PhD studentship in Investigation on Financial Risk Among Belt Road Initiative Countries (2020 entry)
 Reference: 2003BRI_EMS
 Length of Scholarships: up to 36 months, subject to satisfactory progression
 Programme PhD Economics 
 School/Department School of Economics
 Place:  1
 Closing Date:  15 May 2020
Applicants must have Economics or Finance background with good data analysis/statistics skills


The available PhD scholarships cover:

  • Tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend (RMB4,500)
  • Medical insurance with designate 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 complete Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training) or research assistant duties at UNNC from second year.

Available PhD research areas:

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

Title of the theme: Financial Risk Among Belt Road Initiative Countries and Its Impact on Financing Decisions 

The aim of this project is to develop a risk assessment framework for the One Belt One Road initiative, which employs both theoretical as well as big data-driven real-time measurement aspects so as to be capable of delivering a comprehensive risk measure which balances both current and forward-looking risk indicators. Key references are such as Hurley, Morris, and Portelance (2018), Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective, Center for Global Development, and Debt Sustainability Framework or Participating Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, The Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China (2019).

To this end, the project aims to build a rich database of real-time data comprising all systemically relevant actors within the BRI initiative, such as participating regions and countries as well as supranational governance and funding bodies. Based on existing and novel conceptual methodologies, the project aims to identify and analyze potential risk factors at both micro and macro levels and to employ a dynamic and real-time big data-driven system in order to assesses systemic finance/debt risk within the BRI network. 

Based on the analysis derived from our novel BRI risk assessment framework we intend to create impact by generating valuable policy recommendations for ongoing BRI financing decisions as well as the optimal design of incentive structures and finance vehicles.

Informal inquiries may be addressed to Dr. Eric Michael Scheffel ( and Dr. Chaoyan Wang ( but formal applications should follow the instructions in ‘How to apply’ section. 

PhD programme structure

PhD programmes at the UNNC are composed of 3 years research and submission is expected within 3 years for full-time students. 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.