Posted on: 7 March, 2019
Application deadline: April 12, 2019

Fully funded DTA3/COFUND PhD opportunity: Reaching the hardest to reach in energy advice, Sheffield Hallam University, UK – *Open to international students only*

Fully funded DTA3/COFUND PhD opportunity: Reaching the hardest to reach in energy advice

*Open to international students only*

This opportunity is part funded by the EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme and delivered by Sheffield Hallam University with Citizens Advice (CA) and The International Energy Agency (IEA).

Focus of the research and methods

Initiatives and services intended to support individuals and households with energy related problems (i.e. high bills, cold homes etc.) consistently fail to reach the most marginalised, vulnerable and low income households who stand to gain the most from such initiatives. This studentship will explore the nature of hard to reach energy users and how their characteristics vary between countries and contexts, use existing data to assess the extent of the problem and employ co-production techniques to develop key lessons for policy in relation to effectively engaging the hardest to reach energy users in advice services and initiatives with the potential to improve their circumstances.  The studentship will support and feed into existing projects on hard to reach energy users involving Citizens Advice and the IEA.

The studentship includes an industrial placement with the UK’s largest advice provider (Citizens Advice) and an international placement with the IEA.

Funding and eligibility

This studentship is funded under the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) 3/COFUND scheme. Under this scheme students will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).  This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

We have very specific eligibility criteria as part our funding from the European Commission, please see our Eligibility page. In particular it is worth noting the mobility rule:

“[Applicants] Not have been resident, nor carried out their main activity, in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline, 12th April 2019. Applicants will need to provide details of the periods spent in the UK in the past 3 years (between 12th April 2016 and 12th April 2019) as part of their application.”

This means that many UK residents will not be eligible.

 How to apply

Further details of the studentship can be found here.

Project Description

Hypothesis

Initiatives and services intended to support individuals and households with energy related problems (i.e. high bills, cold homes etc.) consistently fail to reach the most marginalised, vulnerable and low income households who stand to gain the most from such initiatives.

Aims

• To better understand and provide an evidence base in relation to the nature of hard to reach energy users in an energy advice context • To use existing data on the reach of past and present energy advice initiatives to better understand the extent of the problem • To work with industry stakeholders and a Citizens Panel of hard to reach energy users to understand the consequences of the failure to reach hard to reach energy users with energy advice • To work with Citizens Advice’s European STEP project (see Industrial Relevance section) and the IEA’s task on Reaching the Hardest to Reach to identify and critically assess international good and bad practice in engaging marginalised consumers on a low income and in vulnerable circumstances with energy advice. • To use an evidenced based approach to identify the most effective ways of engaging the key hard to reach groups identified and establish what works best for whom and under what circumstances • To use co-production techniques to distil (internationally relevant) key good practice principles for policy makers and practitioners to apply • To critique and develop the literature around citizen engagement in energy related initiatives in the context of hard to reach energy users.

Methods

Following an in-depth literature review, the student will work with existing and emerging quantitative and qualitative datasets held by the project partners to address the aims set out above. The student will contribute their knowledge to the development of the methodologies associated with CA’s STEP project and the IEA task to ensure that the data collected will meet their needs as well as those of the project. The student will be encouraged to employ creative co-production techniques to identify and build consensus around key lessons emerging from the project. They will also be encouraged to assemble (with support) a ‘citizens panel’ of hard to reach energy users which can be used to generate additional qualitative data and as a ‘reality check’ for emerging findings.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

Details of how to apply can be found here.

We recommend that prospective applicants contact the Director of Studies (Aimee Ambrose) for an informal discussion prior to making an application. Contact details as per the email signature below.

Dr Aimee Ambrose

Reader in Energy Policy, Founder of the Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN), Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR)

Sheffield Hallam University | Unit 10, Science Park | Howard Street | Sheffield | S1 1WB,  T: 0114 225 6297

E: a.ambrose@shu.ac.uk