UCL Energy Institute in partnership with BEIS are seeking applications for a fully funded Studentship on topic in “Deployment pathways, technological options, and potential impacts of increasing demand for cooling in UK dwellings”
This PhD project will research cooling demand in UK homes and work with government to inform strategy in this area. It will be part-funded under the EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE) with UK Government: Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as the industrial partner
Supervisor: Professor Robert Lowe of UCL Energy Institute
Funding: The studentship will cover UK course fees and an enhanced tax-free stipend of approx. £19,000 per year for 4 years along with a substantial budget for research, travel, and centre activities.
Fees: ERBE CDT has very limited funding for applicants requiring coverage of overseas fees. We advise all interested applicants to be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships
Dates: 4 years from September 2021
Context and Project description:
Evidence from multiple countries shows that demand for cooling rises rapidly and non-linearly as summer temperatures rise. Much existing UK housing lacks both passive and active measures to limit summertime temperatures, having evolved in a climate that rarely reached temperatures that required either. But changing climate, coupled with poor design of much modern housing, means that we can expect to see significant increases in demand for and deployment of cooling in coming decades.
However, natural variability in summertime temperatures, coupled with the sharp onset and rapid rise of demand for cooling as a function of temperature, means that the trajectory of future deployment of cooling in new and existing housing is unlikely to be smooth. There is a significant probability that a future heat wave, as or more severe than that of 2003, would trigger a step change in demand for cooling, and lead to ad hoc deployment of cooling systems with little regard for efficiency, local environmental impacts (e.g. noise), impact on electricity distribution systems, potential role of passive measures, and possible synergies within the wider energy system. Adverse impacts are likely to fall disproportionately on less well-off demographics, and to be most apparent in certain regions, particularly London and the South-East, and in particular housing types – e.g. high-rise housing. It is not possible to rule out the possibility of a near-term climate event that would overwhelm the capacity of the supply chain, the regulatory system, and building owners including local authorities and housing associations to respond coherently.
The research area is the likely size and timescale of new active cooling demand in homes and the possible policy responses to it.
The research area described above is broad, spanning many disciplines (e.g. engineering, social science, geography, climatology). The approach could be technical or socio-technical. We invite applicants to choose one aspect of the research area that they would like to research, along with a suitable research approach. For example:
– An energy system architecture approach to research technology options for deploying cooling in different housing archetypes, and on the potential interactions of such options with the rest of the energy system.
– A socio-technical case study approach to research people’s experiences of living in overheated homes and how this could lead to installation of cooling technologies.
The educational background of the applicant should equip them to understand the energy system and the phenomenon of overheating from a physical and engineering perspective. They should have strong quantitative skills as well as good communication skills. They should be prepared to engage with technical content such as dwelling construction and how the energy system works, as well as the social dimensions of energy use and the built environment.
A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master’s degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor’s degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master’s degree to be admitted.
Applicants must also meet the the minimum language requirements of UCL
Applicants should be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for UKRI funded studentships
How to apply
Please submit a pre-application by email to the UCL ERBE Centre Manager (email@example.com) with Subject Reference:4-year PhD studentship in cooling demand in UK homes
The pre- application should include the following:
• A covering letter clearly stating why you wish to apply for the project outlining which aspect of the broad research area you would like to research, what your research approach would be, and your experience and suitability for the PhD position. Please also confirm your understanding of Changes to EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships
• Complete the CDT recruitment EPSRC fees eligibility and EDI questionnaire via the linked Microsoft Forms.
Deadline for applications: Sunday, 27 June 2021 @23:59 (UK time)
Interviews week commencing: TBC
The interview panel will consist of the provisional research supervisor, a BEIS representative and a member of the ERBE CDT management. The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.
For the interview shortlisted candidates will be required to show proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s), and proof of their fees eligibility.
Only shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.
Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme. For further details about the admission process, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For any further details regarding the project, contact Professor Robert Lowe on email@example.com
You will be undertaking this project in UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus as part of the new EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE CDT). This is a collaboration between UCL, Loughborough University and Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI).