Undertake your PhD in an important and booming context: Entrepreneurship!

Entrepreneurship in its various forms (e.g., growth-oriented start-ups, innovation-driven entrepreneurs, social enterprises, intrapreneurship) is increasingly recognised as a major driver of economic and societal development. As a result, entrepreneurship has grown to become a major field of inquiry within economic, organisational and management research. In short, it is an area within which advanced knowledge is likely to be in high demand.

The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) at Queensland University of Technology, is currently looking to expand its Ph.D. student cohort for commencement in 2019. At this point, we are specifically looking for research students interested in the following areas:

  • External enablement of entrepreneurship

It is widely acknowledged that new technologies, demographic and socioeconomic shifts, social movements and changes to the natural environment significantly influence the viability of particular new ventures. However, entrepreneurship research has struggled with making progress on this topic under the dominant notion of “objective, pre-existing opportunities”. ACE has successfully pioneered a new approach to capturing this type of influence on entrepreneurial processes and outcomes under the notion of “external enablers”. Effective ways of conceptualizing and analysing external enablers help researchers and practitioners to evaluate the specific ways in which external changes can benefit particular ventures and types of entrepreneurial agents. We now aim to continue to develop theoretical leadership and empirical testing in this very promising area of entrepreneurship research.

  •  The entrepreneurial process

There is growing consensus that new venture creation is a process rather than an event. Yet, most entrepreneurship research continues to apply theories that are essentially time-blind. This neglects important issues pertaining to duration, sequence, timing and other temporal aspects of entrepreneurship. A major reason for this is that studying processes is challenging because it requires theoretical and methodological knowledge beyond those that are most familiar to business scholars. ACE aims to develop ground-breaking process theory and data to uncover how not only what goes into the process but also what happens during its course affects further action and eventual success or failure.   

  • What makes new venture ideas successful?

An important perspective in entrepreneurship research focuses on the nexus of individuals and the “opportunity” or “new venture idea” they are trying to realize. While we have good knowledge about how individuals can be characterised and how to assess the effects of these characteristics, the state of knowledge is much less developed for the other part of the nexus. Can we develop effective ways of categorising new venture ideas and assess their impact on entrepreneurial behaviour and success? 

  • Experimental evidence on entrepreneurial skills and cognitions

An important perspective in Entrepreneurship research focuses on the entrepreneurial mindset, underlying skills and cognitions, and the potential to train these skills. What is particularly needed are experimental designs that develop and test a certain training method in randomized-controlled trials. This can deliver important implications for practice and education, given that entrepreneurship education has become a key topic on the political agenda around the globe.  

  • Youth entrepreneurship

Politicians around the globe define entrepreneurial thinking and acting as 21st century skills that help future generations to be successful in the changing world of work. Research shows that the early formative years are particular important for the development of an entrepreneurial mindset (e.g., entrepreneurial cognitions, skills, and motivation). What is the role of early learning experiences in adolescence and young adulthood? What is the role of socialization and personal agency for youth entrepreneurship? How can we develop age-appropriate training and education programs that help young people to develop entrepreneurial skills and crystalize entrepreneurial career interests?

  • Well-being, stress, and entrepreneurship

Stress processes and psychological well-being are key factors in the entrepreneurial process that relies on the agency and motivation of the individual entrepreneurs. Why many entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their job than employed individuals are? How do entrepreneurs cope with the various stressors during the founding phase and how could one help them to build relevant psychosocial resources? 


Undertaking a Ph.D. is a significant commitment and intellectually challenging. It requires excellent academic aptitude; independent creative thinking and writing; as well as stamina and hard work. However, it can also be very rewarding, developmental, and even a life-changing journey that sets you up for various exciting careers both within and outside of academia. At ACE, you can expect your own dedicated work to be supported by a team of friendly and quality-focused mentors and colleagues.

Students recruited in this particular round of recruitment will be offered a scholarship along with their offer of enrolment. They will be supervised by Professor Per Davidsson and Associate Professor Martin Obschonka who are leading Australian researchers of very strong international standing in the field of entrepreneurship. Only applicants with very strong credentials and interest in the topics listed above will be considered.

ACE is an internationally recognised leader in this field.  ACE features strongly in leading international scholarly journals, conferences, associations and collaborative research projects, thereby providing an excellent environment for research and research training. ACE is situated within the QUT Business School, located at the Garden’s Point Campus in Brisbane’s central business district. QUT Business School is one of the largest and strongest business faculties in Australia with strong international links to other leading universities across the globe; it was the first business school to achieve “Triple Crown Accreditation” (AACSB; AMBA; EQUIS).

ACE and QUT are located in Brisbane, Australia, which is a fast growing, progressive, globally connected and highly liveable City of 2.4 million people. Brisbane has an unbeatable sub-tropical climate (its beautiful one day, perfect the next), great outdoor recreation opportunities and easy access to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Brisbane is located just hours from the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef with close proximity to Fraser, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands. See here for further information about Brisbane.

Interest from domestic and international applicants are welcome!

Please note that if invited to apply you will be required to meet the standard QUT applicant requirements and provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Academic records: certified copies of your academic transcripts, award certificate, or other evidence of completion. The grading scale of your university (this may be on the back page of your transcript). An official English translation, if needed.  A copy of your AEI-NOOSR (Australian Education International-National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition) assessment, if you have one.
  • Depending on your previous experience and qualifications, you may need to meet English language requirements and provide evidence.
  • Proof of residence or citizenship: your birth certificate, your certificate of citizenship, the relevant pages of your passport.
  • If you have professional experience or believe it will add to your application please add the details to your CV.

More information about specific QUT entry requirements can be found HERE



Please direct any further queries to ace.business@qut.edu.au