Engineering Doctorate Studentship Measuring and Managing the Social Impacts of a Diverse Construction Business

Closing Date: 2 December 2013                                                                          

Start Date: January 2014

Context and Background

An opportunity exists for a Doctoral student to lead a joint research venture between WiIllmott Dixon Ltd and Loughborough University as part of the prestigious four-year Engineering Doctorate programme, leading to the award ‘Doctor of Engineering’.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) resides at the heart of Willmott Dixon’s mission and values, with community engagement activities being central to their sustainable development strategy. However, there is a need to inform investment in CSR activities with a more robust assessment of their return on the investment in relation to the legacy value generated. This requires the development of tools and techniques for assessing both the social impact of their projects, and for maximising the positive legacy of their activities. Recent research further highlights a need to explore the measurement of CSR activity, and the robustness of indicators for measurement, along with examining ways in which CSR plays out across diverse institutional contexts.

Research Aim

The aim of this project is to develop a suite of tools for measuring the effectiveness of corporate and social responsibility investments and activities.  

Research Objectives

The main objectives are to:

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  • explore theoretical perspectives on CSR and its measurement;
  • examine how different businesses manage, record, measure and benchmark CSR;
  • evaluate Willmott Dixon’s CSR activities against UK best practice and various theoretical perspectives;
  • establish how production contexts and stakeholder communities determine the nature of CSR investments for benefits realisation;
  • design a suit of mutually supportive tools and interventions  to demonstrate impact and value of various CSR activities; 
  • implement and monitor tools and interventions across disparate parts of Willmott Dixon’s business and measure their success.

Expected Outcomes

  • Deeper and detailed theoretical grasp of CSR within UK construction settings;
  • enhance Willmott Dixon’s CSR performance;
  • improved understanding and influence of the ways in which CSR is monitored and managed to yield major benefits for UK organisations as a whole via transferable learning;
  • contribution to current theoretical debates on the ways in which CSR plays across diverse institutional contexts.

Suitable Candidates

This EngD research project is open to graduates with a relevant degree in organisation studies, human resource management, the built environment, sociology or social sciences. Candidates should be articulate, well qualified and highly motivated. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent. A lower qualification is acceptable only if supplemented with an appropriate postgraduate (MSc/MEng) qualification and relevant industrial experience.


The successful applicant will receive a minimum enhanced tax-free stipend of £19,000 p.a. and a generous training allowance. Due to Tier 4 visa restrictions on industry placements, this is only available to UK/EU applicants. 

How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted with the relevant supporting documents (see how to apply) and should be made through Loughborough University’s Online Application Portal


For informal discussions about the research project please contact Prof Andrew Dainty at or Dr Scott Fernie at 

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