September 2024 Philanthropy PhD Studentship Opportunity

Saturday 3 February 2024

The Department of Management at the University of St Andrews is offering a competitive PhD studentship commencing September 2024. As part of this, we are inviting exceptional graduates to submit a research proposal on the theme of “Foundation Governance and Leadership: Investigating Governance Structures and Leadership Dynamics in Philanthropic Foundations

Background: Philanthropy plays a prominent part in advancing societal change: from supporting healthcare and education, to tackling environmental challenges and humanitarian crises, or advocating for social justice, equality, and empowerment. Here, foundations, as the institutional expressions of philanthropy, wield particular power. Despite the global growth in foundation numbers and assets, knowledge and understanding of these organisational forms, particularly their governance structures and leadership dynamics, remains limited. Taking a qualitative approach, this PhD project is expected to contribute to academic and practice understanding of the area by: (i) examining Scottish foundations’ governance structures and board compositions, including questions of diversity, expertise, and representation; (ii) considering the role of boards, trustees, and executive leadership in shaping foundations’ strategic initiatives, and/or; (iii) exploring how leadership dynamics between trustees and executive leadership relate to foundations’ overall governance and mission fulfilment. The precise casting of the studentship around these themes is open to, and expected to be shaped by, the applicant, who will be supervised by Professors Tobias Jung and John Ferguson. Outcomes from the work are expected to both strengthen theory on foundations and offer practical insights for foundation governance.

The Studentship will comprise a stipend at UKRI level (for 2023/24 this is set at £18,622) and full tuition fees (UK/International) for three years, plus a number of additional benefits as outlined in the full advert at The application deadline is 15th March 2024.

If you are interested in discussing this opportunity, please get in touch for an initial chat by emailing tj3[at]

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