A comparative study of migrants’ post-pandemic experiences of homelessness in the UK and Sweden


   School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature

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  Prof Simon Stewart, Dr Sara Svensson, Dr Charles Leddy-Owen  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD to commence in October 2024. 

The PhD will be based in the Centre for European and International Studies Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be supervised by Professor Simon Stewart, Dr Sara Svensson and Dr Charles Leddy-Owen

The successful applicant will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 research allowance to cover conference/ training costs and consumables. 

Costs for student visas and immigration health surcharges are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.    

The work on this project could involve:

  • Participating in a split-site PhD programme and receiving supervision from scholars in the UK and Sweden
  • Using qualitative methods to research migrants’ experiences homelessness in two cities: Portsmouth and Gothenburg
  • Being trained at the Access to Justice immigration advice clinic and gaining work experience
  • The opportunity to teach on modules in the School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (up to 6 hours per week during term time) and attain Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Project description

Your project will provide a comparative study of migrant homelessness in the post-pandemic context, across two countries (the UK and Sweden). During the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government’s Everyone In initiative was supported by a £3.2 million emergency fund that was used to provide temporary accommodation for those experiencing homelessness in England. Crucially, there was a suspension of immigration-related eligibility criteria and this meant that many migrants with no recourse to public funds received homelessness support for the first time. However, more research is needed on what has happened to the migrant homeless population since the pandemic, and since the Everyone In initiative ended. Sweden did not have a comparable initiative and the country’s attempts to improve the housing situation of the most vulnerable, including migrants, were stalled during the pandemic.

Your project will contribute to debates by exploring the impact of two contradictory trends that are potentially detrimental to the life chances of migrants experiencing homelessness: on the one hand, successive governments in the UK and Sweden have adopted broadly neoliberal policies that prioritise ‘free’ markets in the pursuit of cheap labour. On the other hand, there is an increasingly punitive function of the state, which is informed by nationalist politics. It is characterised by ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies that seeks not to prevent all mobility but are concerned with surveilling, disciplining and differentiating access to movement amongst populations. 

Your project will examine what has happened to migrants experiencing homelessness since the COVID-19 pandemic. You will compare and contrast the impact of ‘hostile environment’ policies on the lives of migrants experiencing homelessness in two cities: Portsmouth and Gothenburg. In addition, your project will explore the ways in which migrants experiencing homelessness have managed to subsist and find shelter in the two cities.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. You’ll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

You should have a detailed understanding of key literature in the sociology of homelessness and/or migration. Willingness to work across two sites, i.e. in the UK and Sweden is essential. 

You should have experience of conducting qualitative research and analysing data and an understanding of ethical and practical considerations of research about and with marginalised communities.Willingness to be involved in advice and casework involving homeless migrants alongside your research is also essential. 

How to Apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Simon Stewart ([Email Address Removed] ) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency (if required) and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. As this is a pre-defined project, you do not need to submit a research proposal at this stage.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SASS8860124 when applying. Please note that email applications are not accepted.


Biological Sciences (4) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 research allowance to cover conference/ training costs and consumables.
Costs for student visas and immigration health surcharges are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.

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