Funded PhD studentship available: Building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in reducing urban poverty
7 February 2013
PhD Studentship looking at building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in reducing urban poverty.
Community-led renewable energy and energy efficiency projects provide a wide range of social and ecological benefits, including cutting carbon emissions, promoting pro-environmental behaviours and building community resilience through generating sources of sustainable income. However, there remains a lack of research into the impacts of community-led initiatives on reducing fuel poverty, particularly in deprived urban areas. How can community groups and the organisations supporting them measure the impacts of community energy projects in reducing levels of fuel poverty? What is the capacity of social enterprises to sustain and better integrate community action in deprived communities? And, how can community development programmes effectively coordinate and support community action on energy that will specifically target the most vulnerable groups? Guided by these research questions, this doctoral studentship position will directly engage with the current knowledge gaps.
The empirical research will focus on deprived urban communities in Cardiff. An interdisciplinary and action research approach will be employed with research participants enrolled as co-researchers. This will support development of methodologies to bridge the gap between science and community and the cooperative generation of new knowledge to support community action. The learning outcomes of the research will be used to support a wide range of community and third sector organisations to develop more effective ways of supporting community action on energy.
The School of Planning and Geography (CPLAN) will be the home school for this studentship position. CPLAN is the largest planning school in the UK and takes a wide definition of planning which encompasses the policy areas of economic development, environment, housing, urban design, transport, health as well as land-use planning. The School strives to be a centre of excellence in research, teaching and policy and practice associated with the planning and management of cities and regions.
The doctoral academic supervisory team is comprised of affiliates of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE). PLACE combines expertise in planning and urban design, energy systems, rural and urban communities, ecosystems, infrastructure, health, and decision-making which addresses the management and policy needs for integrated place-based solutions. It operates as a scientific 'meeting place' in research and training between the Schools of Social Sciences, Planning and Geography, Medicine, Earth and Biological Sciences, Law, Architecture, Psychology, Engineering, and Business. Based in PLACE, the doctoral student will be supported in adopting an interdisciplinary approach which draws on research into sustainable energy consumption, fuel poverty and community resilience from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Interdisciplinary (and cross-disciplinary) working will also guide the action research methodology.
The studentship is also supported by the Welsh Government. As part of this support there may also be the possibility for the candidate to spend some time based within the Welsh Government, situated in the People & Environment Division. The policy scope of this division encompasses: - Energy Efficiency & Fuel Poverty, Local Environment Quality, Sustainable Behaviours and Engagement (inc. SD & Climate Change) and Radioactivity & Pollution Prevention.
For further information, please contact Dr Alex Franklin, via email (FranklinA1@cardiff.ac.uk) or by telephone (+44 (0)29 2087 0974)