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ESRC LISS DTP PhD Studentship on Data Driven Business Models

Imperial College Business School, Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Deadline of applications January 8, 2018

ICBS Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship are pleased to announce a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council ESRC (under the LISS DTP Partnership) to support a doctoral studentship for 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 – see link to applications here.

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

Details of this studentship are provided below.

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).


Please address any queries regarding the research topic to professor Erkko Autio (

For information on how to apply, please visit this link or email

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