The Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of Education, University of Leicester, UK offers a funded studentship for October 2014 entry to their Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme. It is open to international, and UK/EU applicants.

The studentship is available for full-time registration and is payable as a full UK/EU tuition fee waiver for three years. The successful applicant will also receive a research training support grant worth £750 and be able to bid for additional funding to cover attendance at relevant academic conferences.

Research Areas

  • The widening participation agenda now sits within a knowledge economy discourse, linking future economic competitiveness with lifelong learning and the need to up-skill the workforce.
  • Against this policy context, the project will investigate what the ‘economic imperatives’ are for lifelong learning. It will examine how Access to Higher Education students experience the peripheral labour market, and how this influences their decisions to return to formal education, as adult learners.
  • The research project also seeks to investigate how such students’ position themselves in terms of the tensions between lifelong learning and employability; and how this affects the development of their identities and perceptions of self (agency), and their struggles with the social structures around them.
  •  It will also examine the dual value of Access to Higher Education not only in terms of offering individuals the opportunity to develop intellectually but to better equip them for work.

This research project will address the following key themes:

  • the value of Access to Higher Education as a means of gaining employment
  • employers understandings of the Access qualification
  • Access to Higher Education as cultural capital
  • individuals’ motivations for lifelong learning
  • development of identity and agency in liminal spaces

The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr Nalita James and Dr Hugh Busher.


  • First class or upper second class undergraduate degree or an equivalent overseas qualification in a relevant subject*
  • It is expected that applicants will also hold a Masters degree in a relevant subject*
  • Standard English language requirements
  • Available to suitable UK/EU and International (i.e., outside the EU) applicants – please note though that the award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate only; international applicants (and those not eligible to pay UK/EU tuition fees) must demonstrate at the time of their application that they can fund the difference in tuition fee rates
  • Available for full-time registration only
  • Applicants must be able to start in October 2014

* or show evidence of achieving this by October 2014

How to apply

  • Draft a research proposal that tells us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing
  • Prepare your supporting documents
  • Submit your online application or apply by post
  • Applications that do not include a full research proposal and the required supporting documents will not be considered
  • In the Fees and Financial Support section of the application, applicants must state that they wish to be considered for thi

Deadline: The closing date for receipt of applications is June 30, 2014

Click here for detail and to apply online

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