PhD Studentship Re-Imaging the City through the ‘Business’ of Entrepreneurial Governance: Mobilising Private Interests in the Pursuit of Public Goals

Re-Imaging the City through the ‘Business’ of Entrepreneurial Governance: Mobilising Private Interests in the Pursuit of Public Goals

Interest is sought for a Northumbria University funded full-time PhD student at Newcastle Business School, to study, empirically, the changing business of entrepreneurial governance at city, city-regional and regional scales.

Economic development and enterprise programmes are political activities that require ongoing financial, administrative and political support beyond the initial act of mobilisation. The prioritisation of how, on what and where public funds will be allocated is a complex process and not necessarily a rational exercise. Since David Harvey’s (1989) celebrated analysis of the transformation in governance from managerialism to entrepreneurialism, there have been some powerful political, economic and environmental shifts, which have heightened research and policy interest. This research project will examine the changing business of entrepreneurial governance in cities, city-regions and/or regions. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) provide the empirical lens to understand the contemporary role of private interests in the pursuit of public goals because they function as ‘growth coalitions’ between business leaders and local politicians.

Partnerships, and especially public-private partnerships, are deeply embedded in contemporary policy systems around the world. Through a focus on the ‘business’ of entrepreneurial governance – including motives, strategies and objectives – the research will help to fill a conceptual and empirical gap by examining the roles performed by business interests in the pursuit of public goals. By drawing on the genesis of the LEP project, the research will focus on a policy that has continued to gather momentum and remains in the spotlight of critical political, industry and academic attention. Accordingly, a primary goal is to interpret the emerging trends and focus on research findings that will be of interest to a diverse array of actors both in the private and public sectors concerned with urban regeneration and development, as well as those within the academy concerned with similar issues.

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Recognising the variable forms and capacity of England’s 39 LEPs, the project may benefit from combining a macro analysis of all LEPs with a micro analysis of a limited number of case studies – though this will be subject discussion with the successful candidate. We would expect applicants to outline one potential methodological approach and justify its appropriateness (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 Application form via the ‘Apply’ button below. Applications should be submitted to Sarah Jukes, Programme Support Co-ordinator, via email to:

Deadline for applications: 13 December 2013
Interviews: January 2014
Project start date: 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.

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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