Anglia Ruskin University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
Ulster University Featured PhD Programmes
University of West London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Exeter Featured PhD Programmes

3.5 years PhD fully funded studentship offered by SPRU within the European Research Council (ERC) project EMPOCI

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, February 16, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), within the University of Sussex Business School, is offering a fully funded PhD studentship within the European Research Council (ERC) project EMPOCI on ‘Governing sustainable energy-mobility transitions: multi-level policy mixes, transformative capacities and low-carbon innovations’. The EMPOCI project investigates how global low-carbon transitions in the increasingly interconnected energy and mobility systems can be accelerated on a regional and national level.

The PhD candidate will benefit from a stimulating research environment within which EMPOCI is based:
• The Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) is one of the most diverse science-policy departments in the world, mentoring researchers from different backgrounds to produce interdisciplinary and mixed-methods research relevant not only for theory but also for policy and practitioners.
• The Sussex Energy Group (SEG) is one of the largest social science research groups on energy policy globally which conducts world-leading interdisciplinary research on energy systems.

The PhD topic: Governing sustainable energy-mobility transitions in 1) UK with Scotland, 2) USA with California or 3) China with Guangdong

The EMPOCI PhD student will be enrolled for a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies and is expected to produce a cumulative PhD thesis (based on three peer-reviewed journal articles). The PhD topic will contribute to answering the overarching research question of the EMPOCI project on how to accelerate the low-carbon transition in the increasingly interconnected energy and mobility systems on a regional and national level. For this, the PhD student will be involved in all work packages of the EMPOCI project (except WP5), focussing on a specific country (UK, US or China) including a pioneering region within that country (Scotland, California or Guangdong).
Conceptually, the PhD will seek to enrich the interdisciplinary field of socio-technical innovation/transition studies (Koehler et al., 2019; Zolfagharian et al., 2019) with theories, concepts, and approaches from the field of policy studies to enable a better understanding of the governance of politically contested and complex multi-sectoral sustainability transitions (Kern and Rogge, 2018; Kern et al., 2019).
Empirically, the PhD student will focus on conducting one country/region case study, combining qualitative and quantitative analysis. Interested candidates should indicate whether they intend to study 1) the UK with Scotland, 2) the USA with California or 3) China with Guangdong.
The PhD topics shall follow EMPOCI in acknowledging that deep decarbonization requires simultaneous low-carbon transitions in multiple sectors (Geels et al., 2017; Schot and Kanger, 2018), such as across the electricity-mobility-ICT systems, reflecting trends in electrification, digitization and decentralisation (Canzler et al., 2017; Di Silvestre et al., 2018).

Application procedure -
Enquiries and applications to: by February 16, 2020 (end of day) with:
1. Basic information (compiled in one pdf-document):
o A letter of motivation (max. 1 page, incl. relevant prior experience and starting date)
o Your CV (including courses taken and grades obtained, max. 2 pages)
2. Your research proposal (pdf, 2,000 words, incl. bibliography – but shorter proposals will also be considered), including a clear indication of the country to be researched (UK, US or China).
3. Your MSc thesis as pdf-document (or if not yet available a recent seminar paper in English).
4. A reference letter emailed directly to Prof Rogge (e.g. from your MSc thesis supervisor, or your current/previous employer) with subject line “EMPOCI PhD: Reference for YOURNAME”.
We welcome applications from suitably qualified people, regardless of ethnicity, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and working patterns. 

Timeline post application deadline -
• Anticipated interview period: February 24-25 and 27-28, 2020 (typically virtual interviews)
• A second round of F2F interviews might occur in March 2020 (to be determined)
• Expected offer, conditional on departmental clearance: expected for end of March 2020
• Successful PhD candidate is expected to start on June 15, 2020 or on September 15, 2020

For more information on the studentship, please see:

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship covers a PhD stipend, a PhD fee waiver and additional benefits:
• PhD stipend: A tax-free stipend of £15,800 annually for 3.5 years. In addition, there will be an opportunity to apply for a position as research assistant within the EMPOCI project.
• PhD fee waiver: No tuition fees for 3.5 years (including UK, EU and international students)
• Additional benefits: PhD research and training related costs for 3.5 years (e.g. equipment, travel budget for fieldwork, subcontracting of surveys, interview transcriptions, summer schools, conferences, workshops, open access publications, etc.)


Canzler, W., Engels, F., Rogge, J.-C., Simon, D., Wentland, A., 2017. From “living lab” to strategic action field: Bringing together energy, mobility, and Information Technology in Germany. Energy Research & Social Science 27, 25–35. 10.1016/j.erss.2017.02.003.
Di Silvestre, M.L., Favuzza, S., Riva Sanseverino, E., Zizzo, G., 2018. How Decarbonization, Digitalization and Decentralization are changing key power infrastructures. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 93 (June), 483–498. 10.1016/j.rser.2018.05.068.
Geels, F.W., Sovacool, B.K., Schwanen, T., Sorrell, S., 2017. Sociotechnical transitions for deep decarbonization. Science (New York, N.Y.) 357 (6357), 1242–1244. 10.1126/science.aao3760.
Kern, F., Rogge, K.S., 2018. Harnessing theories of the policy process for analysing the politics of sustainability transitions: A critical survey. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 27, 102–117. 10.1016/j.eist.2017.11.001.
Kern, F., Rogge, K.S., Howlett, M., 2019. Policy mixes for sustainability transitions: New approaches and insights through bridging innovation and policy studies. Research Policy, 103832. 10.1016/j.respol.2019.103832.
Köhler, J., Geels, F.W., Kern, F., Markard, J., Wieczorek, A., Alkemade, F., Avelino, F., Bergek, A., Boons, F., Fünfschilling, L., Hess, D.,
Zolfagharian, M., Walrave, B., Raven, R., Romme, A.G.L., 2019. Studying transitions: Past, present, and future. Research Policy 48, 103788. 10.1016/j.respol.2019.04.012.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.