Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Organisations, Systems, and People

Start dates

October 2023

Application deadline

6 April 2023

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2023. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Business and Law, and will be supervised by Dr Nigel Williams and Dr Scott Mahadeo

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£17,668 for 2022/23). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £2,000 towards fieldwork. In addition, the Faculty supports conference costs with a contribution of £550 and training costs with a contribution of £450.

The work on this project could involve:

  • an analytical focus on assessing the dynamic relationship between travel cost (such as energy prices, airline tickets, and taxes), international tourism demand, and economic growth in small economies;
  • a policy-oriented focus to support economic transition strategies (e.g., promotion of regional tourism) for tourism-dependent small economies who generate a substantial amount of their GDP from the tourism industry;
  • interdisciplinary research on the intersections of tourism management, energy economics, sustainable development, and climate change.


Tourism is particularly important for reducing poverty in developing countries (Scott et al., 2012a). While the pandemic can be considered as an acute shock to tourism activity, climate change can be seen a more chronic issue. Regarding the effect of the former shock on this global industry, tourism is primarily about movement and COVID-19 has revealed the disproportionate impact a global crisis can have on tourism in developing countries when such movement becomes paralysed (Gössling et al., 2020). With respect to climate change, as fossil fuel remains the main source of energy supply for transportation (Jebli et al., 2019), the growth of the international tourism industry inevitably contributes to greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Small Economies (SE)  face the issues of sea level rise (SLR) and the impending fall in tourism demand linked to climate change polices that aim to reduce the GHGs arising from long-haul travel. Coastal tourism is the largest component of the global tourism sector (Scott et al., 2012a). For the insular Caribbean, for example,  tourism is the main driver (Rivera-Monroy et al., 2004), and it is the prime industry of some islands (Cambers 2009). Because of the emphasis on coastal tourism, the Caribbean often ranks as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change (Scott et al., 2012b). 

The above context is a delicate dilemma for SEs and the increasing incidence of storm surges in hurricane/typhoon prone regions threatens the very existence of their coastal communities; while climate change polices that disincentivises travel to such destinations are economically disastrous. PhD research in this project will assess the climate change related risks to the tourism industry of SIDS, so that policymakers can ensure that environmental policies are equitable and not a death-sentence to the already vulnerable SIDS.



  • Cambers, Gillian. 2009. Caribbean beach changes and climate change adaptation. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 12(2):168–176.
  • Gössling, S., Scott, D. and Hall, C.M., 2020. Pandemics, tourism and global change: a rapid assessment of COVID-19. Journal of Sustainable Tourism29(1), pp.1-20.
  • Jebli, M.B., Youssef, S.B. and Apergis, N., 2019. The dynamic linkage between renewable energy, tourism, CO 2 emissions, economic growth, foreign direct investment, and trade. Latin American Economic Review28(1), pp.1-19.
  • Rivera-Monroy, V.H., Twilley, R.R., Bone, D., Childers, D.L., Coronado-Molina, C., Feller, I.C., Herrera-Silveira, J., Jaffe, R., Mancera, E., Rejmankova, E. and Salisbury, J.E., 2004. A conceptual framework to develop long-term ecological research and management objectives in the wider Caribbean region. BioScience54(9), pp.843-856.
  • Scott, D., Gössling, S. and Hall, C.M., 2012a. International tourism and climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change3(3), pp.213-232. 
  • Scott, D., Simpson, M.C., and Sim, R. 2012b. The vulnerability of Caribbean coastal tourism to scenarios of climate change related sea level rise. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Vol. 20, No. 6, July 2012, 883–898.


Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students with quantitative (data analysis) competencies.


How to apply

We’d encourage you to please fill out  this form and contact Dr Nigel Williams ( or Dr Scott Mahadeo ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

Please also include a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of your proposed research design – including how it meets the stated objectives, the challenges this project may present, and how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code OS&P8170423 when applying and submit all required documentation.