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ESRC studentships at Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences

We would like to attract expressions of interest from suitably qualified students with excellent academic qualifications who wish to apply for ESRC studentships at Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences. We are seeking students who are interested to work alongside the Flexis ( Social Sciences team that is now working with engineering colleagues on energy systems change, building on our previous “Energy Biographies” project. The Energy Biographies project ( ) used biographical, socio-cultural narrative, and psychosocial approaches to investigate energy use in socio-technical systems and in everyday life.


Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for funded doctoral studentship awards to start in October 2018. Within the ESRC Science & Technology Studies pathway sits the major research challenge of new energy technologies. The School of Social Sciences works in collaboration with FLEXIS (Flexible Integrated Energy Systems) a £24 million research operation designed to integrate social science and technical research to investigate social, psychological and environmental aspects of the complexities and issues concerning future integrated energy system changes. Possible topics for a doctoral studentship include:

  • Potential social impacts of energy system change in communities surrounding the Port Talbot steelworks
  • Social legitimacy and acceptability of CCU and socio-technical change
  • Smart living and vulnerable consumers
  • Decarbonisation and digitisation of energy systems change
  • Intelligibility of problems of energy use and demand: How experts and members of the public construe contemporary logics of energy demand reduction
  • Understandings of materials use: Exploring divergent notions of waste, efficiency, abundance and excess in the context of energy systems change
  • The UK’s industrial strategy – Is there a place for environmental stewardship and psycho-social citizenship?
  • Creative designs for investigating relationships between air quality, environmental risk controversy and quality of life
  • (Inter) generational encounters with energy systems change

We would be interested to discuss possible PhD projects with students on these topics or other related topics of interest prior to the submission of an application. Students with backgrounds in sociology, human geography, social psychology and with interdisciplinary interests are welcome to apply.


Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.


For further details, contact Professor Karen Henwood: henwoodk [at] cardiff [dot] ac [dot] uk