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Name of scholarship/program

Product lifetimes and resource use

Important description
Applications are invited from individuals looking to pursue doctoral study who have an interest in how long products last and the implications for environmental and social sustainability. The successful student/s will be based in a new £1.2m research centre supported by Research Councils UK which is to be launched in April 2013.

In a rapidly expanding research programme Nottingham Trent University is bringing together designers, engineers, marketers, economists, sociologists and environmental scientists to enhance knowledge and understanding in order to address the challenge of unduly short product lifetimes. The programme covers a range of sectors, including vehicles, electrical / electronic equipment, furniture, clothing, home improvement and industrial goods and equipment.

The context is a recent government review of waste policy which proposed an economy in which resources are used sustainability ‘through design for longer life, upgrading, re-use or repair’ and urged companies to ‘design and manufacture goods that are more efficient, durable, repairable and recyclable.’ These are especially challenging objectives at the present time: most responses to the economic recession are based on an assumption that increased consumption is desirable and yet this may be less likely if products last longer. Moreover, in order to understand why many products are short-lived it is necessary not only to consider design and manufacturing decisions but also underlying influences such as consumer expectations, the market context and business models.

We are especially keen to hear from prospective research students with an interest in one or more of the following themes:
? Implications of increased product lifetimes for the economy
? Consumer attitudes, behaviour, habits and routines associated with product longevity
? Consumer priorities and demand for premium quality products
? Discount retailing and the perceived ‘affordability’ of goods
? How and why products depreciate in value over time
? The relationship between product durability and recyclability
? Skills, design and opportunities for repair
? Design for upgradability
? Design for reuse through collaborative consumption
? Purchase and replacement decisions: comparisons between households, government and businesses
? Business models, social innovation and product-service systems to promote repair and reuse.

Entry requirement
The successful candidate should have a good first degree in a relevant discipline

Eligibility and other criteria
Applications can be accepted from UK/EU and also International students. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 560/iBT 94 - 95

Application deadline
9am, Friday 15 February 2013

Additional information, and important URL
The scholarships will pay UK/EU fees and provide a maintenance stipend linked to the RCUK rate (currently £13,590 per annum) for up to three years. Applications from non-EU students are welcome, but a successful candidate would be responsible for paying the difference between non-EU and UK/EU fees. (Fees for 2012/13 are £3,828 for UK/EU students and £11,300 for non-EU students.)

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