Our doctoral students are as diverse as the ECI itself, and conduct their research across the world. We have students carrying out primary data collection on the functioning of forest ecosystems in pristine rainforests in remote Amazonia; developing frameworks for climate change adaptation costings in farming communities in Kenya; alongside projects in the UK, Europe, Asia as well as those undertaking theoretical desk-based studies here in Oxford.


Doctoral topics for 2018

The following projects are proposed DPhil opportunities within the ECI. Please contact individual supervisors for more information and to check whether the projects are still available. Funding opportunities for each DPhil are specific to the project and will be outlined in the descriptions below.

Enquiries about these projects should be directed to the named supervisor below.

Failures within infrastructure networks, including energy, transport and digital communications, can result in major disruption to the economy and society. During disruptions, the use of infrastructure networks can be adapted, for example by rerouting traffic, in order to preserve some level of service. This dynamic adaptive response, which is not well understood, is fundamental to ensuring network resilience. This project proposes the development of an integrated system-of-systems methodology for understanding infrastructure network resilience to failures. Resilience here is defined in terms of the ability to maintain functionality when shocked, and the speed of recovery from shock.

The aim will be to model the dynamics of resource flows across interdependent national infrastructure networks, providing new tools to understand network disruption and failure over range of scales. The analysis will take in account the linkages between infrastructures, customers, and businesses, to test the dynamics of infrastructure failure propagation and subsequent recovery for the socio-economic systems. The study will examine how business supply chains make use of infrastructure networks and hence are vulnerable to network disruptions. There will also be the opportunity to examine how embedded digital technologies influence system resilience.

The developed system models will be used to inform resilience planning, by testing alternative strategies to avoid and cope with disruption. The research will combine interdisciplinary theories and methods from network science, fluid dynamics, probability theory, statistics, demographics, economics, decision science, and simulation.

The project builds on pioneering work done in the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) on risk analysis of spatially explicit representations of Great Britain’s infrastructure networks such as electricity and dependent transport, water, waste and ICT systems (see references). The theoretical modelling is supported by a unique geospatial dataset that was developed and includes systems data from multiple companies and organizations. The prospective candidate will build their methods on this data, and provide novel developments.

The prospective candidates should have an undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, mathematics or another quantitative science subject. They should have a keen interest in the long-term sustainability of infrastructure systems.

Candidates for this project from an engineering of physical sciences background would be eligible to apply for funding from Oxford University’s EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

Critical infrastructure systems form the backbone of modern society, facilitating the distribution of goods and services across broad spatial extents, transcending the boarders of regions and countries. The increasingly global nature of these networks and complex interdependencies that have emerged between them have created a number of systemic vulnerabilities, creating a situation where local failures can result in cascades of disruption, resulting in far reaching and large scale losses.

One important example of this is port infrastructure which, besides being an infrastructure hub itself, is also a location in which multiple global infrastructure systems converge. This includes energy, transportation and digital communications network systems and a variety of traded commodities that support other critical infrastructures including water supply and waste water treatment systems. The vulnerability of ports and its interconnected infrastructure have been highlighted numerous times in the past years, including through the 2011 Thailand floods and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. With the installation of new infrastructure that is required to satisfy an ever increasing and consuming global population and a climate system that is changing, this vulnerability is only set to increase into the future. Despite their importance, the vulnerability of, and solutions for building resilience in, interdependent global infrastructure networks, remains poorly understood.

The aim of this research project is twofold: (i) to develop a deeper understanding of the current and future vulnerabilities of global infrastructure networks, with a focus upon major ports, and (ii) to develop and test (through simulation modelling) a range of possible interventions that could reduce infrastructure network.

One approach to addressing these challenges would be to develop a nested network model, which combines global representation of supply chains and transport networks, and then nests more detailed modelling of the vulnerability of specific ports within that global framework. The first step of the study would therefore be to develop a state-of-the-art methodological framework to map and integrate the interdependent critical infrastructures at an international scale. This will require using and adapting a combination of methodologies from engineering systems, reliability theory, network science and risk analysis. It will also require making use of the latest global infrastructure databases and, where necessary, development of innovative methodologies to augment existing datasets from a variety of sources (e.g. satellite imagery, crowd sourced datasets). The developed framework will allow identification of vulnerable points in global networks due to failure of critical infrastructure systems converging in ports. This will provide an important platform to estimate present and future impacts on these global networks and to develop measures for improving their resilience. The outcomes will be at the cutting edge of international global risk and resilience research and will also be of interest to businesses and government including risk managers in high-level multilateral organizations, such as the OECD and the World Bank, as well as port authorities and national governments.

It will suit students from any quantified background, including engineering, physics, mathematics, or another quantitative science subject. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance. Experience of high level programming (e.g. Python), GIS and geospatial databases is desirable.

