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Global Development Institute

PhD Supervision Framework

In the GDI we provide our PhD students with the opportunity to pursue research in a wide variety of exciting topics in global development.

All PhDs within the Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College will be supervised by and consult with internationally recognised academics in your chosen field of research. We are fortunate to host several research centres with exceptional academics who are active in research of international significance that addresses the challenges to improving human, societal and environmental conditions.

The Supervisory Framework

You will be allocated at least two supervisors, with whom you will develop your research project and with whom you will meet on a regular basis (usually not less than once a month) to discuss your plans and to obtain comments on your written work. At the start of your programme, you should discuss carefully with your supervisors the expectations you all have about your research activity, including: research training, teaching (TA) training and experience, the production and assessment of written output, fieldwork and other data sources, and publication of your work (conference presentations, working papers, journal papers etc.).

In addition to your supervisors, there will also be designated an independent reviewer (IR) for your research. The IR will be asked to review your work at least annually (at the time of your annual review in June) and possibly also at your mid-year review (in February-March). The IR will provide comments on your work that you will need to discuss with your supervisors in order to decide if your research plans need modification.

Finally, you will be able to call upon the advice and support of your Academic Advisor, who is also one of the Discipline Coordinators (Discos) for the GDI. You can turn to your academic advisor to discuss any broader issues concerning your studies and supervision that you are unable to resolve with your supervisors.

If your research focus changes, there is a possibility to change supervisors to bring in expertise specifically in relation to your new outlook; you can discuss this possibility with your supervisors or with your academic advisor. Please note that any change in supervisory arrangements will need approval by the SEED PGR director.

PhD supervisor profiles

Research at the Global Development Institute is focused around seven groups. Each theme boasts world-class researchers, find out more about some of our PhD supervisors (you can find a full list of GDI staff here):

Digital development 

Digital technologies have the potential to catalyse development, but they can also accentuate inequality and fuel injustice.

Digital development research group

Migration, refugees and asylum

The contemporary world is characterised by a high degree of mobility, making people on the move important political and developmental actors.

Migration, refugees and asylum research group

Urban futures

The geography of many cities is characterised by inequality, segregation and fragmentation, with concentrations of poverty and wealth in close proximity.

Urban futures research group

Growth and distribution

Poverty and inequality are at the heart of the link between growth and distribution and their alleviation depends on effective political and governance mechanisms.

Growth and distribution research group

Politics, governance and management

Building more effective and inclusive institutions that can deliver development is one of the most significant challenges in the Global South.

Politics, governance and management research group 

Global production networks, trade and labour

Global production is undergoing a significant evolution, with more polycentric trade, new technologies, and the challenges of sustainable development.

Global production networks, trade and labour research group

Agrarian change and political ecology

Ending extreme poverty and hunger requires a transformation of agricultural production systems and linkages to the rest of the economy.

Agrarian change and political ecology research group

Our research

The combined field experience of our staff covers over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and the Pacific. Much of this experience has been gained from working with national and international agencies where the focus has been on finding workable solutions to development problems and strengthening institutional capacities.

Our research activities address seven major themes of development policy and practice including;