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3-Year Interdisciplinary Studentship Opportunity

16 May 2012

School of Psychology, School of Social Sciences

Research Area/ Project Title: Understanding the Dynamics of Domestic Electricity Supply, Consumption and Demand Reduction
Location: School of Psychology, Cardiff University
Expected Start Date: 1st October 2012
Duration: 3 Years
Deadline for Application: Closed

Description of Research Opportunity

This 3-year interdisciplinary studentship is co-funded by the ESRC’s Wales Doctoral Training Centre (Wales-DTC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (‘Top and Tail’ Grand Challenge in Future Electricity Networks), with joint supervision of the student provided by Professor Nick Pidgeon (Cardiff School of Psychology) and Professor Karen Henwood (Cardiff School of Social Sciences). The challenges of meeting UK climate change targets and energy security mean that how we deliver and use electricity in the home is likely to change radically over the next 50 years. We know very little about the extent to which such changes will be accepted by people. The main aim of the project is therefore to examine how people understand and use their existing domestic energy supply (mapping the material, cultural and psychological benefits that this has for them - warmth, communications, identity, etc.) and to explore the acceptability of possible future transformations in that supply and the services it can provide.

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


The supervisors will be Professor Nick Pidgeon (Cardiff School of Psychology) and Professor Karen Henwood (Cardiff School of Social Sciences). Both have extensive prior experience in studying public perceptions and understanding of environmental and technological risks, of energy in the everyday, and in future energy transformations.


The +3 studentship assumes that the applicant will already have had advanced social sciences research training, typically from their MSc degree.

Studentships will commence in October 2012 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant and an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). In 2011-12 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £13,590 and the RTSG was £1000. The award levels for 2012-13 have yet to be published by the ESRC.


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 studentships are available from the Wales DTC for UK and EU students who meet residency requirements set out by the ESRC. Please consult the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guides for full details on residential eligibility requirements.

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 BSc Honours or equivalent), and an appropriate Masters degree (with an average mark of at least 65).

Further Information

Please address any informal enquiries to:
Professor Nick Pidgeon | | +44 (0)29 208 74567