PhD Scholarship in China-Central and East European Countries Relations (2020 Entry)
 Reference: 2003BRI_EK
 Length of Scholarships: up to 36 months, subject to satisfactory progression
 Programme  PhD History and Politics 
School/Department School of International Studies
 Place:  1
 Closing Date:  15 May 2020 


The available PhD scholarships cover:

  • Tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend (RMB4,500)
  • Medical insurance with designated providers
  • All above items are covered for up to 36 months based on satisfactory progression
  • All regulations set out in the UNNC PGR Scholarship Policy apply

In addition to the above scholarship, successful candidates also have the opportunity to carry out paid teaching (after the completion of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training) or research assistant duties at UNNC since second year of their PhD programmes.

Available PhD research areas:

The above scholarship is to support research projects outlined under the following theme: 

Title of the theme: China’s Relations with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe: A New Model for Region-Building or Yet Another Great Game?

This call invites applications interested in the examination of the political, economic, and social impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Europe. The focus will be on the so-called ‘17+1’ mechanism, which brings together China and 17 Central and Easter European (CEE) countries. The intention is to examine the impact of China-CEE relations on the broader pattern of China’s relations with Europe, on the one hand, and realignments within Europe, on the other. Situated within the broader framework of the BRI, the ‘17 + 1’ has provided a unique regional arrangement for extending Chinese influence in the CEE countries. The investigation will examine:

  • whether the ‘17+1’ offers a new form of Chinese-led region-building, which underscores connectivity, diversity, and cross-cultural cosmopolitanism; or
  • whether it presents a new version of the old rivalry of great powers for regional influence that presaged two world wars.

With the aim of taking stock of the existing China-CEE relationship, this project will critically assess the implications of the “17+1”. To achieve this goal, the proposal will focus on four distinct, yet mutually reinforcing levels of analysis: 1) geopolitical, 2) geoeconomic, 3) historical, and 3) socio-cultural. At all these four levels the academic and policy implications of the research will be imbricated so as to provide a meaningful and relevant framework for the explanation and understanding of the “17+1” mechanism. The projected research intends to develop a comprehensive overview of China-CEE relationship with the aim of providing a framework for the meaningful explanation and understanding of the evolution, present dynamics, and future trajectories of the “17+1” mechanism.

Informal inquiries may be addressed to LDS Chair Professor Emilian Kavalski (emilian.kavalski@nottingham.edu.cn), but formal applications should follow the instructions in ‘How to apply’ section. Please specify 2003BRI_EK as scholarship reference code when submitting application. 


PhD programme structure

PhD programmes at the UNNC are composed of 3 years research and a 1 year thesis pending period for full time PhDs. Full time PhDs are expected to submit their theses within a maximum of four years from initial registration. PhD supervision is undertaken jointly by academics from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) and the University of Nottingham UK (UNUK). On successful completion, students will be awarded the University of Nottingham PhD degree, and no reference will be made on the degree certificate as to where the degree has been completed. The University of Nottingham PhD degree will be accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education.




Applicants must have a first class honours undergraduate degree or 65% and above for a Masters’ degree from a British university, or the equivalent from other institutions.

Applicants must meet the required English language proficiency for the relevant subject area. IELTS 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all elements) or its equivalent is required for Faculty of Science and Engineering (FoSE) scholarship applicants.

More details can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ page of the website.


How to apply

No separate application is required for applying for a scholarship but please make sure you quote the scholarship reference number in your PhD application form. It normally takes 7-8 weeks for a final decision to be made after the closing date. List of required documents can be found on the ‘how to apply’ page.