The School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy has an international reputation as a centre of excellence for research and teaching in a multidisciplinary School ranked in the QS top 150. It has established a wide international network of research collaborators, and delivers a dual degree programme with Chang’an University, China. The School’s Faculty have established reputations for both research excellence and the transfer of research to policy impact and maintain an international profile. The School supports a positive research culture for its faculty and researchers through a collaborative and creative research environment.

Digital transformations and the global expansion of China

A PhD under the supervision of Dr Yunpeng Zhang, Assistant Professor in Urban and Regional Planning. Motivated candidates will have considerable freedom to develop an independent research project, but it must be related to either of these two broad areas: (1) uneven geographies of Chinese investments in the peripheries of global capitalism (e.g. different sectors receiving Chinese investments, actors involved in brokering the deal and implementing the projects, financial arrangements, the implications for local communities, etc.); (2) platform technology and its effects upon urban governance in China (e.g. digital platforms for planning, data-driven governance, smart cities, etc.). Knowledge of the language(s) of the chosen fieldwork site(s) is required. A detailed introduction to Dr Yunpeng Zhang’s research interests can be found at:

Eligibility Criteria:

Candidates must, at a minimum, satisfy the entry requirements for the PhD degree at UCD which includes the UCD Minimum Language Requirements. We particularly encourage applications from candidates that possess these additional qualifications:

  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (e.g. urban planning, geography, urban studies, political economy, sociology, anthropology, China studies, or any cognate field);
  • Demonstrable motivation to conduct policy-relevant research;
  • Relevant research and/or other research-related experience;
  • A desire to develop an international research profile;
  • Strong organisational, writing, presentation and other communication skills;
  • The ability to work independently, as well as in a team, work under pressure, respect deadlines, and produce quality work;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.

Scholarship Terms:

The benefits of the PhD scholarship include:

  • A tax-free stipend of €18k per annum for four years subject to performance;
  • Funding support for research costs and travel to conferences and workshops;
  • Waived tuition fees for EU or Non-EU students;
  • UCD career building and networking opportunities.

Note: The PhD scholarship shall begin no later than September 2023. Scholars will be based at the UCD Campus. UCD reserves the right not to fill any position. The University may also decide to change the topic area(s) of the research.

Application Procedure:

The candidate will be selected on the basis of the quality of the application, expertise, work experience, and qualifications. An expression of interest should be lodged containing the following documents (in English) in a single PDF and sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • A cover letter explaining how the candidate’s profile matches the above criteria (max 2 pages);
  • An outline of an initial research proposal for PhD research related to one of the above topics (max 3 pages);
  • A current CV;
  • A scan of transcripts/diplomas;
  • Evidence of English language competency (see UCD’s list of accepted certificates or equivalent proof);
  • Details of two referees (name, affiliation, position and contact details including email).

Closing Date for Applications: 17.00 GMT, April 17, 2023

The review of applications will begin immediately after the closing date and shortlisted candidates will be asked to appear for an online interview. Shortlisted candidates may also be asked to submit a small sample of their work (e.g. a published paper, dissertation or master’s thesis, major original essay etc.)

Informal enquiries: general: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and topic specific: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.