Reducing Carbon Emissions: Innovative Tools in the Construction Industry

University of Edinburgh - University of Edinburgh Business School

Scholarship name - Reducing Carbon Emissions: Innovative Tools in the Construction Industry

The Centre for Business and Climate Change (CBCC), within the University of Edinburgh’s Business School, provides academic expertise to understand climate change-related opportunities and risks for business, and the role of the private sector in helping society mitigate climate change. CBCC does this through interlinking:

  • World-leading academic research;
  • Specialised teaching programmes, including the world’s first MSc in Carbon Finance; and
  • High-level corporate and policy engagement

CBCC is seeking to appoint a dynamic PhD student to join a 3-year research project funded by the Construction Climate Challenge ( ), and is co-delivered with Costain Group (

During 2014 the construction industry of the UK contributed 6.5% to total economic output. Constructing Excellence estimate that around 10% of UK emissions are associated with the manufacture and transport of construction materials and the construction process; the embedded carbon.

Against this backdrop a growing number of national and industry-specific initiatives have been implemented during recent years, with the aim of driving progress towards the legally binding target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2050, from a 1990 baseline which is enshrined within the UK’s Climate Change Act (2008). Examples include: The Infrastructure Carbon Review; Construction 2025; and PAS 2080 – Carbon Management in Infrastructure.

The research project seeks to deliver a step-change in how construction companies identify and reduce carbon, by developing and testing an open access tool for the quantification and management of embodied and operational carbon emissions within the sector. This tool will be the first of its kind, and will allow the articulation of specific carbon management challenges across the value chain, helping to drive transformation in design and delivery through active stakeholder engagement.

The project as a whole involves the following complementary work packages (with the PhD expected to contribute primarily to work packages 1, 2, 3, and 4):

  • The development and trialling of a supply chain transformation tool.
  • Modelling whole life cycle impacts and distribution over time.
  • Social context and barriers to adoption.
  • Collaborative frameworks for efficient supply chain management.
  • Decision analytics for infrastructure project design under uncertainty.

The studentship will be based in Edinburgh and will be supervised by Dr Matthew Brander and Dr Xi Liang, with additional collaborative support from the wider project team. Practitioner experience in carbon accounting, carbon consulting, life cycle assessment, or supply chain management is desirable.

This 3 year studentship offers a stipend of £14,296/yr and is funded to pay the tuition fees of UK/European Union nationals only. Non UK/EU nationals must provide evidence of funding to cover the difference between the home and international student tuition fee level (this would be approximately £10,000 per year).

The expected start date is January 2017.

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