Funded PhD at 3S in Sustainable Waste Systems and Practices

Are you interested in researching and promoting more sustainable patterns of production and consumption?
Are you interested in researching how we can develop a more circular economy?
Do you want to work at the forefront of research and everyday practice in sustainable waste management?
If so, this PhD could be for you…
Jointly situated in the world leading 3S research group and Norfolk County Council’s waste team, the PhD will explore Sustainable Waste Systems and Practices: designing successful waste reduction and recycling schemes.

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 3-year PhD studentship in the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group at UEA. (

Project Description

The challenge of managing and reducing domestic waste is a growing sustainability problem for governments and Local Authorities. This project investigates the inter-relationships between domestic waste systems, everyday social practices, and householders’ waste reduction and recycling activities. It will make a major contribution to reconceptualising domestic waste activities and thus help to design and implement more successful waste management schemes. Specific research objectives may include: to define and map domestic waste systems and practices; to investigate how and why different socio-demographic groups demonstrate different levels of competency and confidence in recycling and waste reduction activities; to help design and evaluate Local Authority-led initiatives to improve waste reduction and recycling (eg food waste reduction; improving recycling rates and reducing contamination; trialling measures to increase participation in food waste collections).

The PhD studentship is co-funded by Norfolk County Council and benefits from access to extensive, detailed historical data (including round-by-round GIS maps) on household waste collection and recycling contamination in Norwich. The project may involve working with grassroots community groups, social enterprises and businesses alongside the Local Authority schemes. Specific activities and methods used will depend on the successful applicant’s expertise and interests, but this interdisciplinary project will use qualitative as well as quantitative research methods. The project is situated in the 3S Research Group, and will draw on conceptual frameworks such as sociotechnical systems, social practice theory and the everyday ethics of waste.

For more information and to apply:  (ref SEYFANG_U17SCI50)

For informal enquiries, please contact Gill Seyfang  or Tom Hargreaves