About this scholarship

The University of South Australia (UniSA) Business School is seeking applicants interested in pursuing a PhD on the future of places after major events of economic restructuring and industrial transformation. The primary focus on this research will be the problem of site repurposing: what happens after significant sites of industrial activity have been closed? What are these sites used for in contemporary settings, and how have changes to the urban landscape, urban space and the built environment interacted with changes at the level of the local economy, society and/or politics?

Applicants will be considered on the basis of academic merit and research background. Applicants must have completed, or expect to complete, a bachelor’s degree with first class honours equivalent or master’s degree by research. We welcome applications from prospective students with a background or relevant qualifications in a broad range of social and economic science disciplines, especially human geography, urban planning and regional studies, but also political economy, sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, environmental science, organisation/management studies, employment/industrial relations or other cognizant areas. Research topics may be chosen from one or more of the following areas:

  • The consequences and impacts of site repurposing on individuals, residents, businesses, employees, households, communities, the local environment, local or regional labour markets, social groups or minorities, the practice of policymaking, or local/municipal government;
  • The consequences and impacts of site repurposing on the future of work in places affected by economic restructuring;
  • Interaction and inclusion/exclusion of individuals, residents, businesses, etc, from decision-making over the type, nature and consequences of site repurposing;
  • The role of policy-making in the process of site repurposing, including cooperation, collusion and conflict between policymakers, community members, and others;
  • Planning, cooperation, conflict and contestation over land use, including re-zoning and the implications for environmental protection and/or population health and well-being
  • Types, varieties and categories of site repurposing
  • The relationship between economic restructuring (and its causes) and the process of site repurposing
  • The complementary or conflicting use of facilities and resources at sites pre- and post-repurposing 
  • The relationship between site repurposing, economic restructuring and global production networks or global value chains
  • A relevant topic of the applicant’s design

The successful candidate will ideally include a focus on repurposing/redevelopment at one or more of the sites affected by automotive closures in Australia (in South Australia and Victoria). Applicants are welcome to propose topics that encompass comparisons with site repurposing in different countries/regions/sectors. Applicants can make a case for quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods. Domestic or international candidates may apply. Full-time candidates are preferred.

This project will involve working with a team of researchers undertaking an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project on the impact of the end of Australian automotive manufacturing on work and communities. This

team is led by Prof Andrew Beer at the University of South Australia in Adelaide in partnership with Australian Catholic University, Flinders University and multiple industry and public sector partners.

The exact details of the thesis topic are expected to be developed by the interested candidate in close consultation with their supervisors. The UniSA Business School has a strong research environment and is deeply committed to world-class research performance. It is expected that the individual selected for this program will be highly competitive in the academic job market after completing this program.


Interested and highly qualified candidates will be eligible to receive $27,596 per annum (2019 stipend rate) over 3 years in scholarship support.


The scholarship is open to domestic and international students.

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

How to apply and closing date

Interested candidates should send a CV to Ms Cate McKenzie (Cathryn.McKenzie@unisa.edu.au) along with a personal statement of research interests and how they relate to the topic, no later than 31 October 2019.

Following the initial endorsement by the relevant supervisor, you will be required to go through the UniSA online application process.

For further information about research degrees at UniSA and the application process itself please visit: https://www.unisa.edu.au/research/degrees/scholarships/

Apply online