Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

Postgraduate research

Our doctoral students play a major role in the academic life of the Institute, contributing to formal and informal seminars, workshops and conferences. Students are co-supervised, ensuring the right mix of support is available from leading scholars and draw, where appropriate, on the wide range of expertise offered elsewhere across MBS and the University.

This may not just be scientific, technological and social science expertise, but could include the history of science and technology; science and technology studies; and ethical issues surrounding science and technology.

We offer structured yet flexible and supportive doctoral training through the highly-rated AMBS doctoral programme, with further training opportunities available through the Manchester Doctoral College and the North West Doctoral Training Centre.

We are also a member of the  European Forum for the Study of Research and Innovation Policies (EU-SPRI) network of European research institutes which offers a range of doctoral and early career research training initiatives. As such, Manchester doctoral students have the opportunity to spend time working with colleagues at another EU-SPRI member institution and vice-versa.

PhD in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy

We welcome applications from candidates for our PhD programme on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy interested in studying  the role and effects of public policy for science, technology and innovation in its broadest sense. For more details, please see our flyer.

Candidates might want to consider topics including:PhD

  • assessment and governance of emerging technologies
  • responsibility in research and innovation
  • understanding governance and effects of science, technology and innovation policy
  • knowledge production, innovation, technology deployment, and user engagement
  • roles for universities, public research centres, and other organisations in science and innovation
  • evaluation, foresight and strategic intelligence in science, technology and innovation policy
  • governance of system transitions 
  • innovation, demand and societal missions – innovation policy for a purpose

PhD research projects may also look at the wider governance of science, technology and innovation, including how societal, economic and state actors interact to shape scientific knowledge production and new technologies, the generation, diffusion and use of innovations, and the development of socio-technical systems.

Applicants should engage with the programme directors  (Prof Jakob Edler (, Prof Philip Shapira ( or Dr John Rigby ( and potential supervisors to develop initial research topics. You can find the profiles of members of the Institute here.

For candidates wishing to start their PhD in September 2018, the deadline for applications is June 2018.

The Alliance Manchester Business School offers studentships within this programme. Candidates may also be eligible to apply for funding through the University of Manchester President’s Doctoral Scholar Awards. For any of these scholarships, early applications are recommended. 

Please note that the Institute continues to welcome PhD candidates via the Business and Management Programme.

Funding opportunities

Full details of funding opportunities are available on the AMBS website. 

For 2018/19 the Institute will have 4 scholarships available for candidates on the STIP course. 

We have two scholarships available in an open call for proposals as part of the Alliance Manchester Business School PhD ScholarshipsThere are deadlines on 15 December 2017, 31 January 2018, and 30 March 2018, though early application is encouraged.

We can also offer a further two scholarships focusing on specific projects underway at the Institute:

The Impact of Science on Policy Making: Understanding the User SideOslo Institute for Research on the Impact of Science

Deadline: 31 January 2018

The project focuses on the conditions for impact on the side of the user of scientific knowledge, presently a neglected perspective. The project will develop novel theoretical combinations on knowledge uptake and use, from neo-institutional, management and organisational perspectives. The position is part of the OSIRIS research centre: a collaboration between MIOIR, the University of Oslo and INGENIO-CSIC Spain.


The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Jakob Edler and Kate Barker.

Deadline: 31 January 2018

This project will research the emergence of digital fabrication as a disruptive innovation, examine implications for current and future manufacturing, and consider new business and governance models for effective and responsible commercialisation. Focussing empirical work on North West England, the project will use case study, foresight and assessment approaches. The project will contribute to advancing theoretical concepts, knowledge, and strategies for adapting to, and managing, disruptive technological changes with far reaching societal implications.

The candidate will be supervised by Professor Philip Shapira

Candidates on the STIP programme are also eligible for other funding opportunities; please see the guidance on funding on the Alliance Manchester Business School website.

For 2018/19 the Institute is offering a position on the Business and Management PhD Course. 

Scholarships for the Business and Management PhD Course are available in an open call for proposals as part of the Alliance Manchester Business School PhD Scholarships. There are deadlines on 15 December 2017, 31 January 2018, and 30 March 2018, though early application is encouraged.

We also have a further scholarship available to work on the new CAFE4DM project.


Technology adoption and organisational change in corporate R&D

Deadline: 31 January 2018

The scholarship is part of a major collaborative research programme between The University of Manchester and the global fast moving consumer goods company Unilever, funded under the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership Centre in Advanced Fluid Engineering for Digital Manufacturing (CAFE4DM).  This is an exciting academic-industry project on the digitalization of R&D and innovation processes in Unilever, the major multinational fast moving consumer goods company. The successful candidate will explore the opportunities and challenges for innovation management and organisational change posed by the adoption of digitalization and automation in the R&D and innovation process. The PhD position is part of a research programme that is developing cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary research related to the development, adoption, and diffusion of digitalized R&D and innovation processes. The research programme is focused on four inter-related areas: 1) R&D and innovation practices within Unilever and comparable companies; 2) change management programmes that promote the adoption of new digital technologies in R&D and the new product development process; 3) how digitalization can help decision making by senior management; and 4) the transfer of digitalization practices within a global company. We welcome expressions of interest in research ideas that connect with one or more of the four main themes addressed by our research programme, but we also expect the candidate to have a strong interest in the general theme of innovation/R&D management and organisational change.  This  full-time PhD research scholarship, including stipend and tuition fee costs, is available for September 2018. This position is an opportunity for an ambitious and engaged candidate who wishes to pursue doctoral studies in the area of digital innovation and organisational change. 


Finding a supervisor

All members of the Institute list the themes under which they are interested in supervising doctoral students on their profile pages, and prospective students can arrange to contact a potential supervisor to discuss their proposed research. If there is a match between your suggested topic and the interests and expertise of the potential supervisor, they may then advise you to make a formal application.

For examples of where some of our academics are particularly interested in supervising PhDs, see here. 

Making an application  

Applications are made via the Manchester Business School team. Find out more about the PhD application process >> 

Part-time doctoral opportunities  

MBS also offers a part-time Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme. The programme is offered in a ‘blended learning’ style which involves a mixture of face-to-face and on-line learning and supervision over five years. While equivalent to a PhD, it is aimed at candidates who are motivated primarily by the desire to apply insights from the latest academic research to a real-world problem.

About us

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research is a centre of excellence in the field of innovation studies, building on a 50-year tradition of innovation and science studies in Manchester.

Get in touch

  •  Postal Address: 
    Alliance Manchester Business School
    Booth Street West
    M15 6PB, UK

  • Email:

  • Phone: +44 (0) 161 306 1320

Follow Us