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Open Innovation and Collaboration in Healthcare

   Kent Business School

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  Prof M Garcia, Prof Faridah Djellal, Dr Benoit Desmarchelier  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications must be received by Sunday 28 February 2022 – 23.59  

Healthcare, like many other fields, is an increasingly collaborative industry, with most organisations looking outside their internal silos for new ideas, innovations, and expertise. The breadth and depth of patient needs means that new technological developments require contributions from a large number of diverse research areas and specialties before becoming viable market products. With this complexity in mind, open innovation is no longer an optional exercise, but a requirement for doing business.

The strict regulatory requirements in healthcare and the high-cost nature of R&D means that purely internal efforts are naturally high risk. As such, open innovation allows healthcare innovators to pool risk in order to cut costs and increase the time-to-market. By engaging in collaborations between government, industry partners, and academia, organizations can avoid technological dead-ends and quickly identify viable research areas.

The project aims to identify and explore how technological innovations and innovative business models in healthcare can foster increased collaboration between different healthcare actors – biotechnology, pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries. In particular, it will explore how the disruptions brought by precision medicine require an open model of cooperation in R&D and innovation, which is increasingly associated with user-led innovation (i.e., empowerment of patients to build communities to take action and control of their health) and value co-creation in distributed networks (i.e., enabling more effective and efficient interactions between health systems and industries).

Forming collaborative networks in healthcare however is not easy and significant barriers remain to adopting new practices and methods of working. Successful open innovation partnerships function symbiotically, with all partners benefiting from the arrangement and filling critical knowledge gaps. To be effective, there needs to be a move towards a more holistic social model of healthcare involving the integration of users in health and social research supported by digitisation, information technologies and big data.

Key attributes and skills for prospective applicants 

·      Successful candidates will demonstrate excellent research potential and will have obtained a First or 2:1 Undergraduate degree, along with a Master's with Merit or Distinction, in a relevant subject (current Masters Students can submit a partial transcript).

·      Candidates must have strong analytical and statistical skills (demonstrated within CV and cover letter).

·      Applicants must have a minimum overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. This requirement is waived, if an applicant is a national of a majority English-speaking country, or has completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree in a majority English-speaking country.

How to apply 

To apply please go to

You will need to apply through the online application form on the main University website. Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details, education and employment history and supporting documentation (Curriculum Vitae, transcript of results, two academic references). Please provide a statement to explain your reasons for study and your suitability and interest for this project.

Funding Notes

Tuition fees and stipend at the standard Research Council rate (Home rate only: £4,500 (fees) and £15,609 (stipend) in 2021/22). The 2022/2023 rate is yet to be announced by the UK Research Councils.
Open to overseas/home/EU fee paying students.
The scholarship covers home fees only, however international students are welcome to apply and fund the difference.
Scholarships are available on a cotutelle (dual award) basis only.
Students have to spend at least 12 months at Kent and Lille.

How good is research at University of Kent in Business and Management Studies?

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

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