Leverhulme Trust Material Social Futures: PhD project call for 2019-2022

Material Social Futures logo in blue purple and red

Lancaster University’s Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Material Social Futures is a major strategic collaborative partnership between two of the university’s research institutes – the Institute for Social Futures and the Materials Science Institute. Researchers in the centre are drawn from across the university’s academic departments and form teams who examine different ways of creating more sustainable and socially beneficial futures. While developing their own disciplinary tools, Material Social Futures researchers should bring together concepts and approaches from across the social, engineering and materials sciences to help produce futures that people want and the world needs.

Critical dimensions in materials development often overlooked have included environmental impact, sustainability and particularly impacts on social behaviour and values. Critical dimensions overlooked in the social sciences include understanding of the material necessities and by-products of energy production and use. Material Social Futures brings together researchers in social futures and material science to explore the complex, multi-faceted relationship between technological-enabled and socially driven change.

The centre operates for seven years, now going into year 3, having commenced in October 2018. In all, up to 25 Scholarships are likely to be awarded. Scholarships include all fees, a full maintenance stipend for three years equivalent to EPSRC/ESRC rates, and extensive financial support for research expenses, conference attendance and other activities at standard levels with opportunities for extensive further support. The centre will also host numerous international visitors and scholars over its lifecycle and will run summer schools and public engagement events related to its research.

A call is now open (11/11/2019) for proposals for PhD projects for 2020-21.

  • A minimum of 6 PhDs to start October 2020
  • Ideally, PhDs are “paired” (1 within ISF and 1 within MSI) to explore big picture issues at the nexus of social futures and material science (Alternatively, new PhDs could link to existing topics already being supported)
  • All PhD scholarships are to be awarded competitively, with awards likely to be made by early 2020


Please provide up to a 2-page description of the potential project:

  • It must be interdisciplinary (> 2 departments)
  • Have strong evidence of co-creation
  • Please provide in the 2 pages the project, details of the supervisory team and evidence of co-creation process
  • Projects must fit with aims of Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Programme
  • See Website (http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/msf/), request grant application or discuss with principals (Harper/Short)
  • If possible, please provide CVs of potential students

The closing date is 13/12/2019; applications to l.bush@lancaster.ac.uk

Small print: The PhD scholarships are for 3 years duration, with both UK and EU candidates eligible; support includes full fees at UK/EU rates, standard maintenance stipend and enhanced personal travel budget. Further Details:

  • Payment of academic fees at standard RCUK rate for UK/EU students
  • Maintenance stipend at standard RCUK rates, currently £14,777 pa for 2018-19
  • Access to a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for reimbursement of research-related expenses including –but not limited to –conference attendance, training courses and equipment of at least £800 pa. Additional research costs (such as entailed in fieldwork) will be supported as appropriate
  • Access to a range of training and development provided by the Material Social Futures PhD Programme, host department, host faculty, the Institute for Social Futures and Lancaster University
  • The Material Social Futures PhD programme will offer internships (including international placements) in the second and or third year of training
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