Project code



School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Start dates

October 2023

Application deadline

30 June 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 Professor Pierre Faillier, Professor Alex Ford and Dr He Yuan

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). 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:

  • Engagement with global sailing race teams and sponsors
  • Assessment of sustainability practices in the ocean sailing race 
  • Development of best practices and sustainability standards


Global Ocean Races attract huge corporate sponsorship and an international reach in terms of potential global education in the sphere of environmental sustainability. This thesis aims to tap into the sustainability and business model practices in the ocean sailing sector and investigate and guide how global ocean races can contribute to ocean science and education for the UN Decade of Ocean Science. This thesis will closely align with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the UNESCO Chair in Blue Governance projects based at the University of Portsmouth. It will review sustainability in the sector, develop a database of ocean sailing science projects, and interview organisations, sponsors and sailors linked to ocean races to identify gaps and opportunities to support UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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 are looking for candidates with strong interdisciplinary backgrounds in business sustainability and a solid understanding of UN Sustainable Development Goals and global environmental issues. The candidate would benefit from some experience in stakeholder engagement and ethical survey practices and strong interpersonal and report-writing skills.


How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr He Yuan ( 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 AE&F8250623 when applying.