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Funded PhD Opportunities in Accounting and Financial Management

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. 

Results from the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) see us rise to 23rd place, climbing from our positions of 50th in 2014, and 80th in 2008.  Northumbria University is the sector’s largest riser in research power in the UK. 

Below you can find our available studentships for Accounting and Financial Management.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student. Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

Immigration Health Surcharge

If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.

Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England

Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see  

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of courses: 1 October 2023 TBC

Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/CHANDORKAR

The COP 26 conference in Glasgow 2021 has accelerated the need to reduce the reduce the gas emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this target, there is need to invest about $275 trillion dollars  and majority of this will come from the private sector. Against this backdrop companies across the world will have to finance their operations by issuing “green” financial securities i.e., the securities whose proceeds are used towards climate-friendly environmental projects. Green Bonds have been issued corporation for this purpose.  They rely on Third-party to certify that the proceeds are invested in environment-friendly projects. As such they are same as usual corporate bonds but with a “green promise”. (Caramichael & Rapp, 2022).

However, Wirz, (2021) and Fletcher & Oliver, (2022) raises serious concerns about “green” bonds and ESG investments. Flammer, (2021)  examine the performance of companies which have issued green bonds. She finds that investors react positively to the announcements of green bonds and the post-performance of the issuing companies improve. These findings are in line with the signalling channel.  The literature in this area is quite nascent and there are various avenues that can be pursued.

Venturini, (2022) presents a systematic review of literature about the impact of climate risk in the cross section of stock returns through economic, behavioural, and rational channels. One of the interesting findings is that although the pricing of climate risk is not yet fully captured in various asset classes yet using recent data it seems that different asset classes seem to be getting sensitive to climate change risk. If this is true one of the areas that could be studied is analysing equilibrium pricing of climate change risk in the cross section of stock returns from the perspective of liner factor asset pricing models. This may help us to identify a new source of systematic risk which could be related to climate-risk. (Pástor et al., 2021) study the equilibrium pricing of climate risk using a ESG factor which they call “green minus brown” portfolio using the firm’s ESG criteria and incorporate this in a two-factor asset pricing model.

They find that “green” stocks have negative CAPM alphas and “brown” stocks have positive CAPM alphas. However, whether such a factor that measures climate risk demands risk premium or not after controlling for various other sources of systematic risk is yet to be studied. Consequently, we may be able to price the climate-risk in the cross-section of security returns controlling for

A second area that can be used to study the effect of climate change risk in the cross section of stock returns is to develop novel data that incorporates meteorological information such as extreme-weather events and apply extreme value theory to understand the climate change risk in stock returns. This could use the traditional event study approach to see the sensitivities of various asset classes to extreme weather patterns and estimate cumulative abnormal r and buy-hold-returns following a weather incident.

This project is supervised by Dr Pankaj Chandorkar. for informal queries, please contact


Caramichael, J., & Rapp, A. C. (2022). The Green Corporate Bond Issuance Premium. International Finance Discussion Paper, 1346, 1–46.

Flammer, C. (2021). Corporate green bonds. Journal of Financial Economics, 142(2), 499–516.

Fletcher, L., & Oliver, J. (2022, February 20). Green investing: the risk of a new mis-selling scandal. The Financial Times.

Pástor, Ľ., Stambaugh, R. F., & Taylor, L. A. (2021). Sustainable investing in equilibrium. Journal of Financial Economics, 142(2), 550–571.

Venturini, A. (2022). Climate change, risk factors and stock returns: A review of the literature. In International Review of Financial Analysis (Vol. 79). Elsevier Inc.

Wirz, M. (2021, November 2). Bond Investors Challenge Wall Street Greenwashing. Wall Street Journal.



Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/SARHAN

Pandora papers and FinCEN files reveal that corruption has become a rising trend globally. Developing countries’ resources are exhausted, and developed countries (e.g., the UK) are used as hubs for tax avoidance and money laundry. Meanwhile, the growing number of corporate financial scandals reveals the importance of monitoring corporate corruption as an ethical, social, and economic issue (Blanc et al., 2018; Islam et al., 2018).

Corporate corruption is not restricted to specific economic, political, or social characteristics; it is a global phenomenon that has damaging results on businesses, economies, and societies (Nguyen & van Dijk, 2012; Zeume, 2017). International organisations (e.g., UN and OECD) and governments have recognised the destructive consequences of corruption on society’s welfare and economic health; therefore, they have issued guidance, conventions, or recommendations to fight corruption (Branco & Delgado, 2012; Islam et al., 2018). Recently, businesses have begun incorporating corruption prevention measures in their governance structure and/or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies (Branco & Delgado 2012; Blanc et al., 2019).

Businesses adoption/disclosure of corruption fighting measures is to avoid corruption negative economic and legal consequences or to reflect their ethical and CSR commitments (Luo, 2005; Islam et al., 2018). However, such measures’ competence in preventing corruption depends on whether businesses follow/disclose these measures as a complement to/integral component of their CSR agenda and not just a greenwashing technique. The recent evidence of corporate financial corruption worldwide encourages scholars to study corporate measures/disclosures to fight corruption and its impact on businesses in different contexts, particularly with the limited data/measures of corruption on the firm level.

Previous studies report that individuals, firm- and country-level factors affect organisational behaviour, including anti-corruption measures/disclosures (e.g., Ullah et al., 2019). This project will investigate corporate and national factors that determine corporate adoption/disclosure of anti-corruption measures in corporate communications, including annual reports. It also attempts to examine the effect of corporate anti-corruption commitment on business (e.g., market and accounting performance). Another proposed further research direction is to explore whether financial analysts care about anti-corruption measures in corporate communications. In doing so, it uses panel data analysis and employs a sample of firms listed in developed and developing countries during the last ten years.

This project is supervised by Dr Ahmed Sarhan. for informal queries, please contact


Blanc, R., Branco, M. C., & Patten, D. M. (2019). Cultural Secrecy and Anti‐corruption Disclosure in Large Multinational Companies. Australian Accounting Review, 29(2), 438-448.

Branco, M., & Delgado, C. (2012). Business, social responsibility, and corruption. Journal of Public Affairs, 12(4), 357-365.

Islam, M. A., Dissanayake, T., Dellaportas, S., & Haque, S. (2018). Anti-bribery disclosures: A response to networked governance. Accounting Forum, 42(1), pp. 3-16.

Luo, Y. (2005). An Organizational Perspective of Corruption. Management and Organization Review, 1(1), 119-154.

Nguyen, T. T. and M. A. van Dijk, (2012). Corruption, growth, and governance: Private vs. state -owned firms in Vietnam. Journal of Banking & Finance, 36, 2935–2948.

Ullah, S., Ahmad, S., Akbar, S., & Kodwani, D. (2019). International Evidence on the Determinants of Organizational Ethical Vulnerability. British Journal of Management, 30(3), 668-691.

Zeume, S. (2017). Bribes and firm value. Review of Financial Studies, 30(5), 1457-1489

Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/ZHANG

Climate change can pose significant risk to the financial system and economic activity (Giglio et al., 2021). Risk related to climate change i.e. climate risk, is classified into two broad categories: physical risk and transition risk. Physical risk stems from the direct impacts of changes in climate on the economy whilst transition risk arises from the transition towards a low-carbon economy. Physical and transition climate risk materialise through multiple transmission channels such as by influencing the consumer and investor sentiment, value of financial assets and borrowing costs on carbon-intensive investment. To mitigate and adapt to climate change, climate finance has been growing rapidly in recent years by diverting public and private financing from brown projects towards environmentally sustainable projects which helps to secure the financial resources needed to address the adverse climate effects. Climate finance also plays a key role in hedging against the risk posed by changes in climate through sharing and transferring of risk.  


The United Nation Principles for Responsible Investment highlights the importance of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decision-making, thereby promoting sustainable investment. The evolving regulatory agenda has led to a shift in the investment industry and preferences of investors, which is evidenced by the embedment of ESG in the portfolio allocation and business model. Accordingly, the growing ESG awareness has profound effects on firms’ financing conditions by aligning investment with sustainability (Avramov et al., 2022). In particular, ESG investing is an effective tool for climate risk management and portfolio rebalancing as climate change forms a focal dimension of ESG considerations.


Despite the ongoing work with respect to climate finance and ESG investing, considerable challenges remain to understand the integration of climate risk and ESG and how to effectively manage climate risk. Further research is therefore needed to contribute to achieving tangible progress in mitigating climate change and creating long-term value for investors, firms and governments. The aim of this PhD project is to explore the impact and propagation of climate risk in financial markets as well as its interaction with ESG issues. Seeking to understand: 1) whether and to what extent climate risk is incorporated into ESG investing; 2) the time-varying nature and heterogeneity in exposure to climate change across firms and financial assets by virtue of the aggregate attribute of climate risk; 3) systemic risk to the financial system arising from climate change, this project invites theoretical and empirical contributions to offer insights into the relevant phenomena.


It is expected that the applicant would have a good working knowledge of statistical software such as R, Stata, Matlab or Python.

This project is supervised by Dr Dongna Zhang. For informal queries, please contact


Avramov, D., Cheng, S., Lioui, A. and Tarelli, A., 2022. Sustainable investing with ESG rating uncertainty. Journal of Financial Economics, 145(2), pp.642-664.

Giglio, S., Kelly, B. and Stroebel, J., 2021. Climate finance. Annual Review of Financial Economics, 13, pp.15-36.

Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/CABRAS1

Craft breweries are defined by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) as independent businesses which use traditional methods and ingredients in the brewing process and operate autonomously from larger corporations. Mirroring international trends (see Garavaglia and Swinnen, 2018), the number of craft breweries in the UK increased significantly in the last two decades, passing from 140 to 2,300 between 2000 and 2022 (BBPA, 2022). Craft breweries progressively passed from serving a localised niche market of pubs and small wholesalers predominantly located within their spatial proximity, to supplying distributors and customers located in the UK and overseas.

Craft breweries have been hit hard by the recent pandemic crisis. The closure of pubs, bars, and restaurants imposed by many governments worldwide shut down a key route to market for craft breweries, forcing them to reconfigure their business models, shifting a substantial proportion of sales to private custom mainly using online websites and marketplaces, and turning to local communities for support. Many breweries managed to survive this challenging period, although the post-pandemic world has been so far characterised by high-inflation and high-energy prices and uncertainty related to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. These issues will impact on the future of craft beer in the UK, as they will affect policies in support to the sector, for instance the review of the Small Brewers Relief (SBR), and other initiatives such as changes of the Alcohol Duty System, planned for early 2023. What will be the outcomes for UK craft breweries? What will be the economic and social impacts associated with changes in policies affecting the sector? And, how can future trajectories for the sector be modelled for and/or predicted?

The objective of this PhD proposal is to investigate SMEs operating in the UK craft brewing sector by examining their spatial and contextual factors. The proposal will focus on multiple aspects – economic and locational dimensions, entrepreneurial phenomenon, business models - related to craft breweries. It will examine the impact of the reforms to breweries under the move to SBR, for instance whether the Governments’ planned reforms will allow small breweries to grow, including any indirect that may affect bars and pubs. The project will also investigate fiscal changes in taxation and alcohol duties and their impact on breweries e.g. whether a lower duty will result in more lower alcohol products, or how larger multinational breweries could use it to underprice small ones.

The project will benefit from collaborating with SIBA, The Beeronomics Society, and other organisations in view of analysing data and information acquired from their members and non-members. Findings aim to support craft breweries as well as businesses operating in other sectors, providing a fresh instrument to policymakers and practitioners operating in the beer and brewing industry.

We would expect applicants to outline one potential methodological approach, mainly quantitative, and justify its potential appropriateness to the study including its strengths and limitations. Given the paucity of empirical studies on this theme, the study is likely to generate significant interest among practitioners and policymakers.

This project is supervised by Professor Ignazio Cabras. For informal queries, please contact


Shakina, E., & Cabras, I. (2022). How do beer prices vary across different pubs? An empirical study. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 34(5), 1984-2003.

Cabras, I., Lorusso, M. & Waehning, N. (2020), Measuring the economic contribution of beer festivals on local economies: The case of York, United Kingdom. International Journal of Tourism Research. 22 (6): 739-750

Cabras I., Higgins D. and Preece D. (2016) Beer, Brewing and Pubs: a Global Perspective. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Cabras I. and Bamforth C. (2016): ‘From reviving tradition to fostering innovation and changing marketing: The evolution of micro-brewing in UK and US 1980-2012‘. Business History 58(5): 625-646  


Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/SOROUR


The United Nations (UN) member states have adopted an ambitious plan in 2015 known as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.” (Schramade, 2017). This plan is expressed in 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and about 169 targets, against which countries can measure their progress on achieving these objectives.

Whilst there is a key responsibility on the UN member states to facilitate the achievement of these objectives due to their global societal nature, given their transformational nature a more orchestrated approach that includes contributions from various stakeholders is essential (Musa, Sorour and Mathuva, 2022; United Nations 2015). This is line with growing voices in the social responsibility literature that societal problems cannot remain as a responsibility for the state to solely address, but other non-state actors including businesses must participate in resolving these problems facing the society where they operate (Sorour, Shrives, El-Sakhawy and Soobaroyen, 2021; Bradly and Nathan, 2019).

This raises the important question of how far profit-seeking organisations are prepared to take-up this responsibility and consciously and consistently contribute to the realisation of the SDGS? In fact, this is more of a corporate governance question, as the corporate governance system defines what objectives the business will serve? (Letza, Kirkbride, Sun and Smallman (2008).

This project will investigate how corporate governance facilitates or inhibits the realisation of the SDGs at the micro-level. The project will adopt a qualitative approach of enquiry and is expected to engage with qualitative research methods to collect primary data using for instance interviews or focus groups as well as relevant published reports.

This project is supervised by Professor Karim Sorour. for informal queries, please contact


-Mangena, M., Sorour,M.K. and Mathuva, G. (2022). Introduction to Special Issue on Corporate Governance and Sustainble Development Goals in Africa,Corporate Governance (In press).

-Letza, S., Kirkbride, J., Sun, X., & Smallman, C. (2008). Corporate governance theorising: limits, critics and alternatives. International Journal of law and management.


-Schramade, W. (2017). Investing in the UN sustainable development goals. Available at SSRN 2968791.


-Sorour, M. K., Shrives, P. J., El-Sakhawy, A. A., & Soobaroyen, T. (2020). Exploring the evolving motives underlying corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosures in developing countries: the case of “political CSR” reporting. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.


-United Nations General Assembly, 2015. Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New York



Advert Reference: RDF23/AFM/CABRAS2

Public procurement accounts for a significant proportion of demand for goods and services in the UK economy. In 2012/13, just after the financial crisis, the public sector spent a total of £230 billion on procurement of goods and services (including capital assets); this accounted for 34% of total managed expenditure (Parliament 2014). It is also widely recognised that public expenditure in regions and sub-regions represents a highly significant direct input into the local economies that sustain communities across the UK (McLean Report 2003). The resources used in the delivery of public services are therefore substantial, but there is relatively little systematic information concerning the impact of public procurement on local economies (Connolly 2004). 

The 2008 financial crisis and the significant contraction of public expenditure that followed hit thousands of local businesses and communities, many suffered important losses not only in relation to commissioned work, but also about the shrinking of business opportunities available within the local supply chain. The impact of these changes was felt in many communities until, more recently, the disruption brought by Covid19, combined with the implications of Brexit, further exacerbated the context. As a result, several local economics are now struggling to recover in the current situation, making government’s objective of pursuing a sustained economic growth in the post-pandemic era challenging to achieve.

This research project focuses on the role of public procurement and purchasing in shaping local economies and communities in post-crises times. The project will examine issues related to procurement practice and procedures at different administrative levels. The overall objective of this study is to map and measure the economic impact of public procurement in terms of minimising waste and ‘plugging the leaks’ in the retention of resources at a local level, capturing lessons in terms of resilience or ‘bounce-back’ effects.

This proposal brings together two areas of policy-related research that have until now been mostly considered as separate issues: public procurement and local economic stimuli; these concern the assessment of the impacts of public expenditure on local economies and the efficiency benefits of procurement processes within public authorities. Findings are likely to be of relevance to businesses, practitioners, and policymakers, and therefore the project is expected to achieve positive societal impacts.

In terms of methodology, applicants would be expected to outline one potential methodological approach, either qualitative or quantitative, and justify its potential appropriateness to the study (including its strengths and limitations). The Supervisory Team will be led by Professor Ignazio Cabras, Head of the Accounting and Financial Management Department. The supervisory Team will include Professors Joyce Liddle and John Shutt, from the Department of Leadership and Human Resources Management.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Prof Ignazio Cabras. For informal queries, please contact 


Shand, R., Parker, S., Liddle, J., Spolander, G., Warwick, L., Ainsworth, S. (2022) After the applause: understanding public management and public service ethos in the fight against Covid – 19. Public Management Review [forthcoming]

Elliott, I., Bottom, K., Carmichael, P., Liddle, J., Martin, S., Pyper, R. (2022) The fragmentation of public administration: Differentiated and decentered governance in the (dis)United Kingdom. Public Administration [forthcoming]

Weber, G., Cabras, I., Ometto, P., & Peredo, A. M. (2021). Direct Management of COVID-19 at National and Subnational Level: The Case of the Western Amazon Countries. Public Organization Review 21: 741-757


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