Centre for Sociodigital Futures (CenSoF) PhD studentships


  • **Applications for October 2022 entry have now closed**
  • Three fully funded +3 (three year) ESRC Phd Studentships available from October 2022
  • Affiliated with the ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures, University of Bristol
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We are delighted to announce three +3 (three year) PhD Studentships to commence in autumn 2022. These will be linked to the newly awarded ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures (CenSoF) a £10m/five year flagship investment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Co-Directed by Susan Halford and Dale Southerton, CenSoF will bring together world leading expertise from across the University of Bristol’s Faculties of Social Sciences and Law (Education, Law, Management, School of Sociology, Politics and International Relations & Policy Studies), Engineering and Arts, working in collaboration with the University of the Arts, and the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Goldsmiths and Lancaster.

The Centre will become the hub for an international network of leading global Universities from four continents: the University of Naples Federico II (Italy), The New School (USA), OsloMet University (Norway), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), and University of New South Wales (Australia).

Through an ambitious programme of research across five domains of social life (caring, consuming, learning, moving and organizing) and four key technical fields (artificial intelligence, high performance networks, robotics, and augmented/virtual and extended reality), CenSoF will explore the interplay between the ‘big’ futures claimed by technology companies and governments and the ‘little’ futures that are emerging in everyday practice.

Working with strategic partners in industry, government and civil society – BT, Defra, Locality, the National Cyber Security Centre and UNESCO – the Centre will build capacity to identify, experiment with and utilise the potential of sociodigital future-making practices to drive fair and sustainable societies.

As members of the Centre’s PhD Programme and ECR network, all CenSoF PhD students will be offered opportunities for mentorship, support (both peer and from experienced researchers), and career development training. They will also benefit from opportunities made available through the South West Doctoral Training Partnership. The 3 studentships are as follows:

Decolonising the Imagination: Futures Literacies in Immersive spaces 

Find out more here (Supervised by Profs Keri Facer and Arathi Sriprakash, School of Education, Bristol)

Mapping Sustainability Outcomes Across Connected Sites of Sociodigital Practice 

Find out more here (Supervised by Prof David M. Evans, School of Management Bristol)

Guidance for all CenSoF project studentships is as follows:

  1. You will need to complete an application to the relevant University of Bristol (UoB) PhD programme as detailed above (Education; Sociology; Law (for the Sustainable Futures PhD), using the links provided above, no later than NOON 25 February 2022.
  2. Important notes for completing the following sections of the UoB application:


  • As well as the requirements noted on UoB programme pages, please read the ‘Further important notes’ below relating to requirements for +3 ESRC funded applicants

Research Statement [NB please adhere to the following guidance for your CenSoF application]

  • The statement should be no longer than 4 pages in length font size 11 (min). At the beginning of your statement, please clearly mark that your application is for a “CenSoF project studentship
  • You will need to write your research statement in response to the indicative +3 PhD project outlines included in this advert. Applicants should use these outlines as a starting point to develop a proposal that reflects their interests. Please set out clearly the core research questions you intend to address, outline the research context, background and justification, and give a detailed account of the proposed methods and research design that you would use for your study.
  • For Supervisor information. Please note the details of the main (and second, if named) supervisor indicated in the advert. If no second supervisor is currently indicated for the project, please write ‘tbc’
  • For proposed project title please write ‘CenSoF’ followed by the title of the project studentship noted in this advert  

Referees [NB please adhere to the following guidance for your application]

  • Please upload the statements from your referees when submitting your application by the Noon 25/2/22 deadline


  • Please choose ‘Economic and Social Research Council’ from the drop-down menu. When prompted, you will then need to choose the following options when prompted. Percentage from this source- answer 100%. Is this funding already secured- answer No
  1. Additional documentation required: Annex A

CenSoF project studentship applicants are also required to complete Annex A. This document should be emailed to the Centre for Sociodigital Futures Mailbox censof-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk by the NOON 25 February 2022 deadline. Applications will be assessed informed by criteria detailed in the following document:


We are aiming to hold interviews (online) on the 10, 11, 14 or 15 March

Studentship Awards cover tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (based on the UKRI rates); and include access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). Other opportunities available to studentship holders  (if applicable), include an overseas fieldwork allowance, internships, overseas institutional visits and small grants.

For queries relating to the application process, please contact censof-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk.

For queries relating to the research statement/indicative project outlines, please contact the relevant supervisors listed (Evans; Facer/Sriprakash; Halford).

Further important notes

All applicants for these +3 studentships must have:

1. Completed, or be due to complete, an ESRC-accredited or an equivalent research Masters* with a significant element of research training. Applicants may be asked for further information to determine the relevance of the content covered. An equivalent research Masters is defined as including significant social sciences research design and quantitative and qualitative research methods elements. The transcript will need to show that a minimum of a third of the taught stage of the programme entailed research methods elements – which should normally be roughly divided equally between social sciences research design, quantitative and qualitative research methods elements – and that there is also a Dissertation. For students who have undertaken a Masters outside the UK we will look for appropriate equivalencies. All awards are subject to final approval by the SWDTP Director, who will have the authority to reconsider the equivalence of any Masters awards. The ESRC’s requirements for postgraduate training and development can be viewed at https://esrc.ukri.org/files/skills-and-careers/doctoral-training/postgraduate-training-and-development-guidelines-2015/  

2. Achieved a current average grade of their Masters (at the point of application) normally of at least Merit (60%) grade. Successful applicants must ultimately achieve BOTH an overall average of at least 60% across the taught units/modules AND at least 60% for the dissertation component as a condition of their funding.


Please note, in line with UKRI policy, these studentships are open to both UK and International applicants. ESRC will fund international students at the home fee and stipend rate. This does not cover the difference between the UK rate and the international fee set by universities. The University of Bristol has committed to waive the difference in fees for all UKRI PhDs. However, please note that you will be expected to pay your own travel costs, visa fees and other associated costs (e.g. immigration health surcharge to access the National Health Service).