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  Sustainable planning and implementation of eco-oriented enclave projects through knowledge transfer and management

   Urban Planning and Design

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  Dr Y Xu, Dr O Sykes, Dr Sheng Zhong  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Principal supervisor: Dr Yunqing Xu (XJTLU, Department of Urban Planning and Design

Co-supervisor: Dr Olivier Sykes (UoL, Department of Geography and Planning)

Co-supervisor: Dr Peng Liu (XJTLU, Department of Urban Planning and Design)

External-supervisor: Dr Sheng Zhong

Project Description

Enclave economy is perceived as a win-win regional economic development model that breaks the restriction of administrative divisions and carries out cross-space cooperative development based on complementary production factors and efficient utilisation of resources. Based on planning, construction and management as well as benefit-distributing coordination mechanisms, enclave projects, often in the form of development zones, is crucial to breaking through the bottleneck of local development, enhancing the efficiency of land use, promoting industrial upgrading and transfer as well as narrowing the disparity of regional development. However, as a highly risky, complex and long-term project between two different locations with different natural and development conditions, governance structure, practices, norms and so on, such projects encounter massive challenges throughout its dynamic stages and have so far produced limited successful cases. It is crucial to create a joint-community of innovation and optimisation for effective knowledge sharing, management and creation on shaping planning and implementation that continuously fosters strong collaboration on efficient resource utilisation and development within the environmental capacity.

This research studies the dynamic process and critical factors for planning and implementation of enclave projects with sustainability, efficiency and resilience. It adopts a knowledge transfer perspective to explain the underlying barriers for limited success so far, identifies mechanisms for innovation and develops an optimising framework to consolidate partnership and ensure low impact development and industrial transformation. Using a cognitive mapping, it visualises the abstract concept, process and relations in explanatory case study that paves for wider application and accelerated development.

This studentship involves three principal areas of investigation:

  1. To review the conceptual process and critical factors of knowledge identification and transfer as well as the planning and implementation of enclave projects.
  2. To develop an optimisation framework for achieving effective partnership and integrated development of industrial collaboration and environmental protection in enclave projects.
  3. To test such a framework in case studies and compare and explain the underlying drivers, reasons and constraints with the aid of cognitive mapping and visualisation.
  4. To shape evaluation toolkit, identify innovative practices and build a body of knowledge for enclave that enable merge of mutual experience and resources and flexible adaptation to local contexts and changes.

For more information about doctoral scholarship and PhD programme at Xi’an JiaotongLiverpool University (XJTLU), please visit


The candidate should have a first class or upper second class honours degree, or a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in urban and regional planning, economic geography, real estate or management cognate disciplines, knowledge of planning, development and operation of collaboration park is preferable. 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.

This PhD studentship should be of interest to those who are passionate about planning and implementation of enclave economy towards sustainable industrial transfer and low impact development, and those energised by using knowledge management approach to consolidate long-term partnership and ensure effective transfer of knowledge between the two parties. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated, organised and prepared for challenges. Relevant capacities and skills may include:

  • Strong interest in enclave economy, planning and implementation, regional balance and environmental protection
  • Knowledge management and transfer
  • Cognitive mapping and visualisation skills
  • Inter-disciplinary and system approach

However, the core requirement is for an enquiring mind with a passion and enduring personality with a determination.


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

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
  • Research Proposal
  • Two formal reference letters
  • Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
  • Certificates of English language qualifications (IELTS or equivalent)
  • Full academic 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)
  • PDF copy of published paper, Master Degree dissertation or an equivalent writing sample

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Yunqing Xu ([Email Address Removed]), whose personal profile is linked below,

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Business & Management (5) Geography (17)

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). It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. The scholarship holder will also be provided with opportunities of taking part in the projects of University Research Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies (UES) and being paid according to University Research Assistance Policy.
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