Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Competition and Competitiveness

Race starting line


Title: Competition and Competitiveness

Funding: Your PhD fees will be covered and the studentship provides you with a stipend of £15,609 per year.

Application deadline: 14 May 2021

Start date: October 2021

Duration: 3 years

Location: Colchester Campus

Based in: Competition and Competitiveness Project, School of Philosophy and Art History


We’re looking for a PhD student in Philosophy to join the research team of the Competition and Competitiveness Project (CCP). The CCP is based in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex. It is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award and will run for four years. 

The research team currently consists of  Professor Timo Jütten (Philosophy), who is the Principal Investigator, three Senior Research Officers (postdocs) in Philosophy, History and Economics, and a Project Administrator. 

The aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the different forms of competition and competitiveness and the role they play in a wide range of social practices and institutions (markets, science, sports). Competition and competitiveness are poorly understood but rarely submitted to detailed analysis. We hope to change the conversation in (political) philosophy, making a more realistic conception of human nature and social processes the basis of normative arguments and offering a nuanced view of when competition is appropriate.

We are taking an interdisciplinary approach with Workstreams on Historical Sources, Social Scientific Insights and Philosophical Analysis. Research in Philosophy includes studies in the history of philosophy (e.g., on how philosophers like Hobbes, Rousseau or J.S. Mill have conceptualised competition) as well as conceptual and normative work on competition and related topics.

The PhD student will work on an independent topic related to the research of the Project. They will have expertise in relevant areas of philosophy (including social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy and economics), will conduct research related to them and support the other members of the research team with their expertise. They will take part in regular team meetings and collaborate on the planning of workshops and other activities. They’ll will also contribute to outreach and impact activities as appropriate.

Possible research topics include:

  • the role of competition in specific moral or political theories;
  • competition in the history of philosophy (e.g., in a specific philosopher or tradition of philosophy);
  • competition or competitiveness in sport; competitiveness as a disposition or character trait 

Please note that we already have significant expertise on Frankfurt School critical theory and Nietzsche. 


Funding available

The studentship award covers your University of Essex fees and provides you with a stipend of £15,609 per year.

You will also have access to the University’s Proficio funds for research training and be able to apply for additional research funding available through the Competition and Competitiveness Project.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet the entry criteria for PGR students in the School of Philosophy and Art History. In general, they should have a good first degree (2.i or higher) and MA in Philosophy or a closely related subject.

In addition, applicants should have knowledge in one or more of the following areas: social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of economics, philosophy of law, philosophy of social science. 

How to apply

Please send the following documents to

  • A Letter of motivation (max. two pages), outlining your interest in the Project and your suitability for it
  • A current CV
  • A research proposal (max. 2,000 words), describing the PhD project that you would like to pursue.

If you have any questions about applying, please email Please note that this an expression of interest stage and not a full application.

Closing date: the application documentation should be submitted by the deadline of 14 May 2021.

Interview: we will interview shortlisted applicants via Zoom.

You do not have to apply formally for admission to the University of Essex as a part of this process. The successful applicant must apply after selection.

Start date: You will be expected to start on or about 1 October 2021, at the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Application deadlines

Deadline to submit studentship application: 14 May 2021

Likely interview date (for shortlisted applicants): Week beginning 24 May 2021

Deadline to accept or decline offer: 15 June 2021

You will be expected to start on or about 1 October 2021, at the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Informal enquiries
Informal enquiries
Professor Timo Jütten