Global Challenges Cambodia PhD Scholarship

Royal Holloway, University of London is proposing to fund a doctoral studentship in Geography for a Cambodian national starting from 1 September 2020 for 3 years, full-time.  In addition to covering overseas tuition fees this scholarship offers a maintenance award of £17,009 per annum.

The scholarship is connected to The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), from which Royal Holloway has received funding to support the study “Focusing a gendered lens on climate resilience, credit, and nutrition in translocal Cambodia and South India” (2019-2023). The GCRF is a fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.

Focus of the GCRF study

Small-scale credit is exalted in mainstream development thinking as a key means of supporting women and their families in dealing with daily, ongoing, and often slow-onset climate disasters. Facing growing crises of agricultural productivity from droughts and floods, and taking primary responsibility for the nutritional wellbeing of their households, women are targeted as credit borrowers globally. Credit provisioning therefore speaks to the push for ‘resilience’ against climate disasters that is central to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’, and which has serious implications for SDG 5 ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ that prioritises the valuing and recognition of women’s unpaid care and domestic work. How do we ensure, then, that ‘climate resilience’ does not come at the cost of women’s emotional and bodily depletion through processes of household nutrition provisioning? This is the key concern motivating the GCRF study in Cambodia and India (Tamil Nadu).

Focus of the doctorate

This opportunity is open to candidates from any social science academic discipline who wish to embark on a doctorate in Human Geography on a topic sympathetic to the GCRF study and primarily using qualitative methods. The scholarship provides an exciting and unique opportunity for an emerging scholar to research in one or more areas in Cambodia, ideally from a gendered perspective:

  • Social reproduction and family life
  • Financial inclusion
  • Climate change resilience

The award-holder will also play a part in the life of the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway. They will join one of the UK’s strongest Geography Departments, with research specialisms in cultural and historical geography, development, environmental sustainability, geopolitics and Quaternary science. Further information about the Department can be found at The doctoral research will be supervised by academic staff at Royal Holloway, University of London, including Professor Katherine Brickell (

Royal Holloway is based in Egham, Surrey and is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London.

Person specification

Applications will be assessed according to their academic merits as well as the research design of the proposed project, potential academic and non-academic impact, as well as the preparedness and suitability of the candidate for doctoral study. Candidates must have completed both undergraduate and Master’s level study in social science subjects. They will also need to hold an internationally-recognised English language qualification at the following level:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other sub score lower than 5.5
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other sub score lower than 51
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26

How to apply

Applications should be made via our online portal: Royal Holloway Direct.

Your application will require your research proposal, copies of your academic transcripts, English language scores, and names and contact details of two referees, ideally academic.

Once your application has been submitted online, please email the Recruitment and Scholarships Administration Manager for the Doctoral School ( with your CV and a copy of your research proposal.

The research proposal should not exceed 4 pages of A4. It should be divided as follows: (1) title, (2) introduction, (3) short review of literature, (4) aims and objectives of your proposed research, (5) information on research design and methods, and (6) ethical considerations.

The deadline for applications to the Global Challenges PhD Scholarship is midnight, 2 March 2020.

First interviews may be held in Cambodia.

Further information

Further information about applying to undertake doctoral research can be found on our web pages:

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Professor Katherine Brickell (


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