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PhD Studentship: How Are Publics' Climate Change Attitudes and Behaviours Influenced by Politicians?

University of East Anglia - Environmental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: International Students
Funding amount: £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th November 2021
Closes: 19th January 2022
Reference: LORENZONI_ENV22CDCC

Background: The UN Secretary General described the IPCC’s most recent assessment report as a ‘code red for humanity’, urging emissions to be halved by 2030 and reduced to zero by 2050. To achieve such a transformation, all areas of society will be affected, particularly the ‘hard to mitigate’ sectors such as transport and domestic heating. This will not occur without unprecedented public support and/or behaviour change.

While politicians may set long-term decarbonisation targets and adopt policies in response to public pressure, they also shape public discourse in a manner that can facilitate, or obstruct, public engagement with and support for climate mitigation and adaption policies. And yet, much is unknown about how this occurs. This project therefore focuses on understanding how publics’ climate change attitudes and behaviours are influenced by politicians - a critical unanswered question with significant implications for the (re)design and effectiveness of climate policies.

What will you do in this PhD?

  • Collate a dataset of publicly-available surveys, focusing on how the presentation and/or perceptions of politicians (e.g., traits/framing/trust) influences individuals’ climate attitudes and behaviours, applying quantitative analyses.
  • Develop a typology for relating the survey framings and individuals’ responses to the methodological approaches used and geographic context.
  • Draw upon the identified research gaps to collect and analyse original real-time data and derive significant, policy-relevant, applicable and implementable recommendations for policy design in 1-2 national case studies. 

Training: You will receive research methods training at UEA to acquire/strengthen your interdisciplinary research skills, including quantitative social research methods and analysis. Additionally, you will develop advanced methodological skills by attending National Centre for Research Methods courses and/or internationally-recognised methods schools. You will be associated with DeepDCarb (www.deepdcarb.org) - a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant Project - and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Person specification: You will have a strong interest in climate change research and/or public opinion; skills in quantitative research; a degree in political science, sociology, psychology or related social science discipline; and the appetite to work in a larger research team of international experts.

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Irene Lorenzoni

Start date: 01/10/2022

For more information on this project, please visit http://www.uea.ac.uk

Funding details: 

Successful candidates will be awarded a 4-year studentship covering tuition fees, a maintenance stipend (£15,609 per year in 2021/22) and funds to support the research project and associated training. Additional funds are not available to assist with relocation or visa costs.

We anticipate that up to two awards will be made to international students for October 2022 entry.

Part-time studentship awards are subject to approval by the Leverhulme Trust.

For more information about the ‘Critical Decade’ programme click here.

This project has been selected for the Critical Decade for Climate Change programme, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online interview, to be held late February/early March 2022. 

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