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PhD studentship: Modern means-testing: A cross-national study

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Millar
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

We welcome applications for a full-time University PhD studentship to support and work in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, alongside the Institute for Policy Research.


The Department of Social & Policy Sciences is recognised internationally for the quality of our research under five key research themes.

The Institute for Policy Research foster inter-disciplinary research of international excellence and impact, addressing major policy challenges at local, national and global levels.

The student will conduct their research under the supervision of Professor Jane Millar and colleagues (to be confirmed). Jane Millar is Professor of Social Policy with research interests in social security and family policy, lone parents, employment and poverty.

The project

This project will examine the extent and design of means-testing in social security and tax systems, comparing countries with different approaches to social protection systems and the role of means-testing within these. It will track the extent to which means testing has become more central in the delivery of income support and compare the design of means tests, exploring issues of (for example) the definition of income, the definition of the benefit unit, the income time period, the length of awards, who receives the payment within the unit, the form of payment and the responsiveness of the system to changes in income and circumstances during the period of the award. It will also explore other conditionality requirements which are behavioural (e.g. job search) rather than income related. It will consider the role of modern IT systems, particularly to assess real-time income, and to deliver payments for example through smart cards and other direct systems. It will consider the role of different levels of government and professional groups in delivery of means-tested support.

This will form a three-year doctoral project, with a timetable as below:

year 1 – literature review; clarification of research aims; defining and identifying the countries; assessing secondary sources of date (for example, MISSOC) preparation and piloting of research instruments. Establish links with DWP. Fulfilment of university requirements for confirmation.

year 2 – data collection across countries, analysis of secondary data sets. Presentation of methodological paper in the department and at SWDTC event. Initial analysis of the data.

year 3 – completion of analysis and writing up. Presentation of paper at the annual Social Policy Association conference and at an appropriate international conference.


The successful candidate should:
- fulfil the entrance requirements for a Social & Policy Sciences PhD (
- have at least a strong understanding of social security policy and associated research methods (including as appropriate statistical methodologies)
- have an interest in public engagement/research impact

How to apply

Apply online ( to study for a full-time PhD in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences:
- you must quote the project title in section 3.2 of your application: Modern means-testing: A cross-national study
- you do not need to upload a formal research proposal as this studentship is for a specific project

Complete the application form for an academic-led PhD studentship (

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 12.00 noon (GMT), Thursday 4 February 2016.

Informal enquiries

For project enquiries contact Professor Jane Millar (

For application procedure enquiries email: [Email Address Removed] or tel. 01225 38 6180.

Funding Notes

The award

Funding lasts for three years and includes:
- £14,057 (2015/16 rate) yearly stipend
- Home/EU or the Overseas tuition fees
- annual Training Support Grant

This award will be funded by a one of several studentships with their own terms and conditions (

How good is research at University of Bath in Social Work and Social Policy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 35.55

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

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