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Decarbonising the fishing fleet: social, cultural and behavioural responses

   Energy and Environment Institute

  Dr Charlotte Hopkins  Friday, February 10, 2023  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship evaluating the social and cultural impacts and behavioural responses of fishers to decarbonising the UK fishing fleet. This PhD is part of a broader cluster of PhD projects on Sustainable Terrestrial and Maritime Food Systems: Environmental Technologies and their Implications.

Inshore and small-scale fishing is socially and culturally important and economically critical to rural coastal communities. The combined drivers of higher fuel prices and pressure on the fishing industry to decarbonise are creating shifts in fisher behaviour and the technology used for fishing. This PhD will evaluate the current and future responses of fishers in response to the push for decarbonising the fishing fleet in UK and the policy landscape into which decarbonising the fishing fleet fits. Using social science methods that facilitate dialogue, this PhD will expand on current research with the fishing industry to understand the potential socio-cultural implications, the behavioural responses of fishers and the feasibility of widespread implementation of decarbonisation in this context.

The successful student will benefit from interaction with stakeholders from industry and government. In addition, you will join a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment, and will be provided with excellent opportunities for external networking. We will hold regular meetings with the entire cluster, with opportunities to present and discuss research, invite internal and external speakers and collaborators and foster networking.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr. Charlotte Hopkins ().

About the research cluster / about the research environment

Sustainable terrestrial and maritime food systems: environmental technologies and their implications

This PhD project is part of a cluster of inter-related, inter-disciplinary projects, which between them focus on the implications of environmental technologies for the practices of people involved in primary food production on both land and sea. Our food and energy production systems contribute significantly to environmental problems, including climate change, and technological solutions are often proposed as ways of reducing their carbon footprints. Yet these can be challenging to implement and can have unanticipated effects on the practices of those engaged in farming and fishing. This cluster of projects involves a combination of scientific projects aiming to develop and test different environmental technologies, and social science projects aiming to look at the effects on the practices of primary food producers as society aims for a low carbon world. Specifically, the cluster will: 1. advance the development of two technologies for use in terrestrial food production and examine the implications of these for farmers, and 2. examine the effects on the small-scale fishing industry of high energy prices and large scale offshore wind deployment.

As part of a PhD cluster, in addition to becoming an expert in your own area you will join a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment with other researchers around a common theme. You will be part of regular cluster meetings where you can present and discuss your research, as well as engaging with the wider community of postgraduate researchers in the university. You will have opportunities to build relationships with external stakeholders, and you will be supported in development towards your future career – whether that be within or without academia.


Dr Charlotte Hopkins

Dr Magnus Johnson

With advice from Dr Karen Alexander, Heriot-Watt University

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full-time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

Eligibility and entry requirements

We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated candidate, interested in the interface between Marine Policy, Fisheries Science and Human Geography, and keen to develop their expertise in incorporating human perspectives into understanding the marine environment. You must hold a degree (2.1 or higher) in Human Geography, Psychology, Marine Science, Environmental Science and Management or a related subject. A Masters degree in a related subject (e.g. Marine Systems and Policies) and relevant training in social science research methods will be advantageous as the PhD will rely on data collection from human participants, but is not a requirement.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a Home fee waiver only, which will not cover the full International fee. You will therefore need to pay the difference between the Home fee and the International fee and will need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover this.

How to apply

Applications are via the University of Hull webpage

Closing date for applications

10 February 2022

Funding Notes

• The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant / stipend for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 22/23 is £4596 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £17668 per annum.
• If you need to move into a fourth year (full-time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period and you will be required to pay a continuation fee.
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