Deadline: 2016-02-13
Value of Scholarship: Norwich
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship: Spatial analysis of low carbon innovations (WILSON_U16ERC)

Start Date: 01/10/2016

Supervisor: Dr Charlie Wilson

Widespread adoption of low carbon innovations is needed to tackle climate change. Diffusion is the process by which innovations spread through a population of adopters [1]. Diffusion has important spatial characteristics [2-4].

The aim of this project is to analyse the spatial diffusion of low carbon innovations. Where do they begin? How fast do they spread? How can this be measured? Does social influence accelerate diffusion? Is diffusion dependent on innovation policy or climate policy?

This project will focus on ‘disruptive’ low carbon innovations. Disruptive innovations challenge prevailing technologies or practices [5]. Examples include: car clubs, car sharing networks, and car-free communities as an alternative to private car ownership; or smart homes, net zero energy homes, and off-grid homes as alternative ways of heating and powering domestic life.


The successful applicant can choose which innovations to analyse, and at what scale (UK, EU, global). Specific research activities include:

(1) compiling time series and geospatial data on disruptive low carbon innovations

(2) mapping spatial diffusion using GIS software

(3) quantifying spatial diffusion rates and clustering effects

(4) modeling socioeconomic and policy predictors of spatial variation


The successful applicant will be a core part of a larger project team working on disruptive low carbon innovations. They will be integrated into the Tyndall Centre, a world-leading inter-disciplinary research institute on the causes, impacts and responses to climate change. They will also have available comprehensive skills and employment training through the EnvEast doctoral training programme.

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Person Specification

Applicants should have, or be working towards, a good MSc degree or equivalent research experience that demonstrates interest and capabilities in spatial analysis, quantitative mapping and/or modelling. Please contact for any further information.

Interviews will be held in mid-March

Funding notes

This PhD studentship is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) for three years. Funding includes tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,057 for EU applicants. Overseas applicants may apply but there are additional tuition fees and funding of these will be discussed during the recruitment process.

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