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Community Cohesion & Regional Economic Development: Parallel Roads or Congruent Paths? (RDF20/BL/AFM/CABRAS)

  • Full or part time
    Dr I Cabras
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The achievement of economic growth and development at regional and sub-regional level has been significantly researched in the past, particularly with regard to what concerns the development of sustainable solutions aimed at maximising outcomes by involving different stakeholders at different levels in the economic processes. More recent research studies have re-evaluated the crucial role played by local communities and networks with regard to local economies.

Combining a community focus with economic and entrepreneurial approaches, with a more active involvement from local communities as well as private entrepreneurs and public sector bodies, represents a challenging task but appears to facilitate a more sustainable growth particularly in remote and peripheral areas. However, while many studies have provided interesting theoretical frameworks to track and identify possible patterns of development in the field, very few have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of such practices empirically, also due to the paucity of data available at lower administrative scales.

This research project seeks to analyse how community and social cohesion can generate and stimulate economic development at a regional and local level. In particular, the project aims to identify and quantify the value of social and community cohesion for local entrepreneurs, innovations and competitiveness, exploring and evaluating the ways in which public and private agents and local communities create and sustain cohesive communities.
We would expect applicants to outline one potential methodological approach, either qualitative or quantitative, and justify its potential appropriateness to the study including its strengths and limitations. Given the paucity of empirical studies on this theme, the study is likely to generate significant interest among practitioners and policymakers.

The Supervisory Team will be led by Professor Ignazio Cabras. He contributes with peer-review articles to several journals, is engaged in international research networks and projects, and has strong links with business and industry.

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 funding 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. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020

Start Date: 1 October 2020

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.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Cabras I. and Mount M. (2017): ‘How third place foster and shape community cohesion, economic development and social capital: the case of pubs in rural Ireland’. Journal of Rural Studies 55(5): 71-82.

Cabras I. and Mount M. (2017): ‘Assessing the impact of pubs on community cohesion and wellbeing in the English countryside: a longitudinal study’. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 29(1): 55-79.

Cabras I. and Mount M. (2016) ‘Economic Development, Entrepreneurial Embeddedness and Resilience: The Case of Pubs in Rural Ireland’. European Planning Studies, 24(2): 254-276.

Cabras I. and Bosworth G. (2014) ‘Embedded models of rural entrepreneurship: the case of pubs in Cumbria, North West of England’. Local Economy Vol. 29 no. 6/7; pp. 598–616*.

Peck F.; Parry S.; Mulvey G.; Jackson K.; Cabras I. and Jackson J. (2014) 'The role and significance of rates relief for supporting businesses in Wales'. Environment and Planning C Vol. 32 n. 6, pp: 982 – 999.

Mount M. and Cabras I. (2014) ‘Community Cohesion and Village Pubs in Northern England: An Econometric Study’. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2014.989150.

Lindsay C., Greve B., Cabras I., Kellett S., Ellison N. (2015) ‘New perspectives on health, work, welfare and the labour market’. Special Issue for Social Policy and Administration – ‘Disability and Social Welfare’ (accepted for publication).

Cabras I. (2011) 'Industrial and Provident Societies and village pubs: exploring community cohesion in rural Britain', Environment and Planning A, Vol. 43, pp. 2419-2434.

Cabras I. and Reggiani C. (2010) 'Village pubs as a social propellant in rural areas: an econometric study', Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, vol. 53 n. 7, pp. 947 - 962 .

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