Exploring Decision-making Around Data Access


College of Business and Law at the University of the West of England in Bristol invites applications for a fully funded PhD studentship in Data Science on the topic of “Exploring Decision-making Around Data Access”.

Closing date for applications: 15 January 2023 

Start date of this studentship: 1 April 2023

Studentship details

Greater availability of confidential government data for research has dramatically increased the opportunities for policy-relevant social science analysis. This has been driven by two factors: technological and procedural developments allowing highly secure but researcher-friendly analysis environments, and legislative changes.

However, there are still significant barriers to greater use of public data resources, and these arise partly from the institutional structure of government. These barriers can arise at different stages: at the conceptual level of granting access to data sources, when determining rules for using the data, when reviewing specific applications. 

This PhD will investigate these institutional barriers. The PhD proposal may seek to explore the topic from an economic, psychological, organisational or other perspective, but should include a strategic concept of primary research using interviews with relevant parties. The PhD candidate will be able to draw on DRAGoN’s extensive network of contacts, but will also be expected to develop their own sources of information.

The researcher experience is central to an understanding of data access processes. We therefore expect that the PhD candidate will either have experience of using confidential data facilities such as the Secure Research Service, Secure Data Service, eDRIS or SAIL, or would be willing to work with UWE microdata researchers to develop that experience.

The studentship reflect ongoing commitment of the College of Business and Law at UWE to the development of its doctoral programmes. 
Prospective student will be based in the Bristol Business School, which is home to several multidisciplinary research groups.

Doctoral students at the College benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from UWE Doctoral Academy, including extensive professional development programme, research skills training and careers advice. Find out more about the Doctoral Academy.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please contact Director of Doctoral Research, Dr Pawel Capik at pawel.capik@uwe.ac.uk.

For an informal discussion about the project proposal please contact Professor Felix Ritchie at felix.ritchie@uwe.ac.uk.


Studentship is available from 1 April 2023 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress, and includes tax exempt stipend at £17,668 per annum.

Full-time home/international tuition fees will be covered for up to three years.


Applicants must have at least 2.1 degree in economics, management or cognate discipline, and preferably Masters degree (with average programme mark of no less than 65%, UK grading scale or international equivalent).

A recognised English language qualification is required. IELTS score of 7.0 overall, or equivalent.

How to apply

  • Prepare your research proposal (no more than 5 pages all-inclusive; font size 11, 1.5-spacing, 2-inch margins). This should ideally happen in consultation with the potential supervisor.
  • You should contact the potential supervisor with an advanced draft of the proposal to confirm they are willing to support your application.
  • Submit your formal application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-APR-FBL05

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application so please have these available when you complete the form.

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.  


Closing Date

Closing date for applications: 15 January 2023 18:00 pm (UK time)

Further Information

Interviews will take place in February. If you have not heard from us by 31 January 2023, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

You may also be interested in