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ESRC WRDTP Collaborative Project: Evaluating the Social Value of Innovative Finance: A Case Study of Community Municipal Bonds

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Davis
    Dr K Wright
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project explores the opportunities and barriers to social value creation offered by a new model of finance for the public sector: Community Municipal Bonds.

UK local authorities are on the front line of some of the biggest social and environmental challenges we face. But central government funding has declined significantly under austerity, around a 60% reduction in real terms. At the same time, the UK is the world’s leading creator and innovator of investment-based crowdfunding, part of a national alternative finance sector valued at £6.2 billion in 2017.

The PhD study will work with Dr Mark Davis, Dr Katy Wright, and Abundance Investment to evaluate how this unique ecosystem can offer new capacity for local authorities to raise finance, to invest in local infrastructure to meet those challenges, at the same time as generating social value for communities. The successful candidate will benefit from a range of research, professional training and transferable skills opportunities.

Based in the School of Sociology and Social Policy (SSP), ranked in the top 100 globally (AWRU), the candidate will be an active member of the Bauman Institute for Critical Sociology (BI) and the new Centre for Transdisciplinary Methodology (CTM). Both centres have a strong reputation as established providers of doctoral training. Both centres also have a vibrant research culture and environment, organising regular seminars, workshops, reading groups, and contributing to the School’s annual postgraduate research conference.

The candidate will also be a part of the Leeds Doctoral College and benefit from advanced research and skills training provided by SSP and the University of Leeds. SSP is part of the ESRC-funded WRDTP and offers accredited social research training. The candidate will auto-enrol into the mandatory PhD training framework for WRDTP-funded researchers providing those modules covering advanced social research and professional skills for research leadership.

The candidate will benefit from broader professional development opportunities via the collaboration with Abundance, who provide two non-paid work placements enabling the successful candidate: unprecedented access to analyse a unique dataset; to participate in the design, preparation and publication of reports to a variety of non-HE audiences and wider stakeholders; and to embed an impact pathway into their doctoral studies from the start.

Abundance will cover the travel, subsistence and accommodation expenses associated with the non-paid placements so they incur no additional costs to the candidate.

Funding Notes

Full awards provide UK/EU academic fees and a maintenance grant at standard Research Council rates (£15,009 in Session 2019/20) for full-time study, together with other allowances if appropriate. EU applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

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