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Life cycle assessment of UKRI-funded research projects

   College of Science and Engineering

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  Prof G Falcone, Prof Jaime Toney, Dr Claire Miller  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Aiming for sustainable development implies reflecting on all areas linked with human activities and in all types of organisations. This brings a need to assess the environmental impacts associated with research activities. Calculating the carbon footprint of academic research projects is an important measure to help host organisations, funders and government demonstrate that researchers are giving careful considerations to the CO2(eq) that they emit over the course of their projects.

The lifecycle of a research project includes activities that may be scientific or administrative in nature, or both. They begin with forming a hypothesis or research question and typically conclude with final financial reports and scientific publications. Examples of activities associated with potential environmental footprints are business trips, laboratory-based experiments, attendance to conferences. It is unrealistic in the current conditions to produce zero emissions while performing research; however, with appropriate understanding of the emissions costs of each planned activity, the overall footprint can be calculated in a life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach, so that opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint can be identified, quantified and prioritised.  Current LCA methodologies and ISO standards retain practical challenges with drawing system boundaries and deciding on which processes/inventories should be included or excluded in the analysis. Their subjective selection may lead to unrepresentative results, depending on the chosen carbon accounting and reporting system.

In this PhD project, the energy and raw materials consumed, the emissions and wastes generated, and the potential environmental impacts of these loads will be assessed for the GALLANT programme, together with the associated costs. Sensitivity of the results on system boundaries and processes will be investigated. The anticipated outcome is a novel framework to inform decision-making to reduce future impacts. With the support of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions, the framework will be rolled out across the UofG to trial across different funder applications.

The successful candidate will demonstrate appropriate modelling and coding skills and experience to assess, project and inform decisions around carbon auditing based on LCA best practices.

To be classed as a UK/Home applicant, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

• Have settled status, or

• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or

• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

All applicants must have or expect to obtain a first-class degree (2.1 or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. This may cover, but is not limited to, earth sciences, social science, mathematics, engineering, computing, physics, bio- and chemical sciences.

We champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, believing that this is the way to increase research productivity and quality and to enhance societal and economic impact. Likewise, the University of Glasgow and our external partners are fully committed to EDI principles.

We support applications from under-represented backgrounds, childcare support for conference attendance, flexible working for carers and promote a work-life balance.

For enquires related to EDI, please address to GALLANT EDI Champion, Dr Caroline Gauchotte-Lindsay via the GALLANT-phd mailbox.

How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply: For studentship enquiries, please contact [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

Full studentship funding is available to cover four years of tuition fees for UK Home applicants and an annual stipend equivalent to the UK Research Council rate (e.g. £15,840 for Session 2022/23).
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