Open Society Institute and Staffordshire University Scholarship Scheme

MPhil/PhD in Economics: Distance Learning Mode
Notes for Guidance 2010 Entry
Aims:  The Open Society Foundation and Staffordshire University Business School jointly invite applications from university graduates with outstanding academic qualifications for five scholarships on the MPhil/PhD in Economics programme by Distance Learning mode. This scheme aims to support the reform of the higher education system in Central and East European countries by providing opportunities for younger university teachers and researchers to gain access to West European higher education and to pursue research in Economics at an advanced level, leading to an MPhil or a PhD degree.

Operation of the Scheme:

In the academic year 2010-2011, the scheme will be offered to candidates from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Montenegro. There are five scholarships available in this round. The scheme offers the opportunity for the beneficiaries to spend a part of each year at Staffordshire University, but also requires them to complete most of their research work in their own institution, thus ensuring that they will remain in the region and continue to be active members of their home institutions. The beneficiaries must undertake to remain in the region for at least two years after the completion of their doctoral programme.

Distance Learning Mode:

The scheme requires the successful candidates to enrol on the MPhil/PhD programme at Staffordshire University. Each year, they will spend 3-4 months of their time at the University and the remaining part at their home institutions.

In the first year of the programme, candidates will reside in Stoke on Trent for four months, during the first semester, attending a number of taught modules (including research methods in economics) and preparing a proposal for their thesis. In subsequent years, they will return to Stoke on Trent for three months each year, to work on the completion of their thesis and, in some cases, take additional courses. These subsequent stays may be scheduled in a way that minimises conflict with their teaching or other duties.

All candidates will be assigned a thesis supervisor at Staffordshire University who will remain in regular contact with them (by post, fax, e-mail, and the Internet) when they return to their home institution, and who will require them to submit their work at regular intervals. The supervisor will also visit the candidate once a year at their home institution. Candidates are expected to allocate a portion of their time (on average 15-20 hours per week) to working on their research while away from the University. The home institution may be required to confirm, in writing, that the candidate will be allowed sufficient time and given other support to work on her/his thesis.

Local Advisor:

Candidates are also required to have a Local Advisor in their home country with proven expertise in their chosen area of research. Normally, the Local Advisor will hold a doctorate in economics or have demonstrated research ability via the publication of papers in refereed academic journals. She/he may hold a position in a university, research institution, government ministry or a similar organisation. She/he must agree to be the Local Advisor of the candidate by signing the relevant section of the application form. The Local Advisor must be acceptable to Staffordshire University and will be asked to provide a short CV, along with any supporting documentation that may be deemed necessary. The role of the ‘Local Advisor’ is to: encourage the scholar in her/his work, provide the scholar with advice on the subject of her/his research, help the scholar with local sources of information relevant to her/his research, and comment on the written work of the scholar. The Local Advisor should be informed that she/he would undertake this role on a voluntary basis.

MPhil and PhD:

Normally, candidates initially enrol on the MPhil programme. Subject to satisfactory progress, they will be able to transfer to the PhD programme, probably in the second year of their study. Candidates who already have a Masters degree (including a ‘research methods’ course) may be able to enrol directly on the PhD programme. For further details of the MPhil/PhD programme, please see the following web-site:

http://www.staffs.ac.uk/study_here/courses/research-degrees-tcm4214220.jsp

Duration of Scholarships:

Scholarships are granted for a period of up to 4 years, subject to the satisfactory progress of candidates and their continued association with a university or research institution in the region.

Financial Details:

The OSF will cover the cost of travel between the home countries of the candidates and Stoke-on-Trent (including the cost of obtaining a UK visa) and provide them with a maintenance grant (£767 per month in 2009-2010), a book allowance of £200 per year during their stay in the United Kingdom, and a thesis allowance of £301 at the time of submitting their thesis. The OSF and Staffordshire University will jointly cover the tuition fee and the cost of supervision, including the annual visit to the candidate’s home institution.

