We aim to develop understanding about how adult learning - particularly for women and young adults - can help address inequalities in the poorest communities of the world. 

We aim to develop understanding about how adult learning - particularly for women and young adults - can help address inequalities in the poorest communities of the world. Promoting a rights-based holistic approach to adult learning as the basis for active citizenship and improved livelihoods, the UNESCO Chair programme sets out to promote greater interaction between research and policy in areas such as skill development and adult literacy learning. The programme builds directly on the expertise of the UEA Literacy and Development Group, which brings together researchers in education and international development from across the university (see: https://www.uea.ac.uk/education/research/areas/literacy-and-development). Professor of Education, Anna Robinson-Pant, has been appointed as the UNESCO Chairholder.

Applications for the UNESCO Chair PhD studentship should connect with the overarching theme of ‘adult literacy and learning for social transformation’. We are looking for original research proposals that address a specific topic or debate within this important field. The proposal should give a clear indication of aims, proposed methodology and design of the study, as well as engaging critically with relevant research literature. Applications will be evaluated on their potential to take forward theoretical understanding and/or contribute to enhancing policy, practice and research on adult literacy and/or adult learning in the context of international development.

We encourage applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, with a view to being supervised in the UEA Social Science Graduate School. The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia, England, has an excellent internationally renowned research reputation with strong international and European links to universities, research institutes and research councils throughout the world. Click here to find out more about each School’s research strengths and possible supervisors:


- Education and Lifelong Learning
- International Development
- Norwich Business School
- Social Work



The Studentship will cover tuition fees (UK/EU or international fee rate as applicable), a tax-free maintenance grant (currently £14,057 per year), and a research training support grant. The studentship will begin in October 2016 for a duration of three years full-time study.

Applications for this studentship are invited from suitably qualified graduates. Candidates should hold, or expect to hold, relevant undergraduate and Master’s degrees (or equivalent) including some research experience. Candidates will be interviewed, usually via telephone or Skype, as part of the selection process. EU and International applicants may be required to provide evidence of competence in the English Language.

To be considered for this award, you should make an application for admission by selecting PhD Research Projects in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning on the application form. The project will be listed under the Advertised Research Projects dropdown with the project code: ROBINSON-PANT_U16UNESCO Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation.

For further information please contact UEA Postgraduate Research Office Admissions Enquiries- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: +44 (0)1603 591709