Project code



Operations and Systems Management

Start dates

February and October

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project, to commence in October or February.

The PhD will be based in the Operations and Systems Management Subject Group and will be supervised by Dr Ritanjan Das and Dr Nigel Williams.

The Faculty of Business and Law offers funding to attend conferences (currently £550), training (currently £450), and a work-based placement (currently a maximum of £3,000 tied up to the period of 12 weeks).

The work on this project will:

  • Secondary data analysis of humanitarian data (qualitative and quantitative data) depending on the core research skills of the PhD candidate.
  • Field work with management of refugee camps and communities impacted by forced migration

In 2018, 71 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of political and climate crises ( This trend is forecast to increase to an estimated 200 million by 2030, making forced migration a challenge in local, national and international politics for the foreseeable future. The flow of migrants is primarily among members of the Global South. In sub-Saharan Africa, forced migrants fleeing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), settle in nearby countries such as Kenya. In Asia, the Rohingya people have been forced to move from Myanmar to nearby Bangladesh. In South America, Venezuelans have moved to Peru, Columbia and Trinidad and Tobago. Climate disasters are increasing in frequency and many countries are increasingly vulnerable. Finally, the economic impact of the Covid 19 crisis may well exacerbate domestic tensions in countries, creating further forced migration crises.

Forced migrants require physical and social service infrastructure that may have to be built or adapted from existing systems. These are delivered by an emergent organizational network created from a group of stakeholders which include development institutions, public and private sector actors. To date, little is known on the structure, coordination and impacts of these response networks. Nor is much insight available on how these networks negotiate with formal state policies and/or local political pressures with different priorities. An upsurge in anti-immigrant attitude as well as politically conservative ideas about citizenship rights are also among the key challenges these networks have to confront.

Within such a broader focus, areas to be explored can include:

  • The domestic environmental forces – political, social and economic - influencing the configurations of actors, resources and organizations involved in crisis response networks.
  • The macro and micro interorganizational coordination activities that support delivery of products and services to forced migrants.
  • The impact of the organizational network on host communities. Research has identified the economic and employment displacement impacts of refugees at a host location. Less is known on the impact of the emergent organizational network on existing organizations.
  • Cross-national or cross-sector comparisons of organizational networks in response to forced migration events.
  • The political trends coalescing around these response networks, especially in countries with a strong anti-immigrant attitude.
  • The strategies adopted in navigating the complex terrain of state policy priorities in host societies (for e.g. the recent controversial citizenship amendment act in India), potentially leading to innovative and emancipatory possibilities within and across response networks.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only – eligibility criteria apply).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

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 Management, Development Studies, Economics or a related area. 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.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Nigel Williams ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Business and Management PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. 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. 

When applying please quote project code: O&SM4721020