University of Plymouth: Psychological and social factors in new types of energy generation: The case of deep geothermal

By Robert Lyons on 31st July 2017
Closing Date: 
Monday, August 28, 2017

This PhD project will explore the nexus between the social and behavioural sciences and geosciences through a focus on public perceptions of, and attitudes to, deep geothermal energy. The candidate will be able to shape the PhD studies but research questions are likely to include people’s risk and benefit perceptions of different energy technologies and the wider psychological and social influences, including local and social identity, connectedness to nature, environmental attitudes etc.

The PhD will draw on theories of risk perception and behaviour change, integrating social and cognitive psychology approaches with a strong interdisciplinary perspective, and explore novel ways of communicating, potentially using social media and apps. You will be working with Professor Iain Stewart (Earth science) and Dr Sabine Pahl (psychology), who both have a strong track record of interdisciplinary collaborative research funded by ESRC, NERC, Defra and EU.

We are looking for a highly motivated, hard working person who is both collaborative and open-minded in their approach. The candidate should have good quantitative skills and knowledge of relevant social and cognitive research and a range of research methods as well as a broad understanding and/or interest in the energy field. The position would suit a psychology or other social science graduate who wishes to apply their training to a real-world challenge. Natural sciences graduates who can demonstrate an interest in the social dimension and who would be able to pick up behavioural theories and research skills quickly are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification and/or practical research experience.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,350 per annum).