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City Leadership in the North East Beyond BREXIT (Advert Ref: SF18/BAM/LIDDLE)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Liddle
    Dr L Johnston
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

This doctoral project responds to the call for city leadership (Liddle et al, 2018) with increased emphasis on City Leadership in the North East Beyond BREXIT?. The project will consider the extent to which current city leadership includes the capacity to function and span organisational, sectoral and spatial boundaries in response to a multitude of (potential) BREXIT effects. It will also examine how city leadership in the North East uses its capacity to obtain and distribute grants on regional schemes to satisfy regional strategies as well as city leadership in multi-sectoral and professional stakeholders at city region, national, European and international agencies. In a Northumbria University lecture on 26th October 2017, the CEO of Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie urged stakeholder partners (including the University and business/other partners) to support city leaders in developing shared outcomes for transformation and inclusive growth (Ritchie, Sutherland Building lecture, 26th Oct 2017). The findings from this PhD research project will be integral in supporting such shared outcomes will be continuously shared with relevant city leaders.

City leadership responds rapidly to a series of social, political, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities faced by deprived regions in future. BREXIT has begun to shape unchartered collaborative spaces, and much uncertainty surrounds the city leadership decision making sanctioned at a variety of local government levels (Johnston and Fenwick, 2018 f). As a result, sub-national governance in the northeast may be deeply disadvantaged in comparison with London and the South East of England may be unable to compete internationally to attract vital investment (Liddle et al. 2018). Likewise, public service cutbacks with an inability to generate high levels of external investments may render City Regions like the North East in degeneration.

This project provides an opportunity to consider what BREXIT and the uniqueness of city leadership (Liddle, 2016; Johnston and Blenkinsopp, 2017). In a post Brexit global world, much confusion surrounds broader aspects of city leadership (state and non-state) and existing governance structures. The project will explore innovative methodologies of city leadership, multi-level and multi-agency partnership work.

The Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy (EIS) group at Northumbria University seek expressions of interest from exceptional candidates who are interested in pursuing a PhD in City Leadership. The successful candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the socio-political setting, organisational and collaborative forms. An ability to conduct investigative research that considers interactions between actors and organisations operating at multi levels. Finally, the capability to demonstrate city leadership through practice examples will be a key contribution of the project.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this project if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 October 2018

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

This is a self funded project and does not include fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project:

Hambleton, R. (2015) Leading the Inclusive City, Policy Press, Bristol.
Johnston, L. and Blenkinsopp, J. (2017) Challenges for Civil Society involvement in civic entrepreneurship: a case study of local enterprise partnerships, Redrawing the boundaries of the third sector and civil society in troubled times, Public Money & Management, 37(2) 89-96
Liddle, J. Gibney, J. and Shutt, J. (2018) City and Regional Development after BREXIT: What Does it Mean for Leadership and Governance? Forthcoming
Liddle, J. (2016) Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation: theoretical assumptions; barriers and methodological considerations, in Liddle J, Gibney J, Sotarauta M, Beer A (2016) Exploring varieties of Leadership in Urban and Regional Development, Editorial, Regions, Issue 302, Regional Studies Association, Sleaford, UK, 15-16.

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