This page lists details of current funded PhD opportunities for new candidates applying to undertake a research degree at the University of Cumbria.

Below you will find our current funded opportunities. Please check this page regularly for new opportunities...


Closing date: 23:59 Sunday 18th February 2018

Looking for a PhD with a difference? The University of Cumbria have a funded PhD opportunity for real-world research with a newly created local business with a strong community interest.

ERDF logo

The Lake District Pound: Developing Local Sustainability through Economic Innovation in a Rural Context

The Project

The Lake District Pound (LD£) initiative is the context within which the research project will be carried out.  This is an innovation in local currency that builds on the prior work and positive outcomes of other complimentary currency initiatives in the UK and globally.  The LD£ will operate alongside sovereign Sterling currency with a more direct purpose to support the local rural economy.

This initiative will utilise a range of innovative methods to adapt and extend the idea of a ‘currency with a purpose’ to a rural context with a unique demographic including for the first time a National Park. A core aim of the initiative is to shift visitor spending from using large external businesses (e.g. online retailers and travel companies, remote delivery services, etc.) towards local companies and communities. The anticipated impact is to retain more wealth in the region to fund social and environmental projects and through the local focus and supply chains deliver measureable environmental benefits.

The LD£ initiative has a number of short and long-term aims, which will be greatly enabled through this research project. The aim of the research project is to provide a foundation and framework for measuring the success of the local currency initiative and from that measure, to identify optimum practice and future direction to improve such local currency initiatives.

No prior research data exists from any local currency project to describe or quantify the benefits of local currency schemes on the local economy. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has some data on the benefits of local purchasing via the Multiplier Effect, but has no substantive data from any initiative. In the US, the AMIBA has some impressive quantified data on local spending impact, but this relates to a different culture of use and is not related to local spending impact of a local currency initiative. Most significantly for the LD£ initiative, no data exists to measure the impact of local spending in a rural context or where communities are adversely impacted through a substantial tourist influx.

Desired outcomes of the research project include:

This is an exciting opportunity to work with The Lakes Currency Project Ltd, a small and dynamic team with a passion for the environment and the local community. Based in the stunning Lake District National Park, UK you will help to shape and deliver this research project in partnership between the University of Cumbria and The Lakes Currency Project Ltd.

The Business

The Lakes Currency Project Ltd is the organisation behind the introduction and support of the ‘Lake District Pound’. It is incorporated as a private entity following the guidelines of a Community Interest Company to drive the LD£ initiative as a commercially sustainable project. The generation of revenue from the initiative will be directed in joint partnership with the Lake District Foundation to support vital sustainability projects in and around the National Park, and the Cumbria Community Foundation to support critical projects to help the poorer local communities.

Their long-term aim is to develop an element of autonomy and economic resilience within the Lake District and surrounding communities in response to the continually increasing impact of global tourism that often serves to impoverish rural areas.

The initiative has a number of mutually reinforcing objectives:


This is a fully funded PhD for a home/EU candidate* supported by the ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria project, led by the University of Cumbria. The University is committed to providing excellence in academic practice together with a supportive and stimulating environment in which to conduct your studies.

*Applicants qualifying for an international fee rate would be required to fund difference between Home/EU and international tuition fee rates

Application process

To apply please visit the website for details of the entry requirements which must be met and to access the application form. Under the Research Proposal section of the form please summarise your approach to the proposed project outlined in this advert under the following headings:  General Overview of Area, Identification of the Relevant Literature, Key Research Questions, Methodology, Timescale/Research Planning

Please include a covering letter telling us why you want to study for a PhD, what interests you about this project and highlight the skills and experience you will bring.

For any queries relating to admissions please contact Research Student Admissions  

If you wish to find out more about the project in the first instance please contact: Ken Royall, Chief Executive, The Lakes Currency Project Ltd. or Dr David Murphy, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria

Closing date: 23:59 Sunday 18 February 2018 

Interviews to be conducted in late February or early March. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation on their approach to the research proposal.