There are 4 competition funded PhD projects advertised at UEA with researchers from the 3S group.
MAPPING PARTICIPATION IN ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NET ZERO will be supervised by Dr Helen Pallett and Professor Jason Chilvers, and is part of the UEA Science Faculty funding competition. To date, approaches to involving the public in decisions over controversial science and technology have followed fixed models for engagement (e.g. focus groups) and focused on singular events. However, recent work in disciplines such as science and technology studies, geography and political science has revealed the performative, constructed, partial and uncertain nature of these forms of engagement. A major challenge in this field is to devise new approaches that are able to map across diverse forms of public participation in science-related issues, gather crucial forms of social intelligence for citizens and policymakers alike, and allow for ongoing monitoring of public views and actions. This PhD project aims to develop and evaluate an approach for mapping diverse forms of public participation in energy, climate change and net zero in the UK (the specific case will be defined by the interests of the student).
DECOLONISING THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES: HISTORIES, PRACTICES, FUTURES will be supervised by Dr Martin Mahony, Professor Jenni Barclay and Professor Jason Chilvers, and is part of the UEA Science Faculty funding competition. Debates about how to decolonise science have recently taken on a renewed urgency, and are particularly pertinent to the environmental sciences. Processes like climate change and biodiversity loss perpetuate longstanding social inequalities. How we respond to such challenges is intimately tied to how we study and understand them, as decades of social scientific research on science-society relationships has shown. Broader societal conversations about structural inequalities and the legacies of colonial practices draw our attention to how the sciences have been shaped by forms of colonial power, and by colonial habits of thought. This project will examine the past, present and future of decolonisation initiatives in the environmental sciences, from efforts to redress and undo epistemic injustices to efforts to cultivate modes of doing science that actively work against (neo)colonial structures of power.
Border stories: geographies of vulnerability in the Anthropocene will be supervised by Dr Jos Smith and Dr Martin Mahony, and is part of the Leverhulme critical decade for climate change funding competition. Travel to the contested landscapes of the Anthropocene and create vital new literature in response. This critical-creative project will build on and produce new research about the significance of borders – political, ecological, psychological – in mediating vulnerabilities to environmental change. The successful candidate will conduct fieldwork and produce new, creative fiction or non-fiction writing that opens up the hidden dramas of bordering and border landscapes through experiments with narrative form. These might be fictional, non-fictional, speculative, poetic, historical, or any combination of these. We welcome diverse interpretations of ‘border’ here, (e.g. national borders, climate envelopes, ecotones, species boundaries etc.) but they should be grounded in the big questions facing this ‘critical decade’ for climate change. The output will be a body of writing that helps its readers to recognise, probe and debate the different ways in which ‘we’ are facing, and must face, the climate crisis together. We are looking for a candidate with a background in literature/cultural geography who is also a strong creative writer with an MA or equivalent.
A new climate for engagement: analysing the role of citizens’ assemblies in addressing climate change will be supervised by Professor Jason Chilvers and Dr Pierre Bocquillon, and is part of the Leverhulme critical decade for climate change funding competition. The participation of citizens in climate policy-making is key to the success of ambitious climate policies in the Critical Decade for Climate Change. In recent years, numerous countries and local authorities across the world, countries from Europe to North and South America have experimented with citizens’ assemblies and other participatory mechanisms. These are recognised as a way to involve citizens directly in policy deliberations and decision-making on climate change, stimulate democratic debate and increase the legitimacy of climate policies. The recent rise and importance of citizens’ climate assemblies mean that research is urgently needed to systematically analyse in a comparative manner their operation, effects, and potentials. This interdisciplinary project combines the theoretical and methodological insights of Sciences and Technology Studies (STS) and geography with those of political science. Empirically, the candidate will constitute, manage and analyse a systematic case-study database of diverse citizens’ climate assemblies and other participatory mechanisms, drawing from web sources, policy documents, and in-depth semi-structured interviews with key actors (e.g. policy-makers, NGOs). Outreach and engagement activities directed towards policy-makers and citizens will be facilitated through participation in the UKERC Public Engagement Observatory led by Prof Chilvers.
Follow the links to find out how to apply, and get in touch with Helen, Martin and Jason to inquire about these PhD projects.