Eligibility:

Applicants should:

• Be nationals of and normally resident in one of the following: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia or the Republic of Montenegro during the academic year in which they apply for the award; applicants who are temporarily out of the country at the time of application (for a total period of less than 3 consecutive months) may be treated as being resident;
• Hold a first degree (the equivalent of a BA degree) with good grades in economics or related disciplines;
• Hold a teaching or research position, as an assistant, a junior lecturer or researcher, at a higher education, research or public sector institution in one of the countries in the scheme;
• Be able to demonstrate their knowledge of English by passing a TOEFL (ITP) or IELTS test at an appropriate level by the time interviews are held for these scholarships, or by other means (such as having completed an academic programme in English at another institution, or having obtained a satisfactory mark in one of the above-mentioned tests at a date no earlier than January 2009);
• Return to their home countries at the end of their scholarship period.

Areas of Study and Selection Criteria:

Candidates may apply to undertake research in any area of theoretical or applied economics. Candidates will be selected on the basis of: (a) their potential to complete a PhD in economics successfully, and (b) the availability of relevant supervisory capacity in their chosen areas of research both at Staffordshire University and their home institution.

This year, applications are invited in the following areas:

• Corporate governance and enterprise performance
• Foreign direct investment and its impacts
• Monetary policy and the financial sector
• International and European economics
• International trade, competitiveness and economic development
• Economic consequences of national and ethnic conflicts
• Economics of small and medium sized firms and SME policy
• Entrepreneurship
• Economics of purchasing and supply chain.

Application Procedure:

Applicants must complete the joint OSI-Staffordshire University application form and submit it together with a number of additional documents, specified therein. Application forms may be obtained from: local Soros Foundation/Educational Advising Center offices in Podgorica, Prishtina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana or Zagreb, or from Mrs Jenny Herbert, International Links Administrator, Staffordshire University Business School, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 2DF, U.K. (email: j.herbert@staffs.ac.uk). The electronic version of this document is available on the PhD programme website at the address given above.

Application documents may be either typed or hand-written in dark ink. Copies (not the originals) of university diplomas and transcripts (list of subjects studied and their marks or grades) must be enclosed with the application. The English translation of documents is not necessary at this stage. If candidates are accepted, they will subsequently be required to present the original documents with official translations for verification when they first arrive at Staffordshire University. Application forms and all supporting documents must be delivered to the local Soros Foundation/Educational Advising Center office or the University, in person or sent by post or fax to arrive by 25 January 2010. Applicants are required to submit two copies of the application package: one original and one photocopy of the entire application package. Applicants are requested not to use any staples on their applications and documents.

Selection Procedure:

All applications will be sent to Staffordshire University Business School directly or by the local Soros Foundation/Educational Advising Center offices. They will be considered by a selection committee who will prepare a short list of applicants. Short-listed candidates will be notified by the second week of March 2010 and invited to take an English language test. The language tests will be conducted in the second half of March 2010 at the local Soros Foundation/Educational Advising Center offices. Candidates who pass the English language test will be invited for interviews which will be arranged in late April/early May 2010.

The final decision as to which applicants will be offered scholarships will be made after the completion of all interviews. It is expected that applicants will be informed of the final decision by the end of May 2010. The academic year starts in September but successful applicants may be required to attend some courses in August 2010.

Further Information about Staffordshire University:

Further information on Staffordshire University and the Business School may be obtained by visiting the University’s Web Site at http://www.staffs.ac.uk/ and the Business School’s homepage at

http://www.staffs.ac.uk/faculties/business/

Candidates may also contact Mrs Jenny Herbert, by telephone, fax or e-mail if they have any further queries about the operation of the scheme.

Direct line: 0044-1782-294065
Fax: 0044-1782-294340
E-mail: j.herbert@staffs.ac.uk

Please note that OSF and Staffordshire University do not accept any responsibility for applications which may be lost in the post. The selection committee will consider only those applications which it has received. Decisions of the selection committee are final.

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  1. It is expected that applicants will be informed of the final decision by the end of May 2010. The academic year starts in September but successful applicants may be required to attend some courses in August 2010.

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