This scholarship offers a unique opportunity to study a specific hosting strategy up close and to assess the social benefit of the Rugby League World Cup as it unfolds across England in 2021. The doctoral candidate will have unprecedented access to the team tasked with delivering the World Cup and its outcomes. The social benefits include both the engagement of people with the event, those inspired by it or through its augmentation programme and the sense of belonging and social capital created in local communities where World Cup games take place.

Aims and objectives

This project is supported by the RFLWC2021.

It is envisaged that the PhD will take a case study approach to a sample of the 21 venues in 17 host towns and cities used for the tournament and produce a more in-depth analysis of impacts on-the-ground in either most-similar or most-different cases.

The research methods employed in this study will be pre-dominantly qualitative in nature with some descriptive statistics. More specific research questions will be drawn up by the successful applicant and the supervisory team at MMU. Indicative questions include:

  • What is unique about the hosting strategy of the Rugby League World Cup team and how does it compare with other strategies?
  • Which cohorts benefitted the most in the cities where World Cup games were hosted?
  • How do we measure ‘social benefit’?
  • To what extent did the RLWC2021 create a sense of civic pride in the towns/cities studied?
  • What lessons can be learned from this event for all future event hosts?

Administrative Contacts & How To Apply

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Jonathan Grix, email:

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process – please visit our website

Entry Requirements

Applicants should be at least qualified to BA/BSc level (at first or upper second class level) in a relevant discipline (sport studies, politics, governance, sociology, business/management, psychology). However, preference will be given to those who also hold a Master’s degree in a related subject.

Funding Notes

The funding for this scholarship consists of the equivalent of Home/EU tuition fees paid for three years, and an annual stipend of £15,009 also for three years. Overseas students are welcome to apply but will need to pay the difference in tuition fees.

Interviews will be held in mid-September 2019, with the successful candidate expected to start in October 2019 for 3 years.

Funding Information

Application Deadline:

6 September 2019

Please see our website for how to apply:
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