Fully Funded ESRC Collaborative PhD Studentship on Scottish convenience store retailing



Three Year Fully Funded ESRC Collaborative PhD Studentship on ‘Scottish convenience store retailing; understanding local impacts and cost drivers to enhance performance’ – Now Open for Applications

A few weeks ago I gave preliminary notice of our success in obtaining an ESRC Phd Studentship to study Scottish convenience store retailing; understanding local impacts and cost drivers to enhance performance’. This is a three year collaborative award with Leigh Sparks as the lead Academic Supervisor, supported by Professor Paul Freathy and the Scottish Grocers Federation as the collaborators and advisors.

Project Abstract

There is considerable academic and professional interest in the state of our retail sector and the “plight” of small and local shops.  Structural and spatial change in retail over a long period has produced a sector dominated by multiple retailers often operating large out of town stores. In the food sector however we have recently seen a move back towards convenience retailing, and a growing recognition of the importance of convenience retailing, especially when operated by local businesses.

There has been a long standing view that local stores provide more benefits for the local economy and community due to their business practices which are more embedded in the local “space”. However, evidence has been largely anecdotal and not subject to rigorous systematic academic approaches and analysis. Rectifying this is the first objective of this project. Local stores however are also less resilient, than are larger often national businesses, to costs and other pressures. Understanding the cost drivers and pressures on local convenience stores and the impact of potential changes to these is the second objective of this work.

The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) is the national trade association for the convenience store industry in Scotland. It is the authoritative voice for the industry. SGF promotes responsible community retailing and works with the Government and the media to encourage a greater understanding of the contribution convenience retailers make to Scotland’s communities. Using the links between the University of Stirling and the SGF and the interest of SGF members in helping provide a better understanding of their sector and its impacts and pressures, this project develops new understandings and tools to inform the sector itself, policy makers and others. This project also generates new academic understanding and measurement of these issues, which are important for business and competition reasons.

Full details of the ESRC fully funded three year studentship in collaboration between Professor Leigh Sparks of the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling and the Scottish Grocers Federation, can be downloaded here.

The Studentship – Finance and Admission Requirements

The studentship attracts the following funding (2017/18 and 2018/19 increases on this are yet to be confirmed)

Standard maintenance grant £14,296
Fees £4,121
Research Training Support Grant £750
Overseas fieldwork support £450

In order to receive ESRC studentship funding you must have qualifications/experience equal to the standard of a good honours degree at a first or upper second class level from a UK academic research organisation. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.

To be eligible for the full award (stipend and fees), you must:

  • have settled status in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay.
  • have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).
  • not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK and EU nationals.

As this is a +3 award, candidates must have an MRes or equivalent masters degree with a high level of research training content.

How to Apply

Applications are invited for the Fully Funded ESRC Collaborative PhD studentship on “Scottish convenience store retailing; understanding local impacts and cost drivers to enhance performance’” in the Marketing and Retail Division of Stirling Management School, University of Stirling.

Prospective students should formally apply through e-mail to Professor Leigh Sparks (leigh.sparks@stir.ac.uk) with the subject line: “PhD Studentship on Scottish convenience store retailing”. The application must include a full CV, documenting qualifications and any relevant previous experience and existing skill sets. Applicants should further provide a covering letter of approximately 1,000 words. This letter should refer in detail to the SGF PhD Details provided and demonstrate a strong interest in the proposed research, as well as the candidate’s aptitude/skills that make her or him particularly suitable for conducting this research.

I welcome informal conversations with potential applicants (and indeed encourage and advise this), and can be contacted at leigh.sparks@stir.ac.uk or on 01786 467024.

The CV and covering letter will be used to shortlist candidates for interview. The successful candidate must then subsequently formally apply for a place on the University of Stirling’s PhD programme; the studentship offer will be conditional on the student being accepted for this. The selected candidate will also need to be approved by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences – Home to Scotland’s ESRC DTC.

Proposed start date: 1st October 2016

About Leigh Sparks

I am Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, where I research and teach aspects of retailing and retail supply chains, alongside various colleagues. I am Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. I am also a Deputy Principal of the University, with responsibility for Education and Students.
This entry was posted in Academics, Association of Convenience Stores, Convenience stores, ESRC, Food Retailing, Independents, PhD, Retail Economy, Retailers, Scotland, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Local Retailer, Sustainability, University of Stirling and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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