Posted on: 19 December, 2018
Application deadline: February 8, 2019

4 Priestley PhD Scholarships, Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds, UK

Priestley PhD Scholarships: apply now for October 2019 entry

The Priestley International Centre for Climate is now advertising for its fourth cohort of Priestley PhD scholarships, to commence October 2019.

We have a total of 4 scholarship to award and applications are now open for a number of exciting interdisciplinary climate related research projects that support the Priestley Centre’s vision to deliver research to underpin robust and timely climate solutions. The closing date for applications is 8 February 2019.

The Priestley Centre is proud to have awarded interdisciplinary climate PhD scholarships since its inception in 2016. Profiles and projects for some of our first three cohorts can be found here.

Eligibility and funding

The scholarships are available to UK/EU students. We are unable to offer studentships to non-EU international candidates.

The scholarship offer fully funded 3 year studentships (stipend + fees) to both UK and EU applicants in line with the standard UKRI rate along with Research, Travel and Study Grant of £750 per annum.


Please follow the links below for full project descriptions and application procedure. At time of going to press, some project details were still being finalised; these will be added shortly so please check back for new live links.

1) The dangers of climate change to high speed rail

This project will combine expertise from Schools of Civil Engineering and Earth and Environment to develop a hybrid climate-engineering model that will allow railway operators (e.g. Network Rail/HS2) to better future-proof their lines/upgrades against climate change.

2) Identifying strategies for carbon-efficient commercial farming in the UK

This project brings together the sustainable agriculture work in the School of Biology, which is largely UK and Europe based, with the climate smart agriculture modelling based in the School of Earth and Environment. The focus is at the University Farm, where a series of farmlets managed by different farming systems have been created. This project will build a carbon budget for each farming system, that includes carbon sequestration into the soil, greenhouse gas fluxes, energy use associated with the different systems, and estimated energy costs of the associated supply chain.

3) Tropical weather-worlds

The Schools of English and Earth and Environment are involved in this project designed to assess the risks posed by tropical storms as well as looking historically at their far-reaching social and cultural underpinnings and consequences. It aims to contribute to research that sees climate (and climate change) as a cultural phenomenon as well as a scientific understanding of the contemporary drivers of social and environmental change.

4) REsilient MObility Systems (REMOS): foresight for strategic coastal infrastructure planning

Using up-to-date climate and sea level projections (UCKP18), this project will categorise risks to critical infrastructure, as well as develop adaptation pathways for long-term resilience. The project pulls together research in transport, infrastructure, climate and sea-level change, led by academics in the Schools of Civil Engineering and Earth and Environment.

5) Examining public perceptions of climate change risk: The role of personal experience, emotion, and statistical descriptions

The project supervised by leading academics from the School of Earth and Environment and the Leeds University Business School to apply insights from the fields of behavioural decision making, risk perception and communication, and environmental psychology to examine how personal experience and statistical descriptions affect public perceptions of climate change risks in the UK.

6) Formation and impacts of carbonyl sulfide in the atmosphere

This scholarship brings together expertise in fundamental theoretical and experimental studies of chemical processes with experience in whole atmosphere modelling from the Schools of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy to determine the atmospheric and climate impacts carbonyl sulfide. There are opportunities to collaborate with groups involved in field measurements of carbonyl sulfide at Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.

7) Participatory and social design of actions aiming to achieve 1.5° in Leeds

This project supervised by leading academics from the Schools of Sociology and Social PolicyEarth and Environment and Geography will explore and develop diverse forms of communication, organisation, advocacy and social design to facilitate the co-production of 1.5°C compatible community action plans. The focus is Kirkstall Valley where the Valley Development Trust, in partnership with the Centre for Alternative Technology, is developing a community-based sustainability demonstrator.

8) Trade-off between energy use, transport and food choices under personal carbon trading

This project will investigate the effects of a novel policy, personal carbon trading, in order to reduce emissions from the household sector. The aim of the project is to understand the potential responses of households to such a policy and their potential pathways to reduce emissions. The project will be supervised by leading academics from the School of Chemical and Process Engineering,Institute for Transport StudiesLeeds University Business School and the School of Food and Nutrition Science.

9) Reducing greenhouse gases from the heat system: Implementation of buried infrastructure as a heat source

This PhD project supervised by academics from the Schools of Earth and EnvironmentChemical and Process Engineering and Civil Engineering will make the first academic study of how infrastructure sourced ground thermal energy can be integrated with adjacent heat users, including via district heating. The project will make use of a range of interdisciplinary methodological approaches spanning engineering and environmental disciplines to provide a holistic approach to in the context of both construction industry practices and energy policy and practice.

How to Apply

  1. You can access the online application system for the lead school by following the link provided in the individual project adverts. The application deadlines is the 8th February 2019
  2. Short listing meetings with project supervisors will take place between 15 and 25 February 2019
  3. Short listed applicants will be interviewed by a panel made up of Priestley Centre Management Committee members in the week commencing the 11 March 2019. Selection of the 4 scholarships to award will be based on a combination of the highest calibre applicant and the project of most strategic value to the Priestley Centre