Building a ‘Wellbeing Economy’: developing a capability-based approach to capturing the complexity of social justice on a healthy planet

   School of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Karen Lorimer, Prof Michael Roy, Prof Rachel Baker  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Reference: SHLS20058

The idea of building a Wellbeing Economy through local economic development initiatives has started to coalesce in Scotland. One local authority has already begun steps in this direction, and more are to follow soon. Our collaborative partner, Glasgow City Council (in Scotland), is one such local authority seeking to align its work to a wellbeing economy framework. This thesis will work in collaboration with Glasgow City Council’s Economic and Social Initiatives team to pose a new set of questions on a wellbeing economy, for how it creates opportunities for individuals to lead a life worth living, a good or flourishing life. Using Amartya Sen’s capability approach, the PhD will address the question ‘what would a wellbeing economy look like in terms of capabilities?’ and has a methodological aim to create a way to evaluate such an economy to capture complexity in capability terms. In addition, the project will embed a consideration of how this new grammar of human flourishing and justice is understood and embraced by key stakeholders and the public. The thesis will provide rich accounts of people’s understandings of a wellbeing economy in capability terms, produce a new list of capabilities, and deliver our partner’s requirements for recommendations for potential collaborations with local partners to build community wealth and address issues of justice. The successful candidate will benefit from cross-School supervision, drawing on interdisciplinary strengths. Previous experience of qualitative research is desirable as is knowledge of the Capability Approach.

When you apply please include a covering letter, which must name the project being applied for and should be addressed to the Lead supervisor. It should set out your reasons and motivations for applying to study for a PhD, your understandings and expectations of doctoral study, and your academic interests generally. Please do not write any more than two pages.

Research proposal

This should build on the project description that is supplied. Please include:

·        Your reflections on the title and aims of the research

·        An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study

·        Your ideas for developing the design and methods of study

·        Bibliographic references

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2021

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

To be considered this project, apply here

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.  

Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

The studentship of £20,009 per year is for three years. The studentship covers the payment of tuition fees (£4,400 for UK students or £15,500 for EU/International students) plus an annual stipend of £15,609 for UK students or an annual scholarship of £4,509 for EU/international students. EU/International candidates of outstanding calibre may be awarded a studentship of £31,109 per year covering payment of tuition fees £15,500 and stipend £15,609.
Further details of fees, scholarships and discounts at


For further information please contact:
Dr Karen Lorimer
Prof Michael Roy
Prof Rachel Baker