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Message posted on 16/07/2021

[PhD advert] Governing professions for net-zero

                Dear colleagues - I'd be grateful if you could pass the below PhD opportunity
onto your Masters students. Unfortunately only those currently based in the UK
are able to apply. Noting the tight timelines, too! With best wishes, Chris.


PhD advert - 'Governing professional practice and culture in delivering
ambitious net-zero carbon goals'

Supervisors: Dr Chris Foulds, Dr David Arkell, Prof. Aled Jones, Anglia Ruskin
University, Cambridge, UK; to be based in ARU's Global Sustainability
Application deadline: 31 July 2021.

Start date: September 2021, with possibility of delaying to January 2022 for
right candidate.

Funding: fully funded (UKRI-equivalent annual stipend + UK student fee waiver
+ additional study expenses) for 3 years.

More information available

The PhD opportunity:

It is essential that government zero-carbon commitments rest on a bedrock of
professional practice and culture that effectively ensures that commitments
are both feasible and ambitious. Research has reiterated the importance of
carefully thinking through approaches to engaging professionals on such
issues. For example, what sorts of professional knowledge, networks, cultures
and expectations are required to adequately develop - and, critically,
implement - a shared and truly ambitious net-zero vision? What communities of
practice are needed to make this happen? How can professions and professionals
organise themselves? What roles may exist, for example, for gatekeeper,
brokering and intermediary organisations? Ultimately, what forms of
professional participation are needed to help achieve a socially-just
low-carbon energy transition?

As such, this PhD will specifically explore inclusive and cross-sectorial ways
in which professionals can come together to successfully (and fairly) embed
private, public, third sector and citizens' needs into local-to-regional
governance agendas. We expect the PhD to undertake mainly qualitative research
(e.g. interviews, participant observation, workshops, etc.), as part of
interacting closely with our case study partners. This PhD extends the
formative work done by researchers in ARU's Global Sustainability Institute
around, for example, Transitions Management approaches to local sustainability

This PhD will focus on Essex County Council's Net Zero Innovation Network
(NZIN) as a case study. The aim of NZIN is to support partnerships and drive
innovation, helping Essex achieve its target of being a net zero carbon
emissions county by 2050. There is a particular focus on themes emerging from
the Essex Climate Action Commission including: transport, energy, waste and
the built environment. Essex County Council has set up these groups to support
a bold ambition to deliver real change now that will lead to long term

A supervisory team and reference group will deliver crucial added value and
participation, and transdisciplinary insight and direction. It is envisaged
that Essex County Council will join the PhD supervisory teams as
industry/government professionals. This is one of two funded PhD positions
with Essex County Council; the other will be based in ARU's Faculty of
Business and Law, in partnership with ARU's Global Sustainability Institute.

The successful candidate will have a social science background at ideally the
Masters level (e.g. Human Geography, Sociology, Science & Technology Studies,
Innovation Studies, Environmental Social Sciences, Sustainability Studies).
Experience of collecting and analysing qualitative data will be favoured.

The Global Sustainability Institute (GSI):

Over the past 10 years, the GSI has built a global reputation for delivering
research impact and high-quality interdisciplinary publications across a broad
range of sustainability issues. We have received funding from six of the seven
UK Research Councils (ESRC, EPSRC, NERC, AHRC, BBSRC, STFC). We have also led
and supported several high-profile EU projects including SHAPE
RRING, Energy in Water,
amongst others, and also been part of major centres such as the ESRC's Centre
for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity and EPSRC's
EnergyREV. The GSI has a particular interest in
research that has the potential for real-world impact, and thus has a wide
portfolio of applied projects that focus on working with e.g. European
Commission, UK Government, local authorities, charities and NGOs, business and
industry, etc.

Further details:

       This PhD opportunity is part of an ARU partnership with Essex County
Council, who are co-funding two PhD positions. It is anticipated that the two
PhD Researchers will benefit greatly from working alongside one another and
from having access to Essex County Council's impressive local networks. We
also anticipate that there will be plenty of scope for driving local impact
through the PhD research.

       Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Chris
Foulds ( to
discuss the PhD opportunity further.

       The annual stipend will track UKRI levels across the three years,
which was set at 15,609/year for 2021-2022.

       This full-time PhD Studentship is open to only UK student applicants
(although does include those with e.g. pre-settled status that have lived in
the UK for 3+ years), due to the size of the fee waiver on offer.


Dr Chris Foulds
Principal Research Fellow
Global Sustainability Institute (GSI)
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK.

T: (+44) 1223 69 5112 | E: | Twitter:

Further info: Personal
webpage |
LinkedIn |
GSI | GSI's Consumption &
Selected projects: SHAPE
Energy in Water

Recent selected publications:
Energy justice in the developing world: a review of theoretical frameworks,
key research themes and policy
implications (Energy for Sustainable Development, 2020)
Expanding the scope and implications of energy research: A guide to key themes
from the Social Sciences and
Humanities (Energy Research & Social Science, 2020)
Diversifying diversity: Inclusive engagement, intersectionality, and gender
identity in a European Social Sciences and Humanities Energy research
project (Energy Research & Social Science, 2020)
An approach to identifying future Social Sciences & Humanities energy research
priorities for Horizon Europe: Working Group guidelines for systematic Horizon
Scanning (Energy-SHIFTS, 2019)
Use of evidence in energy policy: the roles, capacities and expectations of
Social Sciences and
Humanities (Energy-SHIFTS, 2019)
Advancing energy policy: Lessons on the integration of Social Sciences and
Humanities (eds.)
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
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