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School of Psychology SBP University Studentship: Risk perceptions, attitudes and energy (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R883
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

Key Studentship Information

Project Title: Risk perceptions, attitudes and energy

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship exploring risk perceptions and attitudes towards emerging and/or controversial energy sources/technologies.

This will draw on and develop relevant social and environmental psychology theories on risk, attitudes, persuasion and identity (e.g. psychometric paradigm, place identity, elaboration likelihood model).

Project Description: Recent public protests about shale gas, and ongoing public concerns about nuclear and wind developments, highlight the importance of understanding public risk perceptions and attitudes for moving towards a low-carbon society. While research has focused on attitudes to existing technologies (e.g. nuclear, wind), little is known about the bases of public concerns about emerging technologies (e.g. shale gas, smart grids); how the technologies and associated proposals/policies are understood; or how perceptions of the risks or benefits of these energy sources may be influenced by factors such as media coverage; risk exposure; perceived benefits; community experience; individuals’ values, place identity, knowledge; and trust in regulators and developers.

The project will likely apply a mixed-method approach to address some or all of the following questions: How does the public perceive technologies, proposals and policies to use new energy sources or technologies (e.g., shale gas)' How do they assess the risks and rewards associated with these energy sources/technologies' What influences public risk perceptions and acceptability of new energy sources and technologies? How do perceptions differ across individuals, communities and stakeholders, and between experts and non-experts? What relevant theories explain attitude formation and change in respect of these technologies?

The successful candidate will join a vibrant interdisciplinary research community based at Cardiff University’s Understanding Risk Research Group within the School of Psychology.

Number of Awards: 1

Supervisors: Dr. Lorraine Whitmarsh and Dr Wouter Poortinga

Start Date: 1st October 2013 or 1st January 2014


The studentship will commence in either October 2013 or January 2014 and will cover tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant. For 2013-14 the maintenance grant for full-time students is £13,590. This figure may change slightly each year.

This award was generously funded by Serious Brain Power (SBP).


Academic Criteria: To be successful, you should possess or expect to obtain, a first-class or upper second honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology or a similar subject.

A postgraduate Masters degree (or equivalent) would strengthen your application, but is not a requirement.

Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students.

For non-native speakers of English one of the following will be required: IELTS score of 6.5; TOEFL, paper-based score of 570; TOEFL, computer-based score of 250; TOEFL, internet-based score of 90.

How to Apply

Consideration is automatic on applying for a research degree with the School of Psychology.

Applications can be submitted via Cardiff’s Online Application Service to either of the following courses:

Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) (Oct) – RFPDPSYA or Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) (Jan) – RFPDPSYB

Please ensure you select an application form with an Oct 2013 or Jan 2014 start date and put ‘Risk perceptions, attitudes and energy’ as the proposed title and ‘SBP Studentship’ when it asks about funding.

Application Deadline: 31 May 2013 (5pm)

Further Information

For more information on the application process, please contact Mrs Lesley-Anne Strabel on or +44 (0)29 2087 5381.

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