PhD Research Position: Establishing a community climate action toolkit (CONNECTED)

   School of Engineering

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  Prof Jamie Goggins, Dr Vincent Carragher  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time three-year, fully funded PhD research position available on climate action at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The position will be based in the School of Engineering and is available from 4 September 2023, where the student will enrol on the individual PhD programme.

The community decarbonisation project (CONNECTED) collaboratively develops supports, tools, approaches and know-how to assist Decarbonisation Zones and other communities to take action on climate change. It establishes training, a resource hub, an active collaborative community network, organisational and communication procedures for communities, and a footprint tool that allows residents and communities to measure their carbon emissions impacts based on their domestic lifestyles. Pilot tools are tested in the 5 Decarbonisation Zones prior to full development of the climate action toolkit.

Irelands Programme for Government in 2020 commits Ireland to reducing carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, an average 7% per annum, and becoming a net zero and climate neutral economy by no later than 2050. The Climate Action Act 2021 has put this ambition in legislation. Ireland’s Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025 has a high level goal to build inclusive communities and encourage active citizenship. Disadvantaged or marginalised groups in communities require additional support or targeted avenues to effectively participate. CONNECTED aims to provide tools that will support community climate action enabling greater emissions reduction in Ireland due to the economy of scales that communities and their structure provide.

A collaborative effort on built environment, energy, transport, waste, and food by academics, government, local authority, communities, and individuals to deliver decarbonised commitments, behaviours, infrastructures, practices, plans, and ways of living.

Funding:19,000 Euros.

PhD Position:

The successful candidate will play a major role in establishing this climate action toolkit developing supports, tools, approaches and know-how to assist communities to decarbonise and to take action on climate change.

The candidate is responsible for contributing to the development of practical, applicable and usable research outputs (e.g. community-type supports, design guidance documents, tools, reports, surveys, focus groups, webinars, etc.) and contributing to the various tasks and deliverables of the CONNECTED project.

The successful candidate will work in the School of Engineering under the joint supervision of Prof Jamie Goggins and Dr Vincent Carragher. The successful candidate will conduct the following:

·      Desktop review of best practice to include identification of supports, tools, approaches and know-how to assist communities to decarbonise

·      Support the development of an ecological footprinting app

·      Play a major role in developing and testing tools and resources

·      Collaborate with 11 university of galway academics

·      Actively engage with our partners and the community and voluntary sector and its networks

In addition to the specific tasks for each position listed above, the successful candidates will:

1.      Prepare abstracts, journal articles, policy briefs and presentations for dissemination of the work in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, international conferences and relevant symposia.

2.      Assist in the operation of the research group through: (i), day-to-day management, (ii) liaison with partners and university staff as required and (iii) writing research funding applications.

3.      Work independently to ensure the successful completion of the work and their development as an academic researcher.

4.      Gain experience in grant writing and participate in internal / external networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future research collaboration

Project Team:

The core interdisciplinary University of Galway team will collaborate to develop decarbonisation pathways and resources for communities.

·      Prof Jamie Goggins 

·      Dr Vincent Carragher

·      11 climate action academics in the Uinversity of Galway

·      Climate Action Regional Office

·      5 Local Authorities

·      4 Volunteer Centres

·      Energy Cooperatives Ireland


The ideal candidate should hold a Bachelors degree in a related discipline, examples are Engineering, Science, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Communication, Community Development, Arts, or equivalent, and have a background or interest in behaviour change and sustainability. Original scientific research will be an advantage. Candidates should have excellent communication and organisational skills; be highly motivated and passionate about sustainability; and have strong documentation, oral and interpersonal skills.

Essential Requirements:

·      Honours degree (at least 2.1 or equivalent) in a discipline, such as Engineering, Science, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Communication, Arts, or equivalent

·      Highly self-motivated, enthusiastic, and scientifically curious;

·      Excellent verbal and written communication skills (English language)

·      Problem-solving, critical thinking and troubleshooting skills

Excellent spoken and written communication skills, Non-native English speakers must satisfy the University of Galway English Language Entry Requirements available here

·      Ability to work independently, and as part of a team

·      Applicants whose first language is not English must show evidence of English proficiency (e.g. IELTS minimum 6.5, individual sections 5.5), please check the requirements at:

Desirable Requirements:

·      Experience and/or an interest in climate action and behaviour- and practice-change

·      Experience in organising and/or participating in community based events such as focus groups and workshops

·      Experience in collaborating with stakeholders in the public, private and/or community and voluntary sectors

·      Evidence of innovative thinking, able to work both independently and in cross-disciplinary teams

·      Postgraduate study and qualifications in a related area such as a Masters may be an advantage

·      A record of peer-reviewed journal publications is advantageous but not essential

·      Full clean driver’s licence (must be recognised in Ireland) may be an advantage

To Apply:

Please send the below documents by email with “PhD-CONNECTED Application – (PhD Position Number) – (applicant first and last name)” in the subject line to Ms Gráinne Morahan, ([Email Address Removed]).

(1) Your C.V. (Please include details of your Masters & Undergraduate theses, if appropriate, and contact details of two referees.)

(2) Full details of all university course grades to date

(3) Motivation letter (750 words maximum) that clearly describes why you are interested in and are suitable for this research position..

The closing date for applications is 5pm 1th August, with interviews shortly thereafter.

It is expected that the candidate will start as soon as possible after 4th September 2023.

Informal enquiries, to:

[Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

Funded as part of the Community Climate Action Program by the irish government through Pobal.
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