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Funded PhD studentships on responding to the health and climate emergencies

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The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and worldwide lockdowns in 2020 has added another layer of complexity to the ongoing climate crisis.

The Open University Business and Law Schools, collectively known as the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL), is currently inviting applications for a dozen funded PhD studentship projects relating to a themed call on ‘Responding to COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency’ for a February 2021 start date.

Projects focused on the pandemic and its aftermath cover a variety of topics from rethinking relations between organisations and the material/natural environment; to gender, ethnicity and class at work and social inequalities laid bare by the pandemic; and the future of work through empirical research with workers. Others focus on the lived experience of uncertainty for managers and organisations; the role of inter-organisational collaboration in rebuilding civil society; and expectations and perceptions of service providers and customers during the pandemic.

Law and order is also on the agenda as UK policing is facing a range of new and emerging operational and organisational challenges due to the pandemic, balancing public interest, hazards, staff wellbeing, politics and finances. The outbreak and resulting European-wide lockdown has had significant ramifications as well for women’s (human) rights, and for ensuring their safety, dignity and equal treatment. Technology, data, law, regulation and governance will also be put under the microscope with an eye on the pandemic’s economic, political, philosophical and cultural effects.

With the world on pause, reduced economic output has resulted in a marked improvement to the environment in many countries, showing what a greener future could look like. Three projects focus on the climate emergency, ranging from the consumer response to green advertising; to the renewable energy sector in Africa; and also exploring democratic practice as a way to engage communities and individuals in a fair transition to a green economy.

All these projects are being supervised by a range of academic experts drawn from both the Business and Law Schools.

The world has been rocked as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) health emergency with seismic effects on the economy, political landscape and wider society, with cultural norms changing dramatically in just a few months. In bringing management and legal insights to bear on the current pandemic and the ongoing climate emergency, these proposals focus on research which can empower individuals, organisations and society to influence future global development and deliver just outcomes.

I’d encourage anyone interested in pursuing a PhD to take a closer look as I’m confident that these 12 projects can lead to rigorous, exciting and relevant research.

Professor Siv Vangen
Associate Dean for Research, Enterprise and Scholarship, FBL

Visit our dedicated webpage for the full details on all 12 PhD studentships that are available in the Business and Law Schools for the February 2021 intake.