Candidates for this project from an engineering of physical sciences background would be eligible to apply for funding from Oxford University’s EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

The relationship between infrastructure provision and regional economic activity is only partially understood. Infrastructure serves multiple purposes, as a factor of production, providing access to markets and enabling agglomeration and innovation. Because of the complexity of these processes, the empirical evidence of the effects is often inconclusive. Theoretically, the relationship has been addressed through the frameworks of New Economic Geography, input-output modelling and spatial computable general equilibrium models. Each of these approaches has their limitations as well as their strengths1. An alternative approach is provided by agent-based modelling, which provides the possibility to represent a richer set of interactions between infrastructure systems and human behaviour, but is challenging in terms of data requirements for parameterisation and validation.

The University of Oxford leads the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC), which is a world-leading interdisciplinary programme developing new models and tools to support long term analysis and decision making for national infrastructure. As part of the second phase of the ITRC programme (called MISTRAL) the Institute for New Economic Thinking in Oxford is developing and agent-based model of the interaction between infrastructure and the economy, extending a previous model of the UK housing market. That model development is led by Prof Doyne Farmer. It is an ambitious project which is opening up new insights and modelling possibilities, which this doctoral project is intended to explore. The research will result in new theoretical, empirical and applied insights regarding the interplay between infrastructure and the economy. That will help to inform the long term planning of infrastructure and investment in infrastructure projects.

The doctoral student will become a member of the ITRC-MISTRAL research team, so will benefit from a vibrant research environment and exceptional links with government and business.

The project will involve computer model development, along with parameterization and validation using empirical data. Candidates must therefore be ready to take on a highly interdisciplinary analysis and modelling task. It will require a candidate with advanced computational and mathematical skills, coming from an engineering, economics or physical sciences background. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance.

Candidates for this project from an engineering of physical sciences background would be eligible to apply for funding from Oxford University’s EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

  • Venables, A., Laird, J. & Overman, H. Transport investment and economic performance: Implications for project appraisal. (Department for Transport, 2014).
  • Hall, J.W., Tran, M., Hickford, A.J. and Nicholls, R.J. The Future of National Infrastructure: A System of Systems Approach, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Deltas are amongst the most climate-vulnerable places in the world. The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh is the most populous delta in the world. Adaptation to climate change is therefore a priority, and a range of initiatives are under way, including a major programme of improvements to coastal embankments and many other initiatives to enhance the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the delta. However, it is still not clear what the most effective combination and sequence of interventions would be. Adaptation will involve cycles of learning from past experience and modifying future decisions in the light of that learning.

The Environmental Change Institute is engaged in a major research programme (REACH Improving Water Security for the Poor) with an ‘observatory’ in the coastal polder areas of Bangladesh. This DPhil project would be associated with that programme.

The research will combine two strands of activity:

  1. Broad scale modelling of flooding, salinization and other water-related risks in the coastal zone
    Building upon the simplified model of flood risk and poverty (Borgomeo et al., 2017) the research will develop a more realistic broad scale model of the coastal zone in south-west Bangladesh, parameterising that model with field data. This will include biophysical variables relating to flooding, salinization, drainage and agricultural production and the linkages with socio-economic factors including household incomes, poverty and migration. The model simulations will demonstrate how socio-economic outcomes vary under different scenarios of sea level rise and other climatic changes. The research will involve modelling the dynamic interaction between water security, poverty and sustainable growth (Dadson et al., 2017). There will be a particular emphasis on the role of shocks (extreme events) and the human impacts of those shocks.
  2. Decision analysis, optimization and development of adaptation pathways This part of the research will examine combinations and sequences of interventions that could be used to adapt to changing risk. These might involve infrastructure interventions (embankments, drainage systems) or other policy instruments to enhance human resilience. Optimisation methods will be used to identify efficient sequences of interventions that can be adapted to changing future conditions. We will also focus on how new information would improve decision making. The outcome will be the development of adaptive strategies for coping with climatic changes in the coastal zone.

The research is highly interdisciplinary, so will require a student with aptitude and appetite for interdisciplinary research. It will suit students from any quantified background, including engineering, economics, physical and environmental sciences. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance. The student should be willing to learn and apply new skills in system simulation and decision analysis.

The REACH programme will be able to support field work activities, but there is no funding for fees and maintenance in Oxford directly associated with this studentship. Applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Explore possible funding opportunities. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

Managing water resources inevitably involves trade-offs between human and environmental needs for water. In recent years significant steps have been taken to limit unsustainable water withdrawals in England that are potentially harming the natural environment. This has been based upon assessments of environmental water requirements. In practice the sensitivity of the aquatic environment to altered flow regimes is not fully understood. We know that water bodies in a healthy condition are more able to recover from occasional shocks like droughts. However, knowledge of the resilience of aquatic ecosystems is limited. There have been many studies of restoration projects, but the evidence base is difficult to generalize. Evidence of ecosystem response to droughts is bound to take a long time to acquire because these are rare events. In the meantime, decisions have to be made about the management of water resources. There may be more opportunities for enhancing ecosystems, for example through constructed wetlands, which may also contribute to the resilience of water supplies for human consumption. Given our ignorance about the potential effectiveness of these schemes, the approach needs to be one of ‘adaptive management’ – of piloting schemes and embedding learning from monitoring programmes in future cycles of decision making.

