PhD position on Migrants’ post-pandemic experiences of homelessness in the UK and Sweden (University of Portsmouth)

PhD position: A comparative study of migrants’ post-pandemic experiences of homelessness in the UK and Sweden

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2024. 

The PhD will be based in the Centre for European and International Studies Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be supervised by Professor Simon StewartDr Sara Svensson and Dr Charles Leddy-Owen.

The successful applicant will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 research allowance to cover conference/ training costs and consumables.

Costs for student visas and immigration health surcharges are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Participating in a split-site PhD programme and receiving supervision from scholars in the UK and Sweden.
  • Using qualitative methods to research migrants’ experiences homelessness in two cities: Portsmouth and Gothenburg.
  • Being trained at the Access to Justice immigration advice clinic and gaining work experience.
  • The opportunity to teach on modules in the School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (up to 6 hours per week during term time) and attain Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Your project will provide a comparative study of migrant homelessness in the post-pandemic context, across two countries (the UK and Sweden). During the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government’s Everyone In initiative was supported by a £3.2 million emergency fund that was used to provide temporary accommodation for those experiencing homelessness in England. Crucially, there was a suspension of immigration-related eligibility criteria and this meant that many migrants with no recourse to public funds received homelessness support for the first time. However, more research is needed on what has happened to the migrant homeless population since the pandemic, and since the Everyone In initiative ended. Sweden did not have a comparable initiative and the country’s attempts to improve the housing situation of the most vulnerable, including migrants, were stalled during the pandemic.

Your project will contribute to debates by exploring the impact of two contradictory trends that are potentially detrimental to the life chances of migrants experiencing homelessness: on the one hand, successive governments in the UK and Sweden have adopted broadly neoliberal policies that prioritise ‘free’ markets in the pursuit of cheap labour. On the other hand, there is an increasingly punitive function of the state, which is informed by nationalist politics. It is characterised by ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies that seeks not to prevent all mobility but are concerned with surveilling, disciplining and differentiating access to movement amongst populations.

Your project will examine what has happened to migrants experiencing homelessness since the COVID-19 pandemic. You will compare and contrast the impact of ‘hostile environment’ policies on the lives of migrants experiencing homelessness in two cities: Portsmouth and Gothenburg. In addition, your project will explore the ways in which migrants experiencing homelessness have managed to subsist and find shelter in the two cities.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Simon Stewart ( ) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency (if required) and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. As this is a pre-defined project, you do not need to submit a research proposal at this stage.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SASS8860124 when applying. Please note that email applications are not accepted.

The application deadline is 19 January 2024. More information can be found here.