PhD Studentship Enterprising Places: Spatial Dependencies, Complementarities and Synergies

Enterprising Places:  Spatial Dependencies, Complementarities and Synergies

Interest is sought for a Northumbria University funded full-time PhD student at Newcastle Business School, to study the role and importance of place in the pursuit of entrepreneurial activities. 

The resurgence over recent years of the entrepreneur and entrepreneurship across all walks of public and private life has had a notable impact on policies and organisations operating across local, regional, national and transnational scales (OECD, 2010, 2013). In the majority of countries around the world, governments are at pains to stress the virtues of enterprise and entrepreneurialism. Mobilizing an ‘enterprise surge’ has become the leitmotif of contemporary interventions and state-sponsored place-based development strategies promoted across diverse international settings.

‘Enabling enterprise’ is something that all places are seeking to promote as they compete to attract entrepreneurs, investment and enterprises. Consequently, the search for entrepreneurial synergies in places has intensified the need for mechanisms for delivering broader social, cultural, environmental, economic and political objectives. 

The basic premise is that place matters. It matters in terms of the types and structure of enterprise, the styles of entrepreneurial leadership, the modes of entrepreneurial governance and the culture of entrepreneurship more broadly. Spatial dependencies and complementarities are, therefore, deemed to be crucial. However, little is known about ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’. To what extent can entrepreneurial activities (which will ultimately contribute to regional development objectives) be enabled by place-based strategies?

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This research project focuses on the role and importance of place in the pursuit, stimulation and generation of entrepreneurial synergies. Understanding places as a network of cross-cutting; overlapping; and interwoven multiplicity of meanings, entrepreneurial geographies, social relations, environmental systems, economic interactions and political expressions; related in a dynamic process, provides fertile ground for analysing enterprising places. The project will be at the forefront of a new field of research that seeks to spatialise entrepreneurship. Findings are likely to be of relevance to businesses, politicians and policymakers, and therefore the project is expected to achieve positive societal impacts.

In terms of methodology, we would expect applicants to outline one potential methodological approach, either qualitative or quantitative, and justify its potential appropriateness to the study (including its strengths and limitations).

The Supervisory Team has a strong background in this field of research. They edit several journals, are engaged in international research networks and projects, and have strong links with business and industry.

For further details on working on this project, please contact Dr Lee Pugalis ( or Professor Tom Mordue (

You should apply using the University’s Research Application Form via the ‘Apply’ button below. Applications should be submitted to Sarah Jukes, Programme Support Co-ordinator, via email to: For any queries relating to applications, please contact Sarah Jukes via this email address.

Deadline for applications: 13 December 2013
Interviews will be held during January 2014
The project start date will be in February 2014

Funding Notes:
This is one of eight projects advertised in competition for two funded studentship places. Applicants should only apply to one of the eight projects advertised.

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Each studentship place is funded by Northumbria University, and includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (in 2013/14 this is £13,726 pa) and Home/EU fees.

Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide; however non-EU nationals will have to pay the difference between the home tuition fees and the overseas tuition fees.

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