ESRC funded Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships at the Open University, UK

The Open University invites applications for full- and part-time studentships in our suite of pathways within The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership.

Unit :  Research, Enterprise and Scholarship
Please quote reference :  RES/PhD Studentships
Closing Date :  12 January, 2021 – 17:00

Open University in the UK (OUUK) - TeSLA Project

Funding information

These studentships are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grand Union Doctoral Partnership. The studentships are fully funded for 3/4 years full-time or 6/8 years part-time (depending on whether you are on a +3 or +4 route), covering tuition fees (at UK level) and providing a stipend. Details can be found here:


Requirements of candidate

You will have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. A Masters or equivalent experience is desirable. Eligibility criteria can be found here:


How to apply

If you would like to apply, follow the relevant link in the pathway descriptions below for further details about the pathway and also on how to apply. Applications must be submitted by 17:00 on 12 January 2021.

There will be a three stage process. The first step is to apply to the OU PhD programme in which you are interested, ensuring you provide all OU PhD programme application documents and a Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership application form at this stage, by the above deadline. The second stage is a pathway-specific selection process for nomination to the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership. The third stage is an open competition for funding. The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership is committed to funding the very best applicants; this will be decided at the third stage.

Interviews for the first stage (acceptance on to the relevant OU PhD programme) will be conducted from 1st to 12th February 2021

Selection for the second stage will be in week commencing 15th February 2021

Decisions at the third stage are likely to be finalised in June 2021

An application form and studentship related information are available via the links located below.


Further details and information can be found here:


Equal Opportunity is University policy


The Grand Union DTP and its pathways

The Grand Union DTP is an ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership uniting The Open University, the University of Oxford and Brunel University London.  The partnership builds on the recognised research and doctoral training strengths of all three institutions.  The DTP covers 24 subject areas (‘pathways’), themed into five broad clusters. Different pathways offer students opportunities to:

  • undertake a research Masters’ course followed by a PhD (known as ‘1+3’, ‘2+2’ or ‘2+3’ routes)
  • enter directly onto a PhD having already completed appropriate Masters-level training (‘+3’)
  • undertake doctoral study over a longer period (‘+4’) in order to gain Master-level training and skills in a flexible and personalised way, meeting individual students’ needs.

All OU pathways are available for students studying part-time as well as those studying full-time. Further details are included on the relevant pathway pages (see relevant links below).

OU Training Pathways

Pathway 1. Citizenship – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Citizenship studies is a cross-disciplinary field in which citizenship is investigated as not only a contested legal or political status, but also as field of practices through which individuals and groups (regardless of their status) struggle for, demand, or claim, rights, recognition or redistribution. The varied dimensions of citizenship (and conversely, non-citizenship), the multiple actors involved in struggles over citizenship, and the numerous sites at which these struggles take place translates to a conceptually, empirically and methodologically rich field of study and research.


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Citizenship Pathway[R1] 


Pathways 2. Development Policy and Practice – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Development Policy and Practice at the OU challenges ‘top-down’ and aid-driven development policy models and promotes research into more participatory and inclusive approaches. In particular, its approach to ‘inclusive innovation’ focuses attention on how technological, economic and social innovations in food, health and education systems and sustainable energy infrastructures can bring benefits to marginalized groups. Underpinning this pathway is a history of research at the OU on the social and economic impacts of innovation and the political dimensions of development, all with a strong orientation to policy and practice.


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Development, Policy and Practice Pathway[R2] 


Pathway 3. Geography – Lead University: Oxford; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Geography at the Open University (OU), is at the forefront of interdisciplinary research on key themes of space and power, culture and practice, and environment and politics. The discipline’s breadth of impactful research is enabled by its distinctive group of internationally renowned and award winning academics whose work has shaped key debates in the discipline through explorations of notions of space and place. Geography at the OU is highly research active. Research is conducted through the Open Space Research Centre; and is divided across three overlapping themes of space and powerculture and practice, and environment and politics. As an inherently interdisciplinary subject, the Geography pathway is uniquely placed to provide comprehensive social sciences research training to address societal and environmental problems.

