PhD Research at University of Gibraltar 

The University of Gibraltar is a dynamic university located in one of the world’s most important crossing points. The Straits of Gibraltar have served as both bridge and barrier between Africa and Europe, and the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, since prehistory. This unique location, coupled with outstanding facilities, means that the University is ideally placed to become a centre of excellence generating high-quality original academic research.

The University’s research effort is based on the following overarching goals:

  • Support excellence in scholarship
  • Match our strengths with opportunities
  • Increase our research capacity, particularly in Gibraltar-related subjects
  • Create a dynamic research environment to promote research excellence
  • Invest in individuals and provide the infrastructure and support for each to excel in his or her chosen field of inquiry or expression.

To find out about existing PhD work please click here.

Resources that support your research

When you become a University of Gibraltar PhD Researcher, you will be provided with a range of facilities and support structures to assist you in your research studies. These facilities include:

  • Use of the University of Gibraltar premises, with access to relevant Associate Campuses of the University of Gibraltar and their resources, including The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, The Gibraltar Museum and The Gibraltar Garrison Library;
  • Gibraltar and Internationally-based specialist academic supervisors to support you with your studies;
  • Access to specialist equipment and other researchers;
  • Taught courses to complement and support main research themes;
  • A collegiate atmosphere within which to undertake your research

How to apply

Our degrees are available to those who want to pursue their studies through conventional research and those who would like to turn an existing body of published work into a PhD. For more information on how to turn your published work into a PhD please click here.

The doctoral programme is normally open to anyone who:

  • holds a recognised Masters degree; or
  • has a good honours degree and research or professional experience at postgraduate level

The following flowchart outlines the main steps in applying to become a University of Gibraltar PhD Researcher. This also has the added advantage of having experienced University of Gibraltar academics assist you in preparing your research proposal.

Application pathway for University of Gibraltar PhD Researchers

Choose your research area

You may propose any Gibraltar and Mediterranean related subject as your research area, but a number of research themes have been identified and will be given priority in the selection process (see below). You are free to develop your specific research proposal within these areas. If you wish to discuss your potential research, before preparing your proposal, please contact

Details of our priority themes for 2018/ 2019 can be found at the links below:

Gibraltar and Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities

The proximity of Britain’s exit from Europe and the complex negotiations that follow the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon by the UK have significant implications for the future of Gibraltar. The effects that Brexit will have on Gibraltar are as yet unclear, but given Gibraltar’s unique situation, they are likely to be very far-reaching politically, economically, socially, environmentally and legally. Proposals within this theme will relate to research that will analyse the consequences and ramifications of Brexit for Gibraltar and identify methods by which these challenges and opportunities can be best addressed.

Business Development and Service Marketing

Proposals using Gibraltar as a test market for contributing to the success of business and service organizations by improving the quality of their services, increasing their profitability, and stimulating innovations, which could have global significance and application are of particular interest. Possible research areas include managing technology and innovation, service innovation, social entrepreneurship, strengthening the customer-firm relationship through customer experience, use and impact of information technologies on the interaction between customers and service providers, micro-entrepreneurs, myopic marketing, corporate responsibility, ethics and accountability, service failure and post-recovery consequences, and understanding vulnerable consumers in service settings.

Environmental Education and Community Engagement

Proposals within this theme will relate to research covering the potential within Gibraltar for generating novel approaches to compulsory education and their wider impact on society, particularly in small communities, using Gibraltar as a microcosmic environment for promoting innovation which could have global significance and application. Possible research areas include innovative practice in teaching and learning, policy and practice in education, development of innovative pedagogies and materials, strategies for teacher professional development and the effects of new approaches and technologies such as e-learning, amongst others.

Urban-Adapted Wildlife Species in Gibraltar

Gibraltar has an extensive network of protected areas and is densely populated. In such an environment, wildlife and humans inevitably come into contact with each other regularly. In particular, Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahellis) constantly penetrate the urban environment and often come into conflict with humans, due to factors such as noise, damage to property and stealing of food. Given the ease with which these species can be studied, they make ideal subjects for studies on human-wildlife interaction/conflict, management and conflict resolution. Such studies will focus on humans - including their behaviour as well as the other species, and can be extended to embrace historico-cultural elements, such as the well-known relationship between the macaques’ presence and continued British possession of the Rock. Proposals in this theme should ideally involve research into innovative strategies and approaches to tackle such problems in a small community.

Climate Change and Conservation

Proposals within this theme should ideally focus on the impact of climate change upon species distributions and the challenges of conservation and management of these species and habitats in small territories. Proposals may be based on selected species or habitats, or on wider policy and management frameworks, and should involve elements of modelling and mapping future scenarios and critical consideration of the multi-stakeholder issues raised by these.  Proposals that focus on species or habitats that are special to Gibraltar would be welcomed.

