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  Relighting the economy after social traumas? The role of social capital and the application of financial technology


   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Prof Jia Liu, Dr Jianan Lu  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance and will be supervised by Professor Jia Liu and Dr Jianan Lu.

The work on this project will: 

  • Obtain a systematic knowledge background of financial technology and social capital, from the lens of social change and economic development.  
  • Engage a mixed-method which involves quantitative-oriented methods, as well as the interviews/fieldwork in the course of conducting research.  
  • Data analysis is founded on intensive household-level survey or/and content-based data. 
  • Link the application of financial technology with social capitals when considering social traumas from individual’s perspectives. 
  • Identify and assess the political/economic interventions that will help economic recovery for territories suffered social trauma and household warfare post-crisis. 

Project description

The core idea for this project is to extend an understanding of the role of financial technology (fin-tech) in economic recovery in territories that suffered social traumas, with a specific focus of the relationship between social capital and application of financial technology. 

Financial technology has been recognized as a powerful tool to facilitate economic growth, and social capital has been identified as the building block that underpinning the capabilities for individuals or economic entities to implement the tools for economic development. The traumas can be identified as military conflicts (i.e., Ukraine), national economic collapse (i.e., Sri Lanka), and natural disasters (i.e., Turkey). Social traumas can create enormous shocks for the social capitals of the happened territory, which may lingeringly alter people’s economic decision making and preferences of adopting financial instruments. 

So, what would be the relationship/interaction between fintech and social capitals, with a specific focus on cohorts that recently suffered social traumas? How can we identify and assess the causal interpretations between these factors to extend our understanding of the mechanisms and provide realistic arguments to help the world a better place?  

This PhD research project aims to develop a PhD candidate with knowledge and skills to conduct these research questions, and we expect the completed PhD would be capable to independently conduct further research projects, deliver relevant academic lecturers/seminars, or serve industries, NGOs or government agencies as a think tank member.  

This PhD research project may start from the analysing the case of Ukraine. A few reasons behind this proposal. First, there is a strong connection of University of Portsmouth and Odessa Polytechnic National University in Ukraine, which provides the candidate to access local databases and get support from local scholars and institutions. Second, the recent military intervention in Ukraine triggers an urgent and important requirement of post-war economic recovery, and our research projects responds to  the topics of scientific research and scientific and technical (experimental) developments of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine for 2022-2026. Finally, Dr Jianan in person, and Professor Jia Liu, as the director of Centre for Innovative and Sustainable Finance (CISF) in University of Portsmouth, have already started a few ongoing research projects with Ukraine partners, which would welcome the PhD candidate to participate in and develop their research skills. 

The methodology for this project is a mix-method, principally quantitative-oriented. We expect candidate to demonstrate the willingness and potential to develop their quantitative research skills during the project. We also expect candidates to show interests in developing qualitative skills such as conduct interviews and textual analysis.   

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in XXX or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to Apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Jia Liu ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Finance PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

Please also include a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of your proposed research design – including how it meets the stated objectives, the challenges this project may present, and how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field. 

When applying please quote project code:AE&F4931024


Finance (14)

Funding Notes

Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (conditions apply).