed to provide contextual data.

Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Adrian Smith to discuss the details of the proposed project.


To be considered for these projects, all applications must include:

These materials should be sent BOTH to liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk and the academic lead indicated for the project.

Students applying for CASE studentships must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of UK/EU residency status and academic qualifications, specifically core social science research methods training that must already have been undertaken (for +3 awards) or will be undertaken at Masters level (for 1+3 awards).

Please see the LISS DTP website for further details.