Data Driven Business Models Studentship

ESRC LISS DTP PhD Studentship on Data Driven Business Models

We are pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council ESRC (under the LISS DTP Partnership) to support a doctoral studentship to do research on data driven business models in smart city contexts. Whilst this is a fully supported studentship, applications are processed through the normal application procedure to the Imperial College Business School Doctoral Programme.

Please note that the deadline for applications is 8 January 2018. The successful candidate would start the Doctoral Programme in September 2018.

Data Driven Business Models for Smart City Platforms

Project description

‘Smart city’ initiatives have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Such initiatives seek to enhance the services provided by cities for their constituents (i.e., citizens, businesses, civic groups) through the application of digital technologies such as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). However, some 60 percent of smart city initiatives get stuck at the proof-of-concept and demonstration stages, and nearly one in two actually completed projects fail to meet their objectives. A key reason for this low success rate is an insufficient understanding of how to design and deploy data-intensive business models to facilitate service ecosystems where multiple stakeholders come together to co-create a seamless service offering. To address this gap, this project adopts an engaged scholarship and inductive case approach to induct effective practices to design data-intensive business models to operate such ecosystems. The project harnesses a deep technical understanding of smart city and data technologies and combines this with social science methods and appropriate theoretical lenses (e.g., business model design, digital affordances, and the service-dominant logic) to identify and induct business model design practices with which data resources can be efficiently harnessed to support multi-stakeholder service ecosystems. The empirical context of the project consists of cases of smart-city service ecosystems.

Project collaboration

This studentship is offered under the ESRC London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership LISS DTP.  The studentship will be carried out in collaboration between Imperial College Business School (supervised by Professor Erkko Autio) and Imperial College Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (co-supervised by Professor John Polak). The project will be also supported by Cisco, the Greater London Authority, and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, all of which will offer access to research cites and other support. During the empirical phase of the project, the student will spend time working on research sites and in the premises of Cisco in London Greenwich. It will also be possible that the student will visit some of the key smart cities in the world, including Songdo (South Korea), Barcelona (Spain), and Dubai (UAE).

Residency criteria

Applicants must meet Research Council UK eligibility requirements. This means that applicants should have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. For UK and EU applicants, residency is permissible if they have been in the UK for the purposes of full-time education; non-EU applicants would need to demonstrate that the purpose of their residency was not wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education.

Before submitting your application, please also read the Business School’s entry requirements and how to apply for the Doctoral programme. If you are interested in this project, please indicate this in your application.


Please address any queries regarding the research topic to Professor Erkko Autio.

If you have further queries about how to apply, please email Katherine Campbell.