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Award details

“A Philosophy of Open Science for Diverse Research Environments” (PHIL_OS), Work Package 3: “Empirical Studies of Open Science in Diverse Research Environments” PhD studentships Ref: 4372

About the award


University of Exeter, Streatham Campus (Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis)

Project Description:

These PhD studentships are part of a lively and cutting-edge project in the philosophy of science, seeking to provide empirical and conceptual understanding of the implications of Open Science policies for everyday research practice. In particular, the project is interested in how Open Science can be applied in highly diverse and often unequal research environments, where researchers may have very different understandings of what “openness” means and different capacity to engage in Open Science activities (see

To help advance existing understandings of what Open Science means to researchers on the ground, each PhD project will explore how the characteristics of one specific research site, including conceptual perspectives as well as material and social infrastructures, affect the interpretation and implementation of Open Science. Working closely with the Principal Investigator and project partners, students will conduct a 6-month-long ethnographic study of a research site. They will then use the resulting data to analyse local efforts to implement Open Science, and the relation between such efforts and research practices and outcomes.

To help with comparison and capitalise on the existing contacts and expertise of the Principal Investigator, all the subprojects will focus on institutes for plant and agricultural research (a field that has received little attention in science studies relatively to physics and biomedicine, and yet is fundamental to addressing current and future environmental challenges). The choice of each site will be finalised by the applicants at the start of the PhD project, based on the applicants’ interests/skills and the projects’ existing contacts. The choice of which aspects the PhD thesis shall focus on is also completely up to the students, also depending on whether they aim to get a PhD in Sociology, Philosophy or Anthropology, and will be supported by the supervisor and wider project team.

The Egenis centre and the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology will provide training in ethnographic methods to the students who do not have that background, and/or teaching in relevant scholarship in the philosophy and social studies of science for students who come from a science background.

Useful links:

For general information about this studentship and the application process, please contact

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Professor Sabina Leonelli, email

Egenis staff members as appropriate for the student in question (for a list of relevant staff, see:

Entry requirements

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours first degree, or international equivalent, in philosophy, history, social studies and/or biology and have obtained, or be currently working towards, a Master’s degree at Merit level or international equivalent, in philosophy, history and/or social studies and/or biology. Experience in Science and Technology Studies and/or History and Philosophy of Science is desirable. Proficiency in languages other than English is also desirable. 

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests. 

Residency entry requirements:

UK and EU/International. This studentship, including full tuition fees and maintenance allowance, is available to UK and EU/International candidates.

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter, and details of two academic referees. Your covering letter should be at least two pages long and should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project. 

You will be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided. 

You must arrange for your referees to email their references to from their institutional email accounts by the application deadline. Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted by your referees. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

Interviews will be held remotely in the week commencing 21 March 2022.

Please quote reference 4372 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.


Application deadline:21st February 2022
Number of awards:3
Value:UK and EU/International rate tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate of £15,609 per year (2022/23 rate)
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office