Sports Management, Sports Tourism and International Sports Events

This research theme focuses on the social contribution, context and impact of Sport as a catalyst for community and economic development in small nations. Proposals are invited that explore issues surrounding such aspects as: the contribution of sport to social capital, social inclusion, healthy communities, social and civic engagement, community leadership and identity generation. Other potential areas for investigation include sport business, management and tourism, sport policy development and practice, the role of diversity on sports policy and implications for organisational governance and the geographical limitations of elite sport opportunity. Finally, research into the social contribution of sport management could include innovative practices in sport delivery and application, emergence of non-traditional sports, social legacy of mega sports events, organisational challenges in elite and community sport management and theory vs. practice in contemporary sports administration, for example.

Cultures and Identities of the Mediterranean

This theme focuses on the historical backdrop to the above, and could include proposals on any of the following:

      • Cultural and linguistic transferals that have come about as a consequence of historic migrations;
      • Present day migrations and borders;
      • The historic convergence of the three Abrahamic religions and cultures in Gibraltar to include the study of Sephardic history and culture in Gibraltar and the Iberian Peninsula;
      • The Mediterranean in relation to the maritime to include seafaring commercial or military activity (trade/Royal Navy/ piracy and privateering / Gibraltar at the chokepoint between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic);
      • Colonialism and Post-colonialism (can refer to theoretical engagements, society, culture, literature and the geopolitical with a view to interrogate received notions of both colonialism and post-colonialism to provide new readings on these).
      • The materialisation of identity and power; the socio-economic development of Gibraltar; the diachronic development of the fortress and city; among others.

In addition, we support novel approaches to archaeological fieldwork and material culture studies.

Marine Protected Species and Conservation

Applications in this category will ideally relate to the effects upon marine protected species, their conservation, and management, of the following:

  • Climate change on marine coastal ecosystems;
  • Coastal zone management/marine spatial planning;
  • Marine disaster/climate resilient development.
  • We are particularly interested in proposals which focus on developing methodologies for prediction of and strategies for protection against the effects of future climate change scenarios in marine coastal environments and the challenges and opportunities faced by small nations with large coastlines (relative to their size).

Fintech and E-Business

Possible topics for research include areas where Gibraltar could lead global thinking in fintech and E-business such as National and global fintech governance and legal frameworks, balancing the needs of fintech firms and the interests of consumers through a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory framework, block-chains and privacy protection, challenges and opportunities for fintech in small nations, using a regulatory framework to manage risk perception in fintech.

Higher Education, Education and Pedagogy

Proposals within this theme will relate to research covering the potential for generating novel approaches to Higher Education, Education and Pedagogy and their wider impact within society, particularly in small communities. Proposals using Gibraltar as a microcosmic environment for promoting innovation which could have global significance and application are of particular interest. Possible research areas include innovative practice in teaching and learning, policy and practice in education, development of innovative pedagogies and materials, novel strategies for educator professional development and the effects of new approaches and technologies./p>

Sustainable Development Frameworks and Implementation

Possible areas for research include areas where Gibraltar could lead global thinking in sustainability such as water supply, as well as the role of social, especially educational, institutions as agents of change and social development. The University of Gibraltar is currently engaged in a 4-year EU-funded project (CLIMACT) on energy efficiency in educational institutions in Gibraltar. Carried out in close collaboration with HMGoG’s Department of the Environment and Climate Change and the Department of Education, this project provides exciting research opportunities for prospective candidates. Other possible research areas within this theme include environmental economics, environmental management practice and novel approaches to capacity-building and futures thinking, amongst others.

Prehistory and Archaeology

This theme focuses on the significant body of research that has been carried out in Gibraltar and its environs with regard to its prehistory, especially, but not restricted to, Neanderthals and their eventual extinction. Proposals can be based on any of a number of research areas to include prehistoric cultures and environments, human evolution as well as the development and application of new techniques to investigate Quaternary climatic and ecological settings. It also includes proposals based on the development of specialisms that can shed light on these areas, such as the taxonomy of then-extant fauna and flora.

You are free to develop your specific research proposal within these areas.

Important note: The Research Committee will consider any proposal on merit, quality, relevance and value to Gibraltar, so even if your ideal research theme does not fall into one of the categories above, you are strongly encouraged to submit an expression of interest.

You will then be contacted by the University who will put you in contact with one of our specialist research supervisors with whom you can discuss your potential research, before preparing your proposal.

Your initial PhD proposal should:

    1. Have a sound and original research rationale, if possible grounded on your already demonstrated strengths and expertise;
    2. Identify 3-5 research questions that guide the research study;
    3. Align with at least one of the University of Gibraltar’s priority research themes as described above;
    4. Identify the potential benefits of the research to the wider community;
    5. Be focused enough to clearly identify the overall objectives, questions and potential methodologies of the research to be undertaken, but sufficiently open to allow supervisors to assist with shaping the direction of the research;
    6. Evidence the viability of the proposed research (eg: in terms of time, financial cost, access to research sites/participants/documents);
    7.  A short bibliography which can support your proposal;
    8.  A biographical summary which identifies relevant qualifications, experience or training
    9. Be no longer than 10 pages.

The University is now accepting submissions of proposals for the academic year 2018/2019. to apply please click on the relevant link below:

The closing date for applications is midday Friday 16th February 2018.


Download PhD Information Leaflet here