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Achieving Decarbonisation Solutions Through Sustainable Smart City Technologies (Advert Reference: RDF20/EE/ABE/AZIZI)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Sustainable smart city (SSC) is a popular concept that aims to enhance efficiency of city governance and improve quality of life by taking advantage of technological innovations and integrating advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT). While SSC initiatives have developed across the globe, there are limited studies focusing on how these initiatives can provide decarbonisation solutions. One of the most effective solutions to decarbonisation is by driving change in energy consumption behaviour. Other strategies include investing into technological solutions and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research that enable this change. The effectiveness of SSC initiatives relies on the engagement of stakeholders in its process. This requires building public trust by addressing issues of transparency, privacy concerns, data exploitation, and identifying benefits for people to engage in SSC programs. As different stakeholders will have different priorities, it is important to recognise how this affects their participation and facilitate collaborations between different stakeholders. The purpose of this research is to examine how SSC programs can drive decarbonisation by engaging stakeholders’ participation in changing consumption behaviours and driving innovation. Though this engagement process, the study will also address ethical issues related to information use with technology. This study aims to capture innovative decarbonisation practices within SSCs together with challenges and ethical issues around data management to form a wider decarbonisation governance framework for the new networked digital world. This can inform planners and decision makers in their efforts towards creating smart sustainable cities.

This project is supervised by Dr Zahirah Azizi. The second supervisor will be Dr Niraj Thurairajah.

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/EE/ABE/AZIZI) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020

Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU/ Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


• Azizi, Nurul Zahirah Mokhtar, Azizi, Nurul Sakina Mokhtar, Abidin, Nazirah Zainul, & Mannakkara, S. (2019). Making Sense of Energy-Saving Behaviour: A Theoretical Framework on Strategies for Behaviour Change Intervention. Procedia Computer Science, 158, 725-734.
• Azizi, Nurul Zahirah Mokhtar, Nazirah Zainul Abidin, and Azlan Raofuddin. "Soft Cost Elements in Green Projects: Malaysian building industry." Asian Journal of Behavioural Studies 3.12 (2018): 135-146.
• Nurul Zahirah Mokhtar Azizi, Nazirah Zainul Abidin, Nurul Sakina Mokhtar Azizi, Nasyairi B Mat Nasir (2017), Overcooling Of Office Buildings In Malaysia, Journal Of Advances In Humanities And Social Sciences (jahss), TAF Publishing Vol: 3, No: 4, 181-191.
• Abidin, N. Z., & Azizi, N. Z. M. (2016). Identification of Factors Influencing Costs in Green Projects. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Civil, Environmental, Structural, Construction and Architectural Engineering, 10(9), 1160-1165.
• Nurul Zahirah MA, Arman Abdul Razak, Mokhtar Azizi Mohd Din, & Nasyairi Mat Nasir (2016), Recurring Issues in Historic Building Conservation, Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences 222, 587 – 595 (Thomson Reuters CPCI).
• Nurul Zahirah MA, Abidin, N. Z., & Raofuddin, A. (2015), Identification of Soft Cost Elements in Green Projects: Exploring Experts’ Experience, Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences 170, 18-26 (Thomson Reuters CPCI).
• Thurairajah, N., Muchena, J. and Xiao, H., (2019). Challenges to Embedding Social Value Act 2012 in the Strategic and Operational Processes of Public Sector Construction Projects. 35th Annual ARCOM Conference: Leeds
• Jayasena, S., Thurairajah, N., Perera, K. and Siriwardena, M., (2019). Promotion of Diffusion of Innovation: A Study of BIM Adoption in Construction Industries. 35th Annual ARCOM Conference: Leeds
• Geekiyanage, D, Ramachandra, T. and Thurairajah, N. (2018). A Model for Early Stage Estimation of Operational Expenses (OPEX) in Commercial Buildings. Proceedings 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2018, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK.
• Cidik, M.S. Boyd, D. and Thurairajah, N., (2017). Ordering in disguise: digital integration in built-environment practices. Building Research and Information. 45:6, 665-680
• Thurairajah, N. and Boyd, D. (2017). BIM for clients: developing digital dividends. In: Haugbølle, K. and Boyd, D. Clients and Users in Construction: Agency, Governance and Innovation. London: Routledge. p195-213.
• Onyido, B., Boyd, D. and Thurairajah, N. (2016). Developing SMEs as environmental businesses, Construction Innovation. 16(1). 30 – 45.

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