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PhD Studentship: Socio-technical barriers to rapid decarbonisation (Eastern New Energy)

PhD Studentship: Socio-technical barriers to rapid decarbonisation

The Sustainability Research Institute invites applications for a PhD research studentship to investigate the socio-technical barriers to the rapid decarbonisation of businesses, communities, buildings, transport and lives.

The Sustainability Research Institute at the University of East London and ERDF fund the studentship.

Project Title: Eastern New Energy

Director of Studies: Professor Darry Newport

This studentship will be part of our project Eastern New Energy (ENE) project. The research will take place within UEL's Sustainability Research Institute (SRI).

About the research

The PhD research will investigate the socio-technical barriers that hinder or prevent rapid decarbonisation. The student will work with business (particularly SMEs), councils, housing associations, communities, universities, households and individuals to understand these barriers. This multidisciplinary research will use an action research approach and may involve a combination of interviews, surveys, focus groups as well socio-technical analyses to:

  • Identify the barriers;
  • Analyse and characterise the barriers identified;
  • Contribute to the development of measures to remove or mitigate these barriers;

The results will allow us to draw conclusions and recommend how to:

  1. Remove or mitigate these barriers
  2. Scale-up successful barrier removal across the UK and elsewhere.

The PhD research will be based in London but will involve fieldwork across the UK Eastern Region. The PhD studentship will be established in the model of a CASE PhD. As such, the student will be able to lead their research and will have opportunities for work-based learning with ERDF and through the ENE project.

PhD Studentship: Socio-technical barriers to rapid decarbonisation (Eastern New Energy)

The Award

The studentship is for three years, subject to satisfactory progress, with a maintenance allowance of £17,500 for each academic year and payment of tuition fees at the UK/EU*.

*Applicants from outside the UK/EU are eligible to apply for the studentship on the understanding that the difference in the cost of tuition fee is payable by the candidate.


Applicants must have a good honours degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent), an MA or MSc in a related discipline relevant to the research project, such as Social Sciences or appropriate other experience. An interest or experience related to resource efficiency or decarbonisation would be very beneficial. Applicants must also have good communication skills and a high level of written and spoken English. Where English is not the applicant’s first language, a minimum IELTS Academic English score of 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components is required.

The holder of the studentship will be expected to:

  • Complete their doctoral studies and submit their dissertation in 3 years. This is to match the funding length.
  • Prepare papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals
  • Participate in and contribute to the research activities of the Institute and activities relevant to its sponsors
  • Optional undertaking of up to 6 hours of academic support activity per week.
  • Be prepared to travel and work in collaborating institutions in the UK and abroad.


  1. CV
  2. Research Proposal - no more than 700 words
  3. Please send to Naheed Khan
  4. The closing date for completed applications is Friday 9 April 2021

Due to the volume of applications, if you do not hear from us within 4 weeks, you should assume your application has been unsuccessful

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