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Entrepreneurship, culture, and place: the role of Entrepreneurial Support Organisations in aligning entrepreneurship and context (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/EIS/NEWBERY)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Prof Robert Newbery, Dr Nicholas Wong  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Recent research on Entrepreneurial Support Organisations (ESOs) has highlighted the need for greater processual, longitudinal, and experimental research that examines the role, purpose, and function of ESOs in encouraging collaborative relationship in entrepreneurial ecosystems. ESOs in this context refers to the complex network of organisations designed to facilitate and encourage the growth of regional entrepreneurship and includes, for example, incubators, science parks, accelerators, maker spaces and co-working spaces (Bergman and McMullen, 2021). Building on this, further research has highlighted the motivations and outcomes of ESOs in driving regional development by embedding entrepreneurship in regional economic development. This research has demonstrated the capacity of ESOs to facilitate the development and growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems by focusing on maintaining, retaining, and developing regional enterprise, responding to regional socioeconomic problems and by helping to introduce new talent, attract investment, and increase employment opportunities (Amezcua et al., 2020; Newbery 2021; Audretch and Link, 2012). What requires further investigation are the processes that underpin ESO practice and encourage them to address regional issues whilst driving entrepreneurial activity and regional economic development.

We invite proposals that will extend this framework through a combination of questions that may:

  1. Explore how ESO have developed and evolved over time in the northeast (and responded to socioeconomic challenges in regional economy);
  2. Examine the regional embeddedness of ESOs and explore the role they play in entrepreneurial ecosystems;
  3. Assess the influence of external factors on ESO functioning, such as access to industry-specific labour/resources (Henderson, 2003);
  4. Evaluate the power of internal factors on ESO enacting, such as a personal sense of belonging and responsibility to place (Foster, 2018; Altman and Low, 2012; Strydom, 1999);
  5. Demonstrate how the firm-centric processes and objectives that drive ESO activity balance against the human-factors that drive individual entrepreneurial action;
  6. Provide insights into how ESOs facilitate both the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional economic development.

The Northumbria Centre for Innovation, Regional Transformation and Entrepreneurship (iNCITE) has a mission to be the centre of expertise for policymakers and business in the North East of England, as such, whilst we are open to proposals using quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods, proposals must demonstrate how the articulated research questions will draw on a broad corpus of internal and external ESO stakeholders based in the North East region. For example stakeholders may be drawn from: the North East chamber of commerce, North East Council representatives, trade associations, Federation of Small Business, Family Firm Institute and the North East Local and Enterprise Partnership.

This project is supervised by Professor Robert Newbery and Dr Nicholas Wong.

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 or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

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. RDF22/BL/EIS/NEWBERY) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Apostolopoulos, N., Chalvantzis, K., Liargovas, P., Newbery, R. and Rokou, E. (2020), The role of the Expert Knowledge Broker in Rural Development: renewable energy funding decisions in Greece, Journal of Rural Studies
Kimmitt, J., Munoz, P., and Newbery, R., (2019) Entrepreneurship, Prospective Prosperity and Poverty Amelioration: The Enabling Role of Conversion Factors, Journal of Business Venturing
Mackenzie, N., Pittaki, Z., and Wong, N. D., (2019) Historical approaches for hospitality and tourism research. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32 (4), pp.1469-1485
Newbery, R. and Jinman, A. (2021) The Entrepreneurial Imaginary: the hyper-real case of the Zombiepreneur, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Newbery, R., Roderick, S., and Wilkinson, A. (2021) Chapter 3 ‘Entrepreneurial orientation and performance in conditions of poverty’ in: Dobson, S., Jones, P., Agyapong, D. and Maas, G. (eds), Enterprising Africa: Transformation through entrepreneurship, London: Routledge
Phillipson, J., Gorton, M., Turner, R., Shucksmith, M., Aitken-McDermott, K., Areal, F., Cowie, P., Hubbard, C., Maioli, S., McAreavey, R., Souza Monteiro, D., Newbery, R., Panzone , L., Rowe, F. and Shortall, S. (2020) The COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Implications for Rural Economies, Sustainability
Smith, A., Wong, N. D., Sørensen, A. R., Jones, I., & Coraiola, D. M. (2021) Historical Narratives and the Defense of Stigmatized Industries. Journal of Management Inquiry, e-pub, ahead of print
Webster, A., Wilson, J. F., & Wong, N. D. (2020) Commerce with a bit of ethics or ethics with a bit of commerce? The conundrum of British consumer co-operation 1863-1990. Journal of Management History e-pub, ahead of print
Wilson, J., Toms, S., & Wong, N. D., (Eds.) (2021) The Cotton and Textile Industry: Innovation and Maturity: Case Studies in Industrial History. Routledge: Oxon
Wilson, J., Toms, S., & Wong, N. D., (Eds.) (2021) The Cotton and Textile Industry: Managing Decline: Case Studies in Industrial History. (1st ed.) (Routledge Focus on Industrial History). Routledge: Oxon
Wilson, J., Wong, N. D., & Toms, S. (Eds.) (2020) Banking and Finance: Case studies in the development of the UK financial sector. Routledge: Oxon
Wilson, J., Wong, N. D., & Toms, S. (Eds.) (2020) Growth and Decline of American Industry: Case studies in the Industrial History of the USA. Routledge: Oxon
Wilson, J., Wong, N. D., & Toms, S. (Eds.) (2020) Management and Industry: Case studies in UK industrial history. Routledge: Oxon
Wong, N. D., and McGovern, T., 2020. ‘Entrepreneurial Strategies in a Family Business: Growth Theory and Capital Conversion in Historical Perspective’. Business History, e-pub, ahead of print
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