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Addressing the climate emergency by decarbonising the service sector


   School of Civil Engineering and Surveying


About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, and will be supervised by Dr Keiron Roberts, Dr Brett Martinson and Professor Steve Fletcher.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Determining mechanisms to achieve net-zero within the service sector.
  • Modelling through a hybrid LCA approach and carbon foot printing for academic institutions transition to net zero.
  • Assessing the impact of external variables on decarbonising the service sector.
  • Evaluating and recommending effective policies for the transition to net-zero in the service sector.

Project description

The climate emergency has thrust the need to decarbonise within all sectors. Within this, the service sector has challenges in meeting or exceeding the UK governments net zero targets, and help meet the Paris Climate Agreement. This PhD will examine the impact external factors can have on the service sector decarbonising and transitioning towards net-zero.

Within the work you will utilise the University of Portsmouth (UoP) as a case study. The University of Portsmouth has an ambition to go beyond net zero and become climate positive by 2030. You will determine the emissions across the institution (scopes 1-3) and analyse the impacts that potentially incorporating interventions can have as the institution makes strides to reach this goal. This will be conducted using multiple analytical methods (carbon foot printing, LCA, MFA, EIA, etc.). You will develop multiple scenarios that can be applied within the case study and widely transferred across the service sector.

The work will contribute new knowledge into how the service sector can transition to net-zero. Through this work, you will be able to make a significant impact both to the university and the service sector. You will also examine and model existing and emerging policies, you will determine how effective policies can be in supporting the transition as well as the effectiveness of interventions.

You will be supported by Dr Keiron Roberts, an expert in sustainability, waste management and litter; Dr Brett Martinson an expert in lifecycle assessment and sustainability and Prof. Steve Fletcher Sustainability theme lead, and UN IRP Ocean Lead is an expert in national and global policies.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

Knowledge and skills utilising life cycle assessment and carbon foot printing are essential. A background around sustainable development and knowledge of climate policies are desirable.

How to Apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Keiron Roberts () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Civil Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SCES5601023.


Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).

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