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Winds of Change: A comparative approach to the governance of offshore wind developments (BOCQUILLON_PPL23CDCC)

   Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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  Dr Pierre Bocquillon, Dr J Fairbrass  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project


Offshore wind is an increasingly mature technology that has a central role to play in the energy transition in the critical decade for climate change. Offshore wind technologies have developed rapidly – including in the UK – as they offer large volumes of renewable electricity at competitive prices while being less subject to local opposition. Yet, they also require large infrastructure developments, conducive policy and regulatory environments, and have often been contested on environmental, economic, or aesthetic grounds. The project will investigate the governance issues associated with offshore wind (e.g. infrastructure siting, regulation, public participation) to better understand and navigate them. How have these challenges been addressed in different political and regulatory contexts? What lessons can be drawn for future developments?  

Research methodology   

The research will be comparative, including a case study of the East of England – a major area for offshore wind in the UK – and in-depth analysis of other experiences from across the world, depending on your geographical interests and language skills. For that purpose, you will (a) collate and analyse (quantitatively and/or qualitatively) a new comparative database of issues and stakeholder positions based on documentary analysis (including policy, business and media sources) and (b) undertake in-depth interviews with national and local stakeholders (energy companies, planning authorities, NGOs), elected representatives and citizens.   


This PhD provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills in the collection of original social science data, documentary analysis and interviewing, scientific writing, and communicating research insights to academic and policy audiences. You will receive relevant research training through UEA DTPs and advanced training at specialised methods schools (e.g. Essex). You will be associated with the world leading Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the interdisciplinary Centre for Competition Policy, which has an extensive track record of research and engagement on energy policy and regulation.  

Person specification  

You will have a demonstrable interest in energy and climate politics and policy-making; a degree in Politics, Business, Geography, Sociology or equivalent subjects; experience in independent qualitative/quantitative empirical research (e.g. through completion of a dissertation); and would like to join a dynamic interdisciplinary team.  

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Critical Decade for Climate Change programme. For more information about the programme and details of how to apply, please visit https://www.uea.ac.uk/climate/show-and-tell/leverhulme-doctoral-scholars-applicant-information.  

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please visit the UEA website www.uea.ac.uk 

The start date for this project is 1st October 2023.

Funding Notes

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Critical Decade for Climate Change programme, which will award PhD studentship funding from the Leverhulme Trust and UEA’s Faculties of Social Sciences and Science.
Successful candidates will be awarded a PhD studentship that pays tuition fees, a stipend (£17,668 p.a. for 2022/23), and funding to support research costs. Studentship funding is only available to applicants eligible for ‘Home’ fees status, including UK nationals and most EU nationals with ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status.
Further details of the Critical Decade programme can be found at: https://www.uea.ac.uk/climate/show-and-tell/leverhulme-doctoral-scholars-applicant-information.


Bocquillon, P., & Maltby, T. (2020). EU energy policy integration as embedded intergovernmentalism: the case of Energy Union governance. Journal of European Integration, 42(1), 39-57. 
Bocquillon, P., & Evrard, A. (2016). Catching up with or getting ahead of Europe? French renewable energy policies and Europeanization dynamics. Politique Européenne, 52(2), 32-56. 
Fairbrass, J. M., & Vasilakos, N. (Eds.). (2021). Emerging Governance of a Green Economy: Cases of European Implementation. Cambridge University Press. 
Herranz Surrallés, A, Solorio, I., and Fairbrass, J. (2020). Special Issue, Guest Editors. ‘Authority and Contestation in the EU Energy Transition’. Journal of European Integration. 42:1, 1-17. 
Solorio, I. and Fairbrass, J. (2017) ‘The UK and EU renewable energy policy: the relentless British policy-shaper’ in I. Solorio and H. Jorgens (eds), A Guide to EU Renewable Energy Policy. Comparing Europeanization and Domestic Policy Change in EU Member States. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. 
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