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Cardiff School of Planning and Geography ESRC +3 Studentship: Building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in reducing urban poverty

Reference Number: R1018
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: Fees and Stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Please note, deadline is Friday, 8 March 2013 4pm

Key Studentship Information

ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre/Canolfan Hyfforddi Ddoethurol Cymru ESRC

Project Title: Building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in reducing urban poverty

Project Description:

Having won a coveted place in the national network of training centres accredited by the ESRC, the Wales Doctoral Training Centre (Wales-DTC) is awarding a number of ESRC-funded postgraduate research studentships to support doctoral research and training at the Cardiff School of Planning and Geography.

We have one Human Geography ESRC funded PhD Studentship available for the 2013/14 academic year. The award is available on a +3 basis. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years of a PhD only, and assumes that the applicant will already have had research training from an MSc degree.

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.

Supervisors: Dr Richard Cowell, Dr Alex Franklin, Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth

Start Date: 1st October 2013

Number of Awards Available: 1


This studentship will commence in October 2013 and will cover UK/EU tuition fees and Doctoral stipend of £13,726 p.a. In addition, an allowance is provided to cover research expenses, of £750 in Years 1 and 2, and £375 in Year 3.


Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

ESRC studentship funding is highly competitive. In view of the limited number of awards and the very high standard of applications received, successful applicants are likely to have a very good first degree (a first or upper second class BA or BSc Honours or equivalent), and an appropriate Masters degree in a relevant subject (with an average mark of at least 65%).

How to Apply

In the first instance, please send a CV, covering letter and 1000 word Research Proposal to Miss Sian Moseley (

We suggest that you use the following four headings in your research proposal: Aims and purpose of the research, Overview of the academic literature relevant to your field, Proposed Methodology; and Academic contributions of your research.

Consideration of this award is automatic on application to a PhD in Planning and Geography. Applications can be submitted online – for details and to begin an application, please see Cardiff's Online Application Service.

Application Deadline: March 8th 2013

Further Information

For further information, please contact Dr Alex Franklin, via email ( or by telephone (+44 (0)29 2087 0974)