Cardiff School of Psychology President's Scholarship: Public Perceptions of Emerging Climate Change Risks
Reference Number: R1011
Key Studentship Information
Project title: Public Perceptions of Emerging Climate Change Risks
As the impacts of climate change begin to be felt in the UK and throughout the world a critical issue will be the response of affected communities to increasing levels of risk. The existing knowledge-base on public perceptions of climate change derives from work in psychology, human geography and risk research. However, new developments in climate science and policy make this less secure as a basis for framing communications about the future climate, including; the increasing use of risk in climate policy, and emerging evidence of important secondary Earth system impacts directly related to elevated atmospheric CO2 levels (e.g. ocean acidification, and possible climate ‘tipping points’). We currently know very little about how the public might understand these new emerging climate risks and their impacts, and the intention is to investigate this as well as attitudes towards possible novel responses. The project will also look to contribute knowledge useful for risk communication about these emerging climate risks.
This PhD will examine public risk perception in respect of emerging climate change risks. Building on previous work spanning the two Schools the student will use the well established ‘mental modelling’ techniques for comparing expert assessments of the emerging risks with public views. It involves three stages: (a) building an expert model of the basic risk processes involved using background literature reviews followed by (b) interview and (c) surveys with members of the public. A key focus is to identify correct knowledge, key misunderstandings, and gaps in public understanding in comparison to the expert model. This methodology is self-contained and suitable for a 3 year PhD project.
The work is genuinely inter-disciplinary, linking two research intensive Schools at Cardiff (the School of Psychology and the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences) and two supervisors with complementary interests.
The student will be based for the majority of their time in the Understanding Risk research group within the School of Psychology (www.understanding-risk.org) but with access to facilities in the School of Earth Sciences.
References: Lorenzoni, I. & N. Pidgeon, Climatic Change, 77, 73-95 (2006); G. Morgan et al Risk Communication: A Mental Model Approach, CUP, 2002.
Start date: October 2013
This is a Cardiff University President's Research Scholarship. The award includes full UK/EU tuition fees plus a doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,590 p.a. for 2012/13, updated each year).
Academic Criteria: We seek a highly motivated, well-organised student capable of developing and fostering collaborative research. The successful candidate should possess a First-Class honours degree, or 2:1, plus a postgraduate Masters degree ideally at Distinction level (or their equivalents) in a relevant subject area such as environmental psychology, social psychology or human geography. Excellent literacy, numeracy and IT skills are required, in addition to good English language skills. Applicants from the UK or EU are eligible for a full award of stipend and tuition fees from the University President’s Award scheme.
Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students.
Please note: Overseas students can also apply but will only be eligible for the same level of funding (therefore will need to fund the difference between UK fees and Overseas fees themselves).
How to Apply
No separate application is necessary – consideration is automatic on applying for Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Psychology (October 2013 start) through the University application portal.
Please ensure you mention in the funding section of the application that you are applying for this particular studentship. You do not need to submit a research proposal as such but we do encourage you to explain why this studentship appeals to you and how it relates to your areas of study and expertise.
Application Deadline: 30th April 2013
For further information please contact Mrs Lesley-Anne Strabel via email Psych-PhD@cardiff.ac.uk or by telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5381.