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Design for behaviour change in African urban informal settlements


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Dr F Ceschin Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This PhD is linked to a 5-year research project entitled ‘Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments’, in short Gender for Energy Security (GENS). Funded by National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and the Newton Fund through the British Council, the project involves Stellenbosch University, Brunel University London and University of Nairobi ( The project aims to advance knowledge on the area of energy security in informal urban settlements, with a particular focus on gender equity and equality. The project will implement two living labs, in Cape Town and Nairobi townships, where, in collaboration with communities, companies, NGOs and policy makers, interventions to improve energy security will be ideated, developed, prototyped and tested. This will pave the way to the commercialisation of innovative solutions and the implementation of supporting policies.

‘Design for sustainable behaviour’ focuses on understanding how design can shape or influence human behaviour to support the adoption of sustainable innovations and behaviours, and it represents a crucial element in this 5-year project.

Within this project, this PhD will explore how ‘design for sustainable behaviour’ can be used to trigger and support human behaviour changes toward the adoption of sustainable and gendered-informed energy systems in informal urban settlements. This will include understanding current energy-related behaviours of communities and users, planning design interventions to shape behaviours, and measuring effects of design interventions. Research questions will be defined on the basis of the specific interest of the PhD researcher.

This PhD will require the researcher to spend some time in Cape Town and Nairobi, where the two living labs are located.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here:
Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

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