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ESRC DTP Joint Studentship - Productivity Challenge: the Role of Technology Standards

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Li
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC DTP Joint Studentship in partner with the University of Warwick to commence in October 2019.

Technological innovation is a key driver of productivity. The apparently weaker productivity growth experienced in the UK (and some European countries) vis-à-vis North America has been linked to slower diffusion in Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and the lack of uptake of digitisation opportunities uniformly across economic sectors.

Technology standards play a significant role in technology diffusion with important implications for innovation, internationalisation and attendant productivity growth. A recent study commissioned by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) suggests that standards supported 37% of UK annual labour productivity growth over the 1921-2013 period (i.e., approximately 28% of annual GDP growth). Recent academic research has also highlighted the importance of developing open technology standards as a spur to productivity, innovation and firm profitability. However, business-level mechanisms underlying the standards-productivity relationship remain a black box - a gap this research seeks to address by considering two predominant channels whereby learning from standards can enable performance gains, viz. by catalysing innovation and internationalisation activities.

This award is open to applicants with backgrounds in quantitative social science and related disciplines, such as economics, business and management studies, social statistics and applied mathematics.

Further Details

This PhD project will offer novel insight into standards and technology-led productivity growth, which is a complex interplay between many distinct influences including innovative inputs, knowledge diffusion, market incentives, economic geography and institutional governance. Working closely with Dr Li and Prof Battisti, the PhD candidate will conduct a comprehensive literature review and econometric analyses, drawing on large-scale secondary firm-level datasets such as the UK Innovation Survey (and other micro business datasets via the Secure Research Service by ONS).

This project will also use the Searle Centre Database on Technology Standards and Standard Setting Organisations – the most comprehensive dataset on standards and firm participation in standards development collected by the Northwestern University (US) (Baron and Spulber, 2018), as well as data on intellectual property such as patents and trademarks. Finally, this project will be carried out in close collaboration with BSI, the UK’s national standards body, to yield significant governance or policy implications for designing effective standards, which expedite the diffusion of technologies to boost firm performance.

The PhD project will provide a significant contribution to the academic literature. It is also anticipated to achieve high impact and wider engagement with business practices (via a deeper understanding of efficiency gains through learning from standards) and policy bodies (via productivity growth and governance of standards development).

Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

Our ESRC studentships cover fees, maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available only to successful applicants who fulfil eligibility criteria:

Application process

To be considered for this PhD studentship, please complete the Collaborative and Joint Studentship application form:

Email your application form, along with academic transcript(s), a cover letter and a CV (including marks awarded to date plus details of two referees) to Karen Maltby ([Email Address Removed]). Shortlisted applicants will be required to provide two references.

Application deadline: 30th April 2019

Informal enquiries about the research or NUBS prior to application can be directed to Cher Li ([Email Address Removed])

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