Call for Applications: Fully-funded PhD Studentships for Higher Education Research


Deadline: 31 March 2020

Open to: UK/EU graduates with the required entry requirements


Partners: Coventry University, Centre for Global Learning: Education and Attainment (GLEA), United Kingdom and Aarhus University Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF) at the Danish School of Education, Denmark (Copenhagen)

Coventry University and Aarhus University have collaborated to design a joint PhD studentship programme and are inviting applications from suitably qualified UK or European graduates for three fully-funded PhD studentships for research into higher education. By engaging in research in both the United Kingdom and Denmark, the programme offers researchers the opportunity to advance their knowledge and expertise in the higher education field, whilst developing their intercultural skills and international networks and collaborations.

PhD studentship in doctoral education

  • How has doctoral education become inextricably entangled in the wider institutional context of Graduate Schools and national and global policy agendas, and how is this visible, for example, in different supervisor pedagogies in Denmark and Britain, or in the dissertation formats, writing genres and processes of PhD students?
  • What are the design challenges facing collaborative PhD programmes and the creation of mutually supportive cohorts of PhD fellows and future knowledge workers in interdisciplinary projects spanning several European countries?
  • What are the informal and extra-curricular support systems and networks that doctoral students draw on during their PhD, and how do such institutionally unrecognised and unacknowledged supports contribute to the well-being of doctoral students and to completion rates?

PhD studentship in the internationalization of higher education

  • How do different policies towards international students in Britain and Denmark affect universities’ economy, recruitment strategies, student provision and learning environments? How do these different national and institutional contexts influence teaching approaches, the learning journeys of students, and the development of mutually supportive communities of practice?
  • Do approaches to internationalization of the student body intersect with approaches to de-colonisation of the university and the curriculum? If so, how, and are initiatives coming from students, academics, or leaders?
  • What are the changing purposes of university education and research internationally in regard to, for example, European ‘knowledge economy’ strategies, the Chinese ‘one belt one road’ policy or African development goals? How does this diversity affect, for example, universities’ abilities to establish international collaborations, academics’ capacity to develop and transfer knowledge appropriate to different contexts, or expectations that early stage researchers should develop mobile careers and lives?

PhD studentship in academic wellbeing in higher education

  • What are the institutional systems in Denmark and Britain concerning wellbeing and dealing with issues around mental health, stress, work pressure, and employment uncertainty? Do they (should they) approach the needs of academics, postgraduates and undergraduates differently?
  • How do universities in Britain and Denmark translate disability policy into practice? What concepts of disability underpin institutional or disciplinary approaches to inclusivity and what systems aim to implement inclusivity for undergraduates, postgraduates, administrative staff and academics?
  • To what extent do universal design principles meet the needs of neurodiverse students, and is a universal design approach the answer to improving access and success in higher education for these students?

Funding details

  • Full tuition fees at their home institution and fee waivers at the partner institution
  • Stipend for up to 3.5 years (c.a. £15000/year) subject to satisfactory progress
  • Allowance for participating in conferences


  • The successful candidates will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills at the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development at Coventry University. At Aarhus University, they will be able to take courses at the Graduate School, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University and participate in the research activities of the Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF), the Danish School of Education (DPU) and the Centre for Educational Development and Digital Media (CUDIM)
  • The programme team offers a substantial track record in successful doctoral supervision and expertise in the thematic areas identified
  • The enrollment of three doctoral candidates offers potential for excellent peer support throughout the programme
  • Successful candidates will receive two recognized PhD qualifications, one from each institution

Entry requirements

  • A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area. The Masters must have been attained with minimum overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a minimum mark of merit level (60%)
  • Minimum English language proficiency of IELTS Academic 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, if you are an EU (non-UK) national


Informal enquiries are essential before application, please contact Prof Lynn Clouder at Coventry university and Prof Sue Wright or Assoc Prof Søren Bengtsen at Aarhus University to discuss this opportunity.

How to apply

All applications require a research proposal of 3000 words setting out the issue for study, how the study draws on existing knowledge, and the proposed sites and methods for generating new knowledge. Other supporting documentation includes a CV and a personal statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Apply to Coventry University