Oxford Blavatnik School of Government 2021 Doctoral Scholarship

Oxford Blavatnik School of Government 2021 Doctoral Scholarship

The Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University announces the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government 2021 Doctoral Scholarship. This is a scholarship to work under the supervision of Dr Clare Leaver, Dr Martin J. Williams, and/or other Blavatnik School faculty members. It will be students looking to work on the topic of personnel management and performance in governments worldwide. The application deadline is 08 January 2021

About the Scholarship

Across the world governments are failing. This is not because they lack good policies, but because they lack the people to frame and to implement them. Recruiting, motivating and retaining brilliant, determined, and entrepreneurial people in the public service is an urgent but difficult challenge faced by countries across the world.

The People Lab – created by the Blavatnik School of Government, in partnership with Fundação BRAVA – aims to improve the motivation, responsiveness and effectiveness of people working in government, through collaborative research, direct engagement with the public and private sectors, and teaching.

The research programme envisions that the successful candidate will undertake research linked to the People Lab’s main goals and activities, ideally in close partnership with one or more governments.


This research could

  • either be designed and executed by the student alone,
  • co-designed and implemented through one of the People Lab’s government collaborations, or
  • a combination of these.

The research could include quantitative and/or qualitative methods.

Examples of projects could include

  • designing and experimentally evaluating personnel management policies in partnership with a government,
  • undertaking qualitative analysis of large-scale civil service reforms,
  • analysing administrative data to provide insight into the effects of career development or performance management structures, or
  • exploring innovative solutions to improve people in government motivation and effectiveness.

Although at least part of the DPhil will involve direct engagement in People Lab research, students will have substantial autonomy to craft the exact character of the questions posed in the DPhil within the broad outlines of the People Lab. People Lab encourages creativity including at the stage of submitting the research proposal for the DPhil project.

Eligibility Criteria

People Lab welcomes brilliant applicants from any relevant field of social science. These include

  • political science,
  • economics,
  • public policy,
  • management,
  • sociology,
  • law,
  • behavioural science or
  • organisational behaviour.

The Blavatnik School DPhil programme only accepts students if they already possess a research master’s degree or equivalent training.


Value of the Scholarship:

The scholarship cover full tuition fees, a stipend for living expenses, and costs of travel/research for three years for students of any nationality enrolled in the DPhil programme at the Blavatnik School. The funding is linked to the School’s People Lab, an international centre for excellence in original research and knowledge-to-practice in the area of people management.

How to Apply

Applicants will be assessed through the regular DPhil application process of the Blavatnik School. Please make clear in your DPhil application that you wish to apply for the People Lab scholarship.

For more information about the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government 2021 Doctoral Scholarship, visit the award website.

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