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What consequences does the decentralisation of energy production have for local energy demand?



Important description
The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures focuses on advancing the science of sustainability and connecting it with the policy debate around how humans can live in a more sustainable way.

Grantham.sheffield.ac.uk

The decentralisation of energy production, principally through the deployment of renewable energy technologies (RET), is a significant element of the current moves in the UK and elsewhere towards a decarbonised and secure future energy system. However, there is growing evidence that the efficacy of RET deployment in decarbonising the energy system is compromised by a lack of understanding of how RETs and the way they make energy available relate to the patterns and practices of energy demand.

This PhD project will advance understanding of the consequences for energy demand of current and likely future processes of local energy production. Co-supervised across Human Geography and Physics, and working with existing research teams, the student pursuing this project will have the opportunity to break new ground through taking a distinctively interdisciplinary approach to this very contemporary issue.

The project will best suit a social science graduate ready to work at the interface of social and physical sciences. The project will require a strong foundation in qualitative social science research methods including critical analysis, ideally also with readiness to engage analytically with large scale data sets on both the economics and technical performance.

The successful candidate for this project will have substantial latitude in shaping the detailed direction of the project, but it is envisaged that the project will focus on one case study town. This geographical focus will enable examination of the effects of local RETs and low carbon energy technologies on energy demand at a scale of analysis enabling attention to the broader systemic processes at stake.

The project will demand qualitative social science methodology, with interviews, focus groups and some observation, but also analytical engagement with large scale data sets on both the economics and technical performance of different locally deployable technologies, and with other secondary evidence from existing studies of decentralised energy technology. The opportunity provided by 4 years of funding will enable a relatively extended longitudinal study, to understand the effects of actual energy technology deployments over that time.

The PhD project topic is situated between the foci of two current research projects, Solar Energy for Future Societies (www.solar.sheffield.ac.uk) and Sheffieldメs part of DEMAND (www.demand.ac.uk), led respectively by the two supervisors, providing an excellent foundation, both conceptually and pragmatically, for this ambitious PhD project. As well as the programme of training and development as part of the Grantham centre, the student will also benefit from being part of the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre (www.wrdtc.ac.uk). The student will also be a member of the lively community of doctoral researchers in the Department of Geography (www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/phd).

We are recruiting Scholars who will combine outstanding intellect with a strong commitment to public engagement, leadership and action. These ambitious individuals will complete interdisciplinary PhD research projects to help solve the challenges of sustainability. They will be supported by the Centre through a unique training programme, designed to equip them with the skills to become policy advocates and leaders in sustainability matters.

Key words:Energy demand, Renewable energy, Community, Interdisciplinary, Geography, Qualitative

Please note: in online application process please select メstandard PhDメ not DTC option


Eligibility and other criteria
The successful candidate for this project will have substantial latitude in shaping the detailed direction of the project, but it is envisaged that the project will focus on one case study town. This geographical focus will enable examination of the effects of local RETs and low carbon energy technologies on energy demand at a scale of analysis enabling attention to the broader systemic processes at stake.


Application deadline
* February 28, 2015


Additional information, and important URL
http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

This four year studentship will be fully funded at Home/EU or international rates. Support for travel and consumables (RTSG) will also be made available at standard rate of ᆪ2,563 per annum, with an additional one-off allowance of ᆪ1,000 for a computer in the first year. Students will receive an annual stipend of ᆪ16,913 in 2015/16, rising with inflation thereafter. Applications should be received and complete by 28th February 2015.

http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply


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