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Funded PhD Opportunity

Exploring how planning can facilitate the transition to socially acceptable renewable energy infrastructure development on the island of Ireland.

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Summary

Governments in the UK and Ireland are continually stressing the importance of public engagement in energy policy as part of the transition to a low carbon society. It is clear that planners have a role to play in implementing energy policy and in enabling renewable energy infrastructure developments to progress right across the spectrum of energy production, transmission and distribution and supply. However, in practice this can often be contested, and there is evidence from the terrestrial planning environment to suggest this.

It is clear that the shift to renewables will be more than a change in energy source, it is a change in perception towards acceptance of the need to shift away fossil fuels.  There have been a variety of projects, in particular, offshore projects that have not come to development stage in NI, despite these NI marine areas having a plentiful energy resource (Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan (ORESAP 2012-2019). These projects have faced issues of acceptability by the local community.

In light of a recent report by the Department of Economy (NI, ORESAP Review, 2019) it highlights that NI waters have been excluded from the next Crown Estate Leasing round proposals (for offshore wind) and this is based on an extensive (terrestrial) characterisation modelling associated with visual sensitivity from the coast. There is a need for the planning process to explore and engage with other alternative technologies that are not as visually sensitive.  This PhD will explore the role of planning in the delivery of energy transition on the island of Ireland.

The study will critically analyse barriers and factors which facilitate the energy transition from a planning perspective, and will provide a sound understanding of the governance framework as part of the process. ‘Energy citizen’ (Mullally et al, 2018) and ‘Energy democracy’ (Burke and Stephens, 2018) are emerging terms in the energy policy literature and it is expected that these terms maybe used a lens through which to look at a range of case studies across the island of Island. It is expected that a key outcome of the study will be to provide recommendations on the role of the planner in making the energy transition more socially acceptable.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
Week beginning 9 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Dr Heather Ritchie


Other supervisors

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