Paid PhD scholarship in Textile Sustainability with CDRC

Cotton Research & Development Corporation of Australia (CRDC) is offering a PhD Scholarship with the School of Design researching Textile Supply Chain Transparency and Accountability

On April 24th 2013, over 1,100 garment workers were killed when the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. In the 5 years since that tragic event, there has been a growing demand for greater transparency in the clothing supply chain. But can supply chain transparency help to mitigate risks that arise from day-to-day management decisions that can lead to major social and environmental impacts?

There is also growing recognition that the scope of sustainability and business responsibility will continue to expand. This increased scope brings to the fore a critical issue: can a brand, be ‘held to account’ for everything that takes place along the supply chain?

The aim of this project is to explore and identify the chain of relationships that are required to source and produce a range of finished products for a typical clothing brand. The scope of the project will consider the product lifecycle from raw materials extraction, to manufacturing and to the brand.

Unlike previous work exploring clothing supply chains, the objective for the project is to not only map the physical flow of materials, but to also map the cause and consequence of decision-making in the supply chain; specifically, to identify the major environmental and social risks within the supply chain and who and where decisions are made that influence the course of action associated with each of these risks. Morale issues such as accountability and inter and intra-generational equity are expected to be explored.

The project is aspirational in its aim and objectives, as well as being innovative in its framing and contextualisation of an existing problem. Beyond the production of a PhD thesis, the project intends to provide a platform to consider sustainability issues in a more open, collaborative mindset, that will hope form the foundation for systemic solution development that involves all relevant supply chain actors.

The Cotton Research & Development Corporation of Australia (CRDC) scholarship provides applicants with tuition fees and an annual stripend of £14,500. The scholarship also has a generous travel budget component to support fieldwork that aligns with the project aim and objectives.

International candidates are eligible to apply. An international award holder will be required to self-fund the difference in fees between the home fee rate of £4,400 (2018/19) covered by the scholarship and the international fee rate of £19,500 (2018/19).

Students who are interested in this PhD opportunity can submit their CV, a copy of your academic degree documents and a personal statement to Dr. Mark Sumner (