PhD scholarship in Sustainable Energy Transitions in Developing CountriesThe Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, part of the UNEP DTU Partnership, invites applications for a PhD research project focused on sustainable energy transitions in developing countries Over the past 25 years, the Centre on Climate, Energy and Sustainable development of the UNEP DTU Partnership (formerly UNEP Risoe Centre) (www.unepdtu.org) has become a leading international research and advisory hub on energy, climate and sustainable Development.
The Partnership is an integrated part of the Department of Management Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The Centre works in close partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and has project activities in more than 50 developing countries. The Centre collaborates with a large number of national and international government and research institutions, especially in developing countries.
There are various factors driving a transition to more ‘green’ energy systems, using technologies that harness local renewable and/or low-carbon sources of energy as a means to increase energy access and sustain economic growth. While these transitions are taking place in some countries, it is far from being a uniform process and the precise mechanisms of change are often not clearly understood and therefore replicable. This requires field research to be undertaken on a specific technology in one or possibly two case study countries, preferably in Africa or Asia. We are looking to conduct a PhD project that focuses on medium and large-scale technologies, such as utility-size solar power, grid-connected biomass power plants (including cogeneration) or hydro-power plants, though there is scope to consider small-scale technologies, such as solar home systems. The research could involve case studies of specific donor interventions, firm and industry-level processes, and government reform initiatives.
This research project will focus on the overall topic of low-carbon energy innovation in developing countries with a specific focus on the role and influence of Government, the private sector and donor agencies. The broad aim will be to provide an improved understanding of the interface between the State, markets and donors as they relate to the development and uptake of low-carbon energy technologies.
The project will pursue an interdisciplinary analytical framework combining different theoretical perspectives as well as methodological approaches. One option is to situate this research within the innovation system literature on socio-technical transitions, which includes the multilevel perspective, strategic niche management and technological innovation systems. Another option is to follow the economic geography literature, focusing on spatial aspects of innovation and transitions, and/or political ecology, which is concerned with exploring issues of power relations, political struggle, actor contestation, knowledge and discourse.
Research methods should preferably be in the form of qualitative (primary) data collection and analysis, as a complement to desk-based literature reviews and quantitative (secondary) data collection. The research should be solidly grounded in a prolonged period of in-depth, empirical field research. The final thesis will be structured and presented as four academic articles, in addition to an analytical overview/synthesis explaining the theoretical framework and research methods.
Candidates should have a Master’s degree in a relevant social science discipline (for example economics, development studies, human geography, international business and management, political science, innovation studies, philosophy), ideally with a focus or component on sustainable energy and climate change mitigation and/or business and innovation studies. Strong oral and written English communication skills are essential. Knowledge of another major European language is desirable but not necessary, as is prior experience with working in a developing country.
Candidates will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work independently, to plan and carry out independent research, including field work in developing countries. Candidates are expected to have a high degree of self-motivation, leading their research project with the support of two co-supervisors.
Project environment and research Group
The successful candidate will join an international team of about 65 professionals in an interdisciplinary work environment, with a broad portfolio of activities and an extensive network of professional contacts to research and government institutions in developing countries as well as the UN system.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general Ph.D. programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
The PhD student will be selected through a competitive application process. Online applications will be screened against a set of criteria and a shortlist of candidates will be invited to an interview and to present their project proposals (via skype if based abroad). The assessment process and final selection will be made by the project supervisors.
Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years. The place of employment is the Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development of the UNEP DTU Partnership, located at the new UN City in Copenhagen.
The project supervisors, James Haselip (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ulrich Elmer Hansen (email@example.com) can be contacted directly to answer any specific questions.
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it. The aim is to start the study in January 2016.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
(see also http://www.man.dtu.dk/Om-instituttet/Ledige-stillinger/job?id=dc8baefc-c05f-4aa5-ab00-cebd11209285).
directs research at the Energy Trans Lab