PhD Studentship: Planning for Electric Grid Infrastructure: Policy and Governance

The University of Manchester - EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Power Networks

Supervisors: Prof. C Wong, Prof. R Kingston.

Application Deadline: Applications accepted all year round.


The research aims to identify the gaps and bottlenecks between existing planning policy regimes across the UK and the needs and demands of power network operation and planning. There are three main research components to address this overarching research aim:

  1. Identifying gaps and bottlenecks
    This component will analyse current policy frameworks from national to local level to understand gaps and bottlenecks from the perspective of both government and DNOs.
  2. Developing future frameworks
    This component will establish new frameworks to enable closer cooperation between planning regimes and the needs of the DNOs. A better understanding of the governance frameworks and understanding the spatial alignment between planning and the operation of the DNOs will be critical to the future planning of energy supply to meet with local demand. The Manchester city-region can be a very strong case study to explore the governance issues.
  3. Development of an interactive decision support toolkit
    The development of an interactive mapping toolkit to identify the spatial structure and constraints of the existing power transmission network to allow spatial analysis of existing and future demand and supply of electricity. This will include the mapping of data on: power transmission networks, planning applications approved and in the pipeline, key planning constraints, future household projects, future employment growth, future and existing land use. Also mapping of proposed renewable energy supply to assess impacts on the smart grid to manage reinforcement capacity and constraints.

Funding Notes

Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of £17,500. Students with a first class/2.1 degree (or equivalent), with a background in engineering and physical sciences and humanities, are encouraged to apply.

UK / EU eligible candidates only (EU residents who have been resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 years).

Applications will be reviewed as they are received until a candidate is selected; therefore candidates are encouraged to apply early.

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Northern England