PhD Studentship: Media Framing and Public Acceptance of Deep Geothermal Energy

University of Plymouth - School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science

Director of Studies: Professor Iain Stewart [e:; tel.: 01752 584767]

2nd Supervisor: Professor Alison Anderson [e:; tel.: 01752 585751]

3rd Supervisor: Dr Nigel Jackson [e:; tel.: 01752 585645]

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on October 1st 2017.

Project Description

This project examines media framing of geothermal energy and subsurface drilling and its impact on securing social licence to operate, with a particular focus on digital and social media. With little known about the influence of media representations on people’s levels of knowledge and their perceptions of geothermal energy, this PhD offers an exciting opportunity to track the leading narratives around this emerging technology. The candidate will be able to shape the PhD studies but research questions are likely to include how risks and benefits are framed through text and imagery, and how different audiences interpret this. The research use eye-tracking technology to identify how messages are ‘read’ by receivers, open up new approaches for understanding the application of persuasion within current energy debates.

We are looking for a highly motivated, hard working person who is both collaborative and open-minded in their approach. The candidate should have strong qualitative skills and knowledge of a range of research methods as well as a broad understanding and/or interest in the energy field. The position would suit a Social Science graduate who wishes to apply their training to a real-world challenge. Natural Sciences graduates who can demonstrate an interest in the social dimension and who would be able to pick up communication theories and research skills quickly are also encouraged to apply.


Applicants should have at least a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates approximately £10,350 per annum .

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Alison Anderson []. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at Plymouth University is available at:

Please apply via the online application form which can be found at: and click ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Sharon Healy and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship. Please attach a covering letter detailing your suitability for the studentship, a CV, and 2 academic references.

For more information on the admissions process please contact Sharon Healy [].

The closing date for applications is midnight on 28th August 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview week commencing 11th September 2017. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 30th September 2017 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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