For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Geography Pathway[R3] 


Pathway 4. Innovation in Learning Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Open University

Our pathway supports cutting-edge interdisciplinary research into novel uses of digital technology for learning, teaching and assessment. We specialize in studying open and inclusive education and welcome proposals exploring the boundary between formal and informal learning. Our Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology leads the world in research into: assistive technology use; children’s digital lives; creativity and gamification; the application of AI to feedback and assessment;  analysing big data to improve learning; MOOCs for professional development; the educational uses of Social Media; online intercultural  exchange (telecollaboration). Our research academics will show you how to use a broad range of methods and approaches, from ethnography, through visual and participatory methods, to data analytics, corpus research methods and eye-tracking. We positively encourage imaginative methodological combinations, as a means of generating new insights into the world of learning.


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Innovation in Learning Pathway[R4] 


Pathway 5. Health and Wellbeing – Lead University: Brunel; Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Open University

Achieving good health and supporting wellbeing for all is essential to achieving social justice, and this lies at the heart of the Open University’s mission. We have expertise in and place value on participatory and inclusive research, with a particular focus on groups that are marginalised, ‘hard to reach’ or have complex needs. We welcome proposals for research that locates the experiences of service users, ‘patients’, carers, family members and practitioners at the fore of inquiry.The pathway will equip students to address health and wellbeing as complex, dynamic and fluid phenomena across the life course, and to use established and innovative social research methodologies to address these challenges.

Applications are invited on one or more of the following themes:

  •  ageing and later life
  • children, young people, parenting and families
  • death, dying and bereavement
  • disability and long-term conditions
  • reproductive and sexual health
  • care and caring
  • mental health


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Health and Wellbeing Pathway [R5] 


Pathway 6 Psychology – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

The School of Psychology and Counselling at The Open University has a vibrant research culture. We are noted for being an international leader in research that takes a transdisciplinary approach, engages in methodological and theoretical pluralism, seeks to engage with different publics and has a commitment to social justice.

We welcome projects that have a contemporary focus, examining the impact of exceptional and everyday situations through a psychological lens and exploring the distinctive and emergent social practices that both constitute and continuously transform everyday lives. Students will be equipped to examine complex psychological phenomenon as they unfold as part of social practices in real settings.

Applicants are invited to apply on one or more of the thematic research streams:

Culture and Social Psychology (CuSP)

CuSP research brings insights from cultural and social psychology to real-world issues. The research is both theoretical and empirical, with a strong focus on methodological innovation. Potential topics include: Citizenship; immigration/migration; contemporary subjectivities, including religious, sexual and political subjectivities; children and childhood; digital lives; intergroup contact and social division.

Psychology of Health and Wellbeing Research (PHeW)

PHeW is a theoretically and methodologically diverse group with a focus on practices of health and wellbeing. Key strands of research focus on counselling and psychotherapy, critical mental health and wellbeing in contexts

Forensic Cognition Research Group (FCRG)

FCRG is a transdisciplinary group whose main aim is to better understand the perceptions, processes and systems of the criminal justice system, taking an approach that is both critical and solution-oriented to tackle real world issues. Key strands are courtroom processes, policing and inquiry and community and citizens.


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Psychology Pathway[R6] 


Pathway 7 Leadership and Organisational Governance – Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University

This pathway equips students to examine complex leadership and organisational governance phenomena, using both established and innovative social research methodologies to address the associated challenges.

  • employment, empowerment and futures
  • innovation and entrepreneurship
  • law
  • marketing policing
  • public leadership
  • voluntary sector leadership
  • social marketing
  • strategy Business ethics and CSR
  • inter-organisational collaboration
  • social enterprise
  • environmentally sustainable enterprise
  • governance and social responsibility.


For more information on this pathway and how to apply for a studentship, please follow this link: Leadership and Organisational Governance[R7] 


Job related information :

Attachment Size
PDF icon Pathway 1 GUDTP Citizenship Pathway FP .pdf 128.89 KB
PDF icon Pathway 2 GUDTP Development Policy and Practice Pathway.pdf 139.8 KB
PDF icon Pathway 3 GUDTP Geography Pathway FP 20.pdf 149.34 KB
PDF icon Pathway 4 GUDTP Innovation in Learning Pathway FP (002).pdf 122.28 KB
PDF icon Pathway 5 GUDTP Health and Wellbeing Pathway FP (003).pdf 114.43 KB
PDF icon Pathway 6 GUDTP Psychology Pathway FP (002).pdf 113.12 KB
PDF icon Pathway 7 GUDTP LG Pathway FP (003).pdf 117.62 KB
File granduniondtpesrcapplicationform2021docx (1).docx 42.04 KB


These roles are covered by various terms and conditions and will be made available to successful candidates

Posting Date :  22 November, 2020 – 08:00

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