Pro-environmental capabilities in SMEs

Project summary

The vast proportion of SMEs contributing to the low carbon and circular economies are micro-businesses. With funding streams for ‘low carbon’ business shifting from European to UK Government sources over the coming years, this study aims to explore the needs of micro firms as they move through their growth trajectory from start-up to scale-up; how pro-environmental strategy impacts upon pro-environmental practice and impact; and the implications for entrepreneurial learning, productivity and business growth.

Research cluster

Centre for Business Improvement

Entry requirements

For our PhD programmes, we normally expect you to have a First or Upper-Second (2:1) honours degree and preferably a Masters degree from a UK university or qualifications that we consider to be equivalent.

Applicants will also need to demonstrate understanding, awareness and engagement with the needs and interests of pro-environmental and pro-social business.

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. Find out more about our entry requirements for international students.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Polina Baranova ( in the first instance.

The University has 4 starting points each year for MPhil/PhD programmes (September, January, March and June). Applications should be made at least 3 months before you would want to start your programme. Please note that if you require a visa additional time will be required.


Self-funded by student. There is a range of options that may be available to you to help you fund your PhD.


Polina Baranova talking
Associate Professor of Strategy and Sustainability

Polina Baranova is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management. Her research lies at the intersection of strategy, business and society. In particular, she specialises in the development of the environmental capabilities in various organisational settings through stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management.

Lecturer presenting
Associate Professor

Fred coordinates the Sustainable Business and Green Growth Research Cluster, where he leads research into pro-environmental enterprise support (PEES) and leadership for sustainability. Fred is a Module Leader on the MSc in Sustainable and Ethical Business Management and supervises PhD, DBA and MBA dissertation students.