Philip Leifeld
Philip Leifeld

Job Opportunities and Supervision of PhD Theses and Postdocs

I am seeking to supervise strong PhD students and postdocs at the University of Essex - either candidates from Essex or external candidates who wish to study with me at Essex - and collaborate through research visits.


In particular, I am interested in supervising theses or collaborating on projects related to social or political networks, computational social science, discourse networks, quantitative methods, the policy process, inferential network analysis, environmental or social policy, or similar topics. See my research profile for more details on the topics I am interested in.

Funding for prospective PhD students

Various scholarship opportunities are available to fund your PhD studies or postdoc at Essex.

For PhD funding opportunities, see the Research degree scholarships and funding page of the University of Essex. SeNSS and other doctoral training centre studentships listed there are likely the most suitable funding source.

The PhD programme in the Department of Government has multiple start dates per year, but the usual start is in October. Scholarship applications usually need to be prepared in autumn in the year before and submitted in early spring of the year the PhD is supposed to start in October. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD under my supervision, please take a look at the scholarship opportunities mentioned above and get in touch to discuss your project. While funding is not strictly necessary, I strongly recommend having a steady stream of income over self-funding a PhD.

It may be possible to start a PhD after obtaining either a bachelor's or a master's degree, and funding options are available for both. SeNSS offers a 1+3 studentship for an MRes and PhD combined. SeNSS also offers (usually less competitive) collaborative scholarships for students who are about to obtain a master's degree and have a non-academic organisation lined up that is willing to contribute supervision or resources to the PhD project.

Funding for prospective postdocs

If you would like to do a postdoctoral project at the University of Essex to collaborate with me, several options are available. It is either possible to apply for a fellowship together with me as the academic host (for example SeNSS, Marie Curie, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, ProFellow etc), or we can apply for a research grant together (for example ESRC, ERC etc) and allocate time for a postdoctoral project in the grant application. Either way takes some time to prepare. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss possibilities. I am most interested in collaborating with postdocs who share my research interests and adopt a computational or statistical approach to the study of politics or public policy.

Opportunities for visiting PhD students and researchers

If you are already a PhD student elsewhere but would still like to collaborate, distance supervision is often difficult to do and provides few incentives for the supervisor in terms of institutional recognition. However, it may be possible to schedule an academic visit for a few weeks or months. Get in touch if you would like to discuss this possibility. I usually collaborate with visitors on a paper or method to make it worthwhile for both parties. However, it is usually necessary to bring your own funding for the duration of the stay.

If you are a researcher with a PhD (early-career or senior level) and would like to visit me, the University of Essex offers an international visiting fellowship programme as well as opportunities through the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship programme.