Repair Cafés
Fully funded PhD Opportunity

Webinar via Zoom
29th February 2024
3:00 –4:00 GMT

Webinar Video Recording

PhD application FAQs


UCA Vice Chancellor’s office is offering a full scholarship – including a fee waiver and stipend for living expenses – to complete a 3 year PhD research study into the emerging area of repair cafes. The specific topics for proposals are open but must focus on repair cafes – this might be include, for example, surveys of repair cafes globally, regionally or by country, case studies on specific repair cafes operations, analysis of data arising from repair cafes, social studies of repairers and ‘buyer’ behaviour of customers to repair cafes.

Repair cafes

Repair cafés are workshops/events that enable repair at a community level and are generally driven by citizens rather than local government or other stakeholders. Repair Cafes sit at the convergence between Circular Economy and Circular Society (an under discussed/researched area) and have come under the radar for policymakers and other stakeholders. There are c. 3000 repair cafes in the world, 80% in Europe and c. 250-300 in the UK.

The Centre for Sustainable Design® (CfSD) completed the 1st, two global surveys of repair cafés and was a partner in a 3rd;’. UCA – through CfSD – is a collaborator in Farnham Repair Café (FRC) that has been put forward for a Kings Award for Voluntary Service – and have also launched the Greater Surrey Repair Café Network to support the development of other repair cafés in the region. CfSD have organised 2 national UK repair café conferences with a 3rd in development and are collaborating with the Repair Café International Federation (based in the Netherlands) on a series of webinars for the international repair café community.


The funded studentship could cover one or more of the following themes: a history of the repair café movement and implications for development in the future; an analysis of repair cafes role within a Circular Society and Circular Economy; lessons learnt for product design from product repairs completed at repair cafés; global survey of repair café with follow-up case studies on repair cafés in specific countries and/or regions; the development a common methodology to report on the performance of repair cafés; the quantification of carbon emission savings and societal benefits for repair cafés internationally or by country or region.


The successful applicant will have a Masters degree and/or experience related to Circular Economy, ideally with a focus on repair and/or civil society/the community. Candidates could be social scientists and/or have a product design/design engineering background: suitability will dependant on the focus of the specific proposal. Experience in the use of various research methodologies both quantitative and qualitative would be advantageous. The ability to liaise with various stakeholders such as repair experts, citizens and policymakers would be beneficial as would previous engagement and involvement in repair cafés.


Professor Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design ® (CfSD) will introduce the emerging area of repair cafes and highlight some areas for potential research. Martin founded the CfSD in 1995 after working in various roles in business. He is a recognised expert in sustainability and circular economy, and products and innovation, and founded Farnham Repair Café and the Greater Surrey Repair Cafe Network

Dr Yoriko Otomo, Research Degrees Leader at the UCA Doctoral College will take potential applicants through the PhD application process and to answer any questions. She will cover: eligibility; deadlines for the applications, and key requirements for the application. Yoriko has nearly twenty years of academic experience in law and interdisciplinary practice, with a strong international reputation for her work. She is an experienced supervisor and examiner.


The event is free of charge, but you need to register via On receipt, you will be sent instructions to join the webinar.

Further information

For more information contact:
Ros Carruthers
The Centre for Sustainable Design ®
Business School for the Creative Industries
University for the Creative Arts