UCL Energy Institute


Fully funded Social Science PhD Studentship in Reconfiguring Thermal Comfort in Offices

11 October 2017

Abstract Lighting

The UCL Energy Institute and UCL Anthropology, in collaboration with Konica Minolta, invite applications for a 4-year Industrial Strategy research challenges PhD Studentship funded by the ESRC through the UCL, Bloomsbury & East London (UBEL) Doctoral Training Partnership.

Supervisors: Michelle Shipworth, Lecturer in Energy & Social Sciences, and Hannah Knox, Lecturer in Digital Anthropology and Material Culture.
Starting: 8 January 2018.
Stipend: £16,296pa tax-free, UK fees & training/travel/consumables budget

Application Deadline: 09:00 AM Monday 30th October.

Most research and policy on heating, cooling and thermal comfort has focused on buildings, the physical environment and technology; very little has focused on people, or questioned how thermal comfort is defined and attained. Personal thermal comfort systems (and other radical alternatives) and emerging environmental sensing and control technologies offer opportunities to dramatically reduce energy use associated with heating and cooling, but they do not feature in mainstream research and policy on this topic.

This studentship recognizes that thermal comfort in offices is a complex socio-technical problem and explores whether thermal comfort in offices can be reconfigured, and what the workplace consequences could be. Ethnographic research methods will be used.

World-class PhD training

The UCL Energy Institute is the premiere centre for energy demand research in the built environment in the UK, with over 70 PhD students. We work closely with many government departments, international bodies and industrial partners. The Anthropology Department is a world-leading centre of expertise in material, culture studies, design anthropology, and the anthropology of architecture.

Konica Minolta will provide the student with supervision, mentoring, part-time desk space, use of their “Living Lab”, and presentations to senior KM staff and at client events.

The first year will include a tailored set of postgraduate modules chosen to bring the student up to speed on whichever discipline/subject area they are lacking in, but require for the PhD.

Who we are looking for

Applicants require: a good first degree (1st or 2:1) in any discipline; demonstrable aptitude and enthusiasm for this PhD; the ability to use their own initiative and prioritise workloads; good interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written); high level of attention to detail in working methods; ability to start by 8 January 2018.

Full studentships (fees plus stipend) are available to UK applicants. They are also available to EU/International applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship grant, although for international applicants, those three years cannot include time spent studying at a UK Higher Education institution. Fees-only awards are available to EU applicants who do not meet UK residency criteria.

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries to Michelle Shipworth or Hannah Knox.

Stage 1: Submit applications (a single Word or PDF file) to Chiara Francesconi by 09:00 AM Monday 30 October, including:

  • 2-page CV
  • Contact details for two referees (at least one academic)
  • 1-page personal statement indicating a) your motivation, and interest in the topic, b) the relevance of your own skills and experience for this PhD, and c) which residential eligibility requirements you meet.

Stage 2: Shortlisted applicants interviewed on Friday 3rd November.

Stage 3: Successful candidate to make formal applications to the UBEL DTP and to UCL’s MPhil/PhD program.