PhD Studentship: Sustainable Waste Systems and Practices: designing successful waste reduction and recycling schemes

University of East Anglia - Environmental Sciences

Start Date: October 2017
No. of positions available: 1
Supervisor: Dr Gill Seyfang

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.

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 (eg Hargreaves et al, 2013; Evans 2012; Seyfang, 2009; Seyfang and Smith, 2007; Hawkins 2006).

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.

Interviews will be held on 14 and 15 December 2016.

Person specification: The minimum entry requirement is 2:1 in Geography, applied social science, environmental science, sociology, and economics

Funding notes: This PhD studentship is funded by Faculty of Science and Norfolk County Council and applications are invited from UK/EU applicants. The studentship is funded for 3 years and comprises of home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,296 and some funds to support research training.

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South East England