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Co-creation of Distributed Renewable and Interactive (DRI) energy systems & Citizen-Centred, Low Carbon Cities

Oxford Brookes University - Faculty of Technology Design and Environment - School of the Built Environment & School of Architecture

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Oxford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum (with no inflation increase) for three years plus £1,000 for fieldwork
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 11th October 2018
Closes: 31st October 2018

Fees: Tuition fees up to Home/EU rate only will be paid by the University

The School of Built Environment and the School of Architecture are jointly offering a 3-year full-time funded PhD Studentship. This is an inter-disciplinary study that cuts across the Construction Project Management and Low Carbon Building research groups, which are part of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development.

As part of the Studentship, Fees at the Home/EU rate will be paid by the University for the period of the studentship, and please note, if you are an International student, you will be required to pay the difference between the Home/EU fee and the annual International fee rate.  £1,000 per annum will be available for fieldwork.

Project description

The key research question is how the technological and digital literacies of a ‘smart community’ can be developed to move towards the effective operation of DRIs, resulting in significant reductions in energy demand to rise to the challenges associated with Climate Change. The installation & operation of smart citizen-centered energy systems will be evaluated through the comparison of policies, and top-down and bottom-up practices in leading ‘Smart Cities’. This evaluation will focus on how local communities can improve their awareness and competences to embrace new technology and how they can become equal partners in co-creating Smart Cities.

The aim is to explore, using Grounded Theory, the relationships between smart communities & the technological solutions to operating the DRI systems. The key output will be an innovative framework to place prosumers at the heart of effective integration of DRI systems in existing urban environments.

The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Esra Kurul, Prof Rajat Gupta and Dr. Maurizio Sibilla. Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Kurul (

We are looking to recruit a candidate of the highest quality who is capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Candidates would be expected to have at least an upper second class degree and/or Masters in a related subject (e.g. sociology, urban geography, energy studies, anthropology etc).  They should be able to demonstrate strong interdisciplinary research capabilities, be fluent in spoken and written English.

The selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, suitability of research experience/ skills, and subject knowledge. A demonstrable interest in social innovation would be an advantage.

Applicants must submit a detailed research proposal (max. 1000 words), which should include the research objectives and methods, a CV and a supporting statement (max. 300 words).

How to apply

For further information on how to apply, please email for an application pack, quoting “Co-creation of DRIs and Low Carbon Cities” in the subject line.

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