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  Mapping Everyday Resilience in the Age of Anthropocene: Perspectives from the SMEs in India’s Global City

   School of Geography and Environmental Science

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  Dr Ka-Kin Cheuk  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Leverhulme PhD programme is administered by the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences. This particular project will sit under the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

This project examines the resilience strategies of small and medium-sized enterprises in Mumbai, India, facing climate change impacts. Through ethnographic fieldwork and interdisciplinary analysis, it explores how SMEs navigate environmental uncertainties and resource constraints. The project also includes policy research to inform strategies for enhancing SME resilience in Global South. 

This interdisciplinary research project focuses on exploring and mapping the everyday resilience strategies employed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Mumbai, India's most international city, which faces threats to its sustainable future due to the impacts of climate change. By integrating perspectives from environmental anthropology, the sociology of entrepreneurship, and policy engagement, the project aims to understand the challenges posed by the Anthropocene era and the strategies employed by SMEs to respond to these challenges. 

The project will employ ethnographic fieldwork methods, with supervision from an anthropologist (KC) with extensive experience conducting long-term fieldwork in India. The candidate will study the daily activities and social interactions of low-end SME communities in Mumbai. Through this approach, the research aims to uncover the diverse strategies these communities employ to cope with environmental uncertainties, resource constraints, market dynamics, and political changes. Additionally, a sociologist specialising in entrepreneurship in constrained contexts (MVV) will provide supervision for innovative theoretical analysis of the entrepreneurial dynamics within these communities. This integrated supervision approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the complex factors influencing SME resilience. 

Furthermore, the project incorporates a policy research component in collaboration with an expert in policy analysis and development in India (YY). This collaboration will enable the generation of policy recommendations based on insights gained from the fieldwork and interdisciplinary analysis. By bridging the gap between academic research and real-world impact, the project aims to inform policymakers and practitioners about effective strategies to enhance SME resilience, particularly in the context of the Global South. The PhD candidate will actively engage in policy research activities, translating findings into actionable recommendations. 

In addition to the research activities, the project will provide opportunities for the candidate to participate in inter-departmental and faculty activities organized by the Sustainability & Resilience Institute, the Centre for Transnational Studies, the Centre for Political Ethnography, and the Debating Ethnography research group. These activities, including seminars, reading groups, and writing groups, will contribute to the development of the candidate's research and writing skills. Public Policy | Southampton ( will also provide training to the candidate in writing the impact case and formulating policy recommendations for their project. 


You will need to have a 2:1 honours undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. If your grade was lower than 2:1 you can still apply, but your application and narrative CV should demonstrate progression since your degree.

If you have completed a master’s degree, you should have achieved a merit or above including 60% for the dissertation. If you have not completed a master’s, you’ll need to show you can produce high quality writing and analysis.


If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. Your awarded certificate needs to be dated within the last 2 years, and you’ll need all of the following scores as a minimum:

Overall 6.5

Writing 6.0

Reading 6.0

Speaking 6.0

Listening 6.0


  • Programme for Interdisciplinary Resilience Studies application document
  • Narrative résumé
  • Standardised CV
  • Academic transcripts/certificates
  • If a student-led application: research proposal document
  • Any other relevant documents (e.g., language certificate, etc)

Anthropology (2) Geography (17) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

Up to six students will comprise each cohort. We will offer:
4 x studentship to UK (or UK-domiciled) students - fully funded for 48 months at UKRI base rates for maintenance and tuition
1 x studentship to an international student - fully funded for 48 months at UKRI maintenance and University international tuition rates

1 x “Master’s + PhD” studentship to an eligible UK (or UK-domiciled) student - fully funded for 60 months at UKRI maintenance and University tuition rates for: 12 months research master’s degree and 48 months PhD

Plus £10k (£2.5k per year) RTSG for the PhD programme.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Geography and Environmental Studies?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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