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Smart City Challenges: towards a holistic approach to the development of smart cities in China

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  • Full or part time
    Mr J Sik Kim
    Dr J Sturzaker
    Ms S Kidd
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description


The concept of smart cities has spread widely and been recognised as a potential tool to solve urban problems that require innovative solutions and one which can add value to urban environments and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. Although the concept of smart cities often emphasises technology-led perspectives, the development of smart cities is closely associated with the city’s economic dynamics, social diversity and spatial complexity. It is evident that smart cities are not achievable by either a top-down or bottom-up approach. This research aims to deepen our understanding of the dynamic interactive process among diverse stakeholders in the development of smart cities in China, and to develop innovative practice and strategies to manage the development process of smart cities effectively and holistically to tackle the challenges identified above. The research will investigate the complex governance ecosystem of smart cities, and propose an innovative and deliverable planning model to manage the key challenges and balance the conflicting interest arising in the process.

For more information about doctoral scholarships and PhD programmes at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), please go to and Click Study with Us.

How to Apply

Interested applicants are advised to email [Email Address Removed] (XJTLU principal supervisor’s email address) the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line).
• CV
• Two reference letters with company/university letterhead
• Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
• Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 6.5 or above)
• Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
• Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Joon Sik Kim ([Email Address Removed]), whose personal profile is linked below,


Academic qualification: The candidate should have a first class or upper second class honours degree, or a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in urban planning and design (or relevant academic fields).

Language qualification: Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, if the first language is not English.

This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality.


The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is available for three years subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching or research assistance work per year. The scholarship holder is expected to carry out the major part of his or her research at XJTLU in Suzhou, China. However, he or she is eligible for a research study visit to the University of Liverpool of up to three months, if this is required by the project.

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