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  The value of cultural mega-events – Trenčín, European Capital of Culture 2026 (Value26)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Rafaela Neiva, Prof Ian Fillis, Dr Miriam Šebová, Dr Steve Nolan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

One Full-time PhD studentship is available at Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University.

Liverpool Business School is an innovative business school, which nurtures talent and provides the knowledge, experience and contacts our students need to succeed in their specialist business areas. Liverpool Business School is also a member of AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

This is a superb opportunity for an enthusiastic and conscientious individual looking to undertake a funded PhD in a vibrant and diverse research environment as part of an established doctoral student community. Our research groups carry out essential and inspirational work, committed to the University strategy to find solutions to real-world problems of a fast-paced 21st century. The successful candidate will integrate two Liverpool Business School's research groups: i) Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research Group; and ii) Tourism, Travel, Culture and Heritage.

About the PhD project: 

The award of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is seen to be of great social and economic value for the hosting cities. However, bids by second-tier cities can be disadvantaged by a lack of relevant local research expertise. This study builds on the existing LJMU-led ‘Liverpool Model’ to engage with the Trenčín ECoC 2026 to fill this research gap.

The successful candidate will also integrate the Culture Living Lab Trenčín led by the Director of Studies, Dr Rafaela Neiva Ganga. The candidate will integrate into a highly multidisciplinary research environment, currently constituted by 3 post-doctoral research fellows (a further 2 will be recruited), and 10 scientific board members from USA, Europe and UK. Current expertise includes cultural policy, data science, cultural management, economy, engineering, project management, diversity, equity and inclusion, tourism, and placemaking.

The international supervisory team, composed of Dr Rafaela Neiva Ganga, Professor Ian Fillis, Dr Steve Nolan and Dr Miriam Šebová, has a broad range of expertise, world-leading research on policy evaluation, cultural value and cultural management, and vast experience in successful supervision to PhD completion.


Value26 will investigate the impact of large-scale cultural events in the city and region of Trenčín. Understanding this impact is too often framed solely in economic terms due to the difficulty in defining and measuring social value (e.g., wellbeing). Using modern econometrics methods, the study will design appropriate measures of both economic and social value and evidence of the benefits of large-scale events to the economy and society. This analysis with be informed by engagement with key stakeholders and those directly impacted by the ECoC in Trenčín.

This mixed-methods and international project aims to create a scalable framework for understanding and measuring the wide-ranging value that a ECoC award can bring. The research aims to identify the impact of Trenčín, 2026 ECoC on the local economy and society. This will then aid in assessing its contribution to social and economic value.

Value26 will provide a framework for municipal bodies and wider policymakers, businesses, and community stakeholders to understand and measure the wide range of benefits of large-scale cultural events. It will provide a unique mix of qualitative and quantitative training, international networking, and world-leading outputs that meet LJMU’s mission of excellent research-led teaching that foster the career opportunities of postgraduate researchers.

Candidate specification

Candidates should meet the following criteria:

• Ideally a Master’s degree in Economics, Sociology, Cultural, Arts, Events or Sports Management, and Urban Studies. Exceptional candidates with a strong undergraduate degree will be considered. 

• Proficiency in quantitative methods and interest in learning qualitative methods.

• Professional experience will also be considered in the cultural field, policy evaluation, and economic assessment.

• Interest in scholarship on cultural policy, events impact research.

• Availability and interest in traveling between UK and Europe.

It is expected the successful applicant will commence on Autumn Term 2023 (September Doctoral Academy Enrolment Window), and so all prospective candidates must have the necessary qualifications to commence their studies at that date.

How to apply:

Applicants should email a CV and covering letter. This should detail why they wish to undertake postgraduate research in this specific area and how they meet the candidate criteria. 

Applicants require an English Language level of UKVI IELTS 6.5 (no sub-score less than 6.0) or an equivalent qualification.

Applications will be judged by the supervisory team according to the following criteria for assessment:

• The calibre of candidates based on their academic qualifications and their academic/research achievements, outputs, experience, skills, and abilities demonstrated in the CV.

• Clarity and relevance of the cover letter.

Contact details of two referees should also be provided. 

Please send all application documents to Dr Steve Nolan, [Email Address Removed]

For an informal discussion about this opportunity please email Dr Steve Nolan, [Email Address Removed]  for more information.

Economics (10) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

A full-time PhD studentship is available at Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University. The full-time studentships are tenable for up to 3 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) beginning in October 2023.
Under the LBS PhD studentship scheme, fully-funded three-year PhD studentship would comprise of:
• Annual fees fully paid
• An annual stipend (around £18,622 per annum) paid in monthly instalments
• Coaching, mentoring support and advocacy
Due to funding restrictions, the studentships are open to UK citizens only.
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