Posted on: 26 September, 2019
Application deadline: November 1, 2019

Funded PhD Scholarship,Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Requirements: The candidate should have a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in urban planning, real estate, geography, regional or urban economy or cognate disciplines. Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, no sub-test less than 6.0, if the first language is not English. This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality.

This PhD studentship should be of interest to those who are passionate about housing and planning, quality of life and sustainable development, and those energised by using data and mapping to reveal how those who involve in shaping living environment interact with each other. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and prepared for challenges. Relevant capacities and skills may include:

  • Strong interest in planning systems and tools, and land and housing development
  • Institutional analysis
  • Cognitive mapping and visualization skills

However, the core requirement is for an enquiring mind with a passion and enduring personality with a determination.

Degree: The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.


The PhD studentship is available for three years subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year. The scholarship holder is expected to carry out the major part of his or her research at XJTLU in Suzhou, China. However, he or she is eligible for a research study visit to the University of Liverpool of up to three months, if this is required by the project.

Project Description: It becomes central to China’s pursuit of quality development to re-emphasise functional instead of investment attributes of housing given problems related to housing over-speculation. Globally proactive planning tools have been used to incentivise developments towards liveable environment, although their varied  and complex practices remain under-researched. Through comparative case studies incorporating cognitive mapping and institutional approach, this  research aims to examine how planning incentives can be used in housing development to improve quality of life with in-depth analysis and visualisation of findings. It unveils the mechanisms that conceptualise liveable developments, select tools and change motivations and interactions among stakeholders, which has the potential to reshape public-private relations under China’s `newtype urbanisation’.

This studentship involves three principal areas of investigation:

  1. Determine the liveability implications on housing development in the urbanistaion and inventory era.
  2. Examine the adaptation of planning incentivization in light of international comparison and model the complex processes and interactions to facilitate collaborative decision-making and flexible development management.
  3. Conceptualise the mechanisms of changing roles, relations and interactions among public and private sectors in China.

For more information about doctoral scholarship and PhD programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU): Please visit

How to Apply: Interested applicants are advised to email the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line).

  • CV
  • Two reference letters with company/university letterhead
  • Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
  • Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 6.5 or above)
  • Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • PDF copy of Master Degree dissertation (or an equivalent writing sample) and examiners reports available

Demonstrable evidence of training in social sciences research methods and a keen interest in housing, living environment or the role of public and private mechanisms are also desirable. This may be evidenced either by previous academic work, through  recent undergraduate or postgraduate studies, or through practice-based experience.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Yunqing Xu (, whose personal profile is linked here

Further details can be found here: