Funded PhD Opportunity Strengthening Civil Society in Central Asia

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Social Work and Social Policy


Autocratic states limit freedom of expression and see civil society as potentially threatening to the status quo. As a result, such states tend to suppress attempts aimed at strengthening the role of civil society organisations or incorporate them into the state through funding relationships which restrict their independence. Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) is one such region where largely autocratic leaders have been responsible for weak civil society through restrictions on funding opportunities, strict laws on registration, bureaucratic reporting mechanisms, and rigorous oversight of their work.

This research project is aimed at exploring the existing role of civil society organisations in Central Asia, the potential for strengthening their functions, in particular holding autocratic governments to account, and as a mechanism for more deliberative processes which embrace the wider principle of open government.

The proposed project will have a strong social policy dimension congruent with the DTA programme, has an international placement in Central Asia, and will co-ordinate the activities of the successful student through Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan which has a research record in this field of scholarship.

For further information on this opportunity please see here:

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)


    DTA - Social Policy

The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme through the COFUND Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA3), under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 8 October 2018
Interview Date
November 2018

Contact Supervisor

Dr Karl O'Connor

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #309808 when applying for this PhD opportunity