Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Cardiff School of Planning and Geography ESRC PhD Studentship: Building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in sustainable place making (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R1044
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU fees plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre/Canolfan Hyfforddi Ddoethurol Cymru ESRC

Key Studentship Information

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.

Project Title: Building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in sustainable place making

Project Description: Community-led renewable energy initiatives provide a potentially wide range of social, economic and ecological benefits across a range of scales. This includes cutting carbon emissions, promoting pro-environmental behaviours and building community resilience through generating sources of sustainable income. A growing body of research exists on the opportunities and challenges of developing such initiatives in either a rural or urban setting. Currently, however, less is known about the social inclusivity of small scale energy initiatives. For example, who engages in community energy generation initiatives' What are the local socio-economic geographies of community energy initiatives' In what ways can community-led energy initiatives being used to combat fuel poverty within deprived communities'

This doctoral position will be suited to applicants with a research interest in community-led sustainability action, small scale energy initiatives, urban regeneration and/ or community resilience. It will also be suited to those interested in engaging with and reflecting upon action research as a methodological approach, including the enrolment of community members as co-researchers. Knowledge generated from the study will be used to inform a wide range of community and third sector organisations, but also government bodies, to develop more effective ways of supporting community action on energy. The empirical focus of the research will be on community energy initiatives within Wales.

School of Planning and Geography

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.

Sustainable Places Research Institute

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.

Welsh Government – People and Places Division

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: October 2013


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.

Number of Awards Available: 1


Academic Criteria: 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).

Residency: 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.

How to Apply

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

Following initial correspondence candidates will also be required to make a formal application for PhD study with the school. Applications can be made using our Online Application Service selecting the PhD in Planning & Geography (October 2013 start) programme option.

Applications should include a 1000 Word Research proposal. The proposal should provide details of the academic rationale for the research and the proposed research strategy. 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.

Application Deadline: Friday 12th April 2013

Further Information

For more information please contact Dr Alex Franklin on or 029 2087 0974.