Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources


Funded PhD Studentship: Equity, flexibility and low energy demand future energy systems

14 November 2023

The UK’s net-zero by 2050 target will require radical changes in how energy is used and produced. To deliver this transition, measures to reduce energy demand and make it more flexible are key whilst the equity implications have to be considered to ensure no one is left behind.

Pollution from a factory

Key information

Supervisors: Dr Gesche Huebner (UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering), Dr Mike Fell (UCL Energy Institute), Dr James Price (UCL Energy Institute)

Funding: The studentship will cover UK course fees and tax-free stipend of approx. £21,622* per year for four years. There will be a possibility to apply for additional funding to cover research related expenses, activities, travel.

The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching and related duties for approximately 25% of their time for the duration of your studentship. The monthly commitment may vary depending on the time during the academic year.

To check your eligibility for UK (Home) fees please visit the UCL Student fee status page.

It may be possible to exceptionally accept applications from non-UK (Home) students who already have confirmed funding to cover the difference between UCL's UK and overseas fees.

Deadline for applications: Sunday 3 December 2023, 23:59 GMT

Interviews: TBC

Additional information: The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching and related duties for approximately 25% of their time for the duration of your studentship. The monthly commitment may vary depending on the time during the academic year. The successful candidate will be undertaking this project in UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus.

* for Academic year 23/24, pro rata according to start date.

Studentship aims

The objective of the studentship is to be cross cutting by linking the three aspects of equity, flexibility and low energy demand future energy systems. To do this the student should look to advance energy modelling beyond the state of the art by integrating equity and its interactions with capacity to provide flexibility, and in so doing better connect with important real world aspects of a rapid energy transition. The precise balance of the three pillars set out above and methodology of the project are open to be guided and shaped by the interests of the student. 


EPSRC has recently funded a new Energy Demand Research Centre that will run from July 2023 to 2028 (grant number EP/Y010078/1). With partners across policy, industry, civil society and academia, the EDRC will deliver a world-leading transformative and interdisciplinary research programme that identifies and shapes evidence-based energy demand solutions for a sustainable and more equitable future. The PhD supervisors are all part of the new centre: Gesche is working in Equity with a focus on how energy demand solutions and Net Zero transition pathways can be designed and refined to enable more equitable outcomes. Mike is part of the Flexibility theme that assesses the needs, impacts and implications of demand-side flexibility – i.e., the capacity to change patterns of electricity use over time and space to support system operation. James is working in the Futures theme that seeks to understand the underlying conditions needed to deliver a low energy demand future in the UK to contribute to rapid greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.  This will be achieved by bringing together deliberative approaches to understand citizens’ perspectives and detailed energy systems modelling to map out potential low energy futures.


UCL defines a home student as:

  • UK nationals are Home category, provided they meet residency requirements.
  • EU nationals with settled status are Home category.
  • EU nationals with pre-settled status are Home category, provided they meet residency requirements.
  • Irish nationals living in UK or Ireland are Home category
  • Those who have indefinite leave to remain or enter are Home category.
  • All others are classified as International category.

Residency requirements for UK nationals:

  • Living in UK, EEA, or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 and lived in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar for at least three years immediately before the studentship begins
  • Lived continuously in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of the studentship.

Residency requirements for EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals with pre-settled status:

  • Living in UK by 31 December 2020 (a requirement to receive pre-settled status)
  • Living in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar for at least three years immediately before the studentship begins.

Person specification

Applicants should meet the Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD programme entry requirements.

Applicants should have an excellent masters level degree in energy, data science, building science or a related field, have a strong interest in climate policy, and have some coding experience. 

All applicants must also meet the minimum language requirements of UCL.

Application procedure

Stage 1 – Eligibility and how to apply

Please submit a pre-application by email to bseer-phd-admin@ucl.ac.uk with the subjuct line 'Studentship Modelling & Equity'
Your pre- application should include the following:

  • A covering letter clearly stating why you wish to apply for the project outlining how your interests and experience relate to it
  • A curriculum vitae (CV)

Stage 2 – Interview process

Candidates will be shortlisted and shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.

  • For the interview shortlisted candidates will be asked to send proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s).
  • The interview panel will consist of the project’s academic supervisors at UCL.
  • The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.
  • Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Institute of Environment Design and Engineering. 

Contacts for further information

For further details about the admission process, please contact bseer-phd-admin@ucl.ac.uk.
For any further details regarding the project contact Gesche Huebner, Mike Fell, or James Price.