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Accelerating city level climate action: developing and trialling city level decarbonisation projects and interventions

   Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

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  Dr Claire Hoolohan, Prof Carly McLachlan, Dr Christopher Jones  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Co-funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the University of Manchester, this project will identify examples where cities are making significant emissions reductions, to gather insights that support decarbonisation in Greater Manchester. These insights will cover a range of issues including: project development, participation, governance, finance, strategy etc, engaging critically with the concept of learning for transformation to low-carbon society/economy. Supervisory input will be provided by the official UoM supervisors and the GMCA lead. 

Project aims:

The project will inform city region-level, national, and international stakeholders on the efficacy of different approaches to local project development and finance, climate action planning, and stakeholder partnerships.

Working closely with GMCA, this project will support the development of new climate action projects and contribute to their evaluation. There will also be opportunities to build collaborations with other cities in the UK and internationally to gain insight and test/disseminate findings.

Research objectives:

·        Literature review of recent developments in city-scale climate action, in Greater Manchester, the UK and globally.

·        Identify and analyse case studies that exemplify various city-level climate action challenges and opportunities; prioritise these on the basis of potential carbon reduction impact.

·        Build relationships with stakeholders to explore and establish co-learning.

·        Make recommendations for cities and stakeholders relating to the acceleration of city-scale decarbonisation.


In addition to an academic thesis and journal papers, this project will deliver:

·        A report of best practice examples of city-scale climate action.

·        An analysis of the most appropriate transferable insights for Greater Manchester and a proposal for taking these forward locally.

·        Co-ordinate the co-development of two new pilot projects or ways of working within Greater Manchester, and provide an initial evaluation of these projects in terms of carbon impact.

·        A virtual networking activity to bring together key stakeholders to share best practice and lessons from unsuccessful interventions.

The successful candidate will benefit from being part of both the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation, two world-leading centres for interdisciplinary climate change research. The successful candidate will have access to unrivalled specialist expertise and opportunities to develop transferable skills and enhance their future employability. In addition, the University of Manchester offers an extensive training and development package to support the effective completion of a PhD.

Candidates should have a good first degree in a relevant social science subject with good written and analytical skills. Candidates should have educational, project or work experience relating to city level climate action/interventions/projects. A demonstrable ability to integrate diverse forms of information is essential, evidenced knowledge of sub-national governance and/or energy system transitions also required. Additional University of Manchester entry requirements for PhD research degrees can be found at:

Candidate will ideally start asap in 2022. Please send a CV and cover letter to [Email Address Removed]  before making a full application through the University of Manchester.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder), carer support funds for conferences, and peer support networks for parents and carers.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Funding Notes

The School of Engineering and Greater Manchester Combined Authority are pleased to offer funding in support of this PhD to start in April 2022. This 3.5 year studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at UKRI standard rate to cover living costs (£15,609 in the 2021/22 academic year). UK citizens or EU students who hold either settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS and qualify for Home fee status are very welcome to apply.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Engineering?

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