Research course

Science, technology and innovation

University of Sussex · School of Business, Management and Economics

Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree in a field related to science and technology policy, or several years of equivalent professional experience.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies
  • MPhil in Science and Technology Policy Studies
  • SPRU offers research courses (MPhil and PhD). The PhD may be achieved via two different routes:

    • doctoral research linked to prior study and research training in one of SPRU’s MSc degrees. This integrated course may be taken by UK and other EU students as an ESRCfunded 1+3 course. The expected duration of the combined course is about four years
    • as a stand-alone course of doctoral research undertaken by students whose prior research training in a relevant field has been equivalent to that provided by a SPRU MSc course. In this case the expected duration of the course is three years.

    SPRU’s research focuses on the growth, sustainability and responsible governance of science, technologies and innovation systems. We emphasise interdisciplinary interactions that underpin our distinctive perspective.

    Current research projects fall under three main headings:

    • Governance and sustainability
    • Innovation in firms and industries
    • National and international science and technology systems.

    These projects focus, for example, on strategy, structure and dynamics of innovating firms, research and technological change in high-tech industries, science and technology in developing countries, policy and regulation in energy and the environment, rethinking sustainable development, preventing the misuse of biological and chemical techniques, and the politics and economics of the ‘information society’.

    A major research theme concerns energy, climate change and sustainability, pursued via the Sussex Energy Group, and core membership of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the UK Energy Research Centre. SPRU also co-hosts (with IDS) the ESRC-funded STEPS (Social Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre.

    Recent research projects have included the following:

    Benchmarking the environmental performance of manufacturing firms

    Development of renewable energy technology in developing countries

    Developing practical ways for dealing with new risks and uncertainties

    Improved indicators of scientific, technical and environmental performance

    Innovation in energy networks to manage decentralised power

    Innovative management in collaborative software development networks

    Managing complex knowledge bases, skills and organisations

    Managing the development of integrated systems and services

    New perspectives on biomedical systems, especially genetics/genomics

    The management of innovation in firms, industries and countries

    The role of scientific evidence and expertise in public policy-making

    Practitioners with knowledge and competencies in these and similar fields are increasingly sought after internationally, and students engaged in research-degree study at SPRU can expect excellent career opportunities in a range of roles in the academic, business or public-sector arenas.

    Research training

    Although the MPhil and PhD research courses are assessed by thesis, you are expected to take assessed research and statistical methods modules. You may also be asked to take other specific modules in the first two terms, to fill gaps in your knowledge.

    The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.

    Thesis research topics

    SPRU attaches a high priority to integrating research students closely with its overall research activities. Thesis research topics may therefore cover a wide range of areas where this integration is possible. However, prospective applicants should consult the SPRU website to review in more detail the research interests of faculty and the current thesis topics of research students.

Department specialisms

For further information, visit the webpage below.

Information for international students

Please see link for information on international students' entry requirements:

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please

Qualification and course duration


full time
24-48 months
part time
36-72 months


full time
12-36 months
part time
24-48 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 872717