We have done extensive research on the risk and resilience of water resource systems1,2,3. We now wish to extend that analysis to incorporate ecosystem resilience. The approach will be to develop and test by simulating an adaptive management approach. The research will involve identifying a range of possible ecosystem restoration interventions and assembling evidence on their hydrological performance and ecosystem response. In the context of a case study catchment (possibly a lowland groundwater dominated chalk stream) we will propose a sequence of possible ecosystems interventions and explore their potential effect on the resilience of water supplies for human and ecological purposes. We will simulate how learning from system response could be incorporated in future cycles of decision making. This will help to make the case for catchment restoration schemes and the monitoring programmes with which they will need to be accompanied.

The project will involve a combination of catchment modelling and decision analysis4. It will suit students from any quantified background, including engineering, economics, physical and environmental sciences. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance.

This project is advertised as part of Oxford University’s Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research, so UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

The last decade has seen major advances in our capacity for flood risk analysis on a national scale1. National flood risk assessment now forms the basis for planning investment in flood protection and for insurance pricing. It provides a platform for a much more systematic evaluation of options for adaptation to flood risk, and more rational allocation of scare resources, than has hitherto been possible.

  1. scenarios of climate change and socio-economic change (including floodplain development)
  2. adaptation options, including flood defences, managed retreat and property-level protection.

Rapid developments in national modelling mean that it is now possible to explore a wide range of:

Thus flood risk analysis is now underpinning allocation of resources to flood risk management. Yet there are still significant gaps in our understanding of the combinations and sequences of interventions that will most effectively manage flood risk in the context of a changing climate2.

This doctoral project will analyze the ways in which scarce resources should be allocated to flood risk management at a national scale. It will explore the costs, benefits and uncertainties of different sequences of adaptation decisions, so will seek to identify adaptation options that are cost-effective in reducing risk whilst being robust to future uncertainties.

The doctoral student will become a member of the ITRC-MISTRAL research team, so will benefit from a vibrant research environment and exceptional links with government and business.

The project will involve a combination of risk and decision analysis. It will suit students from any quantified background, including engineering, economics, physical and environmental sciences. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance.

This project is advertised as part of Oxford University’s Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research, so UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

  • Hall, J. W. Editorial: steps towards global flood risk modelling. Journal of Flood Risk Management 7, 193-194 (2014).
  • Environment Agency. Flood and coastal erosion risk management: Long-term investment scenarios (LTIS) 2014. (Environment Agency, Bristol, 2014).

A major collaborative research project led by the University of Oxford1 demonstrated the global risks of water insecurity from droughts, floods and inadequate water supply and sanitation. It thereby helped to make the case for investment in water security. There were however a number of limitations in the analysis. The research did not explore the potential benefits of changing agricultural practices on water conservation; the treatment of groundwater in the study was rather limited; it did not address the distribution of water-related risks across society. Recent developments in water resource system modelling at a global scale have provided the potential for a more complete understanding of the risks of water insecurity and the benefits of adaptation. These studies have addressed flooding2 and droughts3 but have not explored what a package of water-related adaptations might look like, and how these could be implemented.

This project will develop a much improved global view of the benefits of water security. It will take a bottom-up approach using global modelling capability to simulate a combination of interventions in water resource systems to reduce water-related risks. This will include policy instruments and changing practices alongside infrastructure investments. The effects of these interventions will be simulated in order to develop insights regarding packages of interventions that might be developed in particular contexts. The analysis will be supplemented with case-study work to ground-truth insights.

The project will involve data analysis, geospatial analysis, computer model development and use of the model to generate innovative insights. Candidates must therefore be ready to take on a highly interdisciplinary analysis and modelling task, including computer modelling and GIS. It will suit students from any quantified background, including engineering, economics, physical and environmental sciences. Students should be able to demonstrate aptitude for computer modelling and enthusiasm to address real-world problems of great policy significance.

Candidates for this project from an engineering of physical sciences background would be eligible to apply for funding from Oxford University’s EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful UK and EU applicants will be eligible for full or part funding. Overseas applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process.

References

  • Sadoff, C. W. et al. Securing Water, Sustaining Growth: Report of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth. (University of Oxford, 2015).
  • Winsemius, H. C. et al. Global drivers of future river flood risk. Nature Clim. Change 6, 381-385, (2016).
  • World Bank. High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy. (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016).
  • Hall, J.W., Grey, D., Garrick, D., Fung, F., Brown, C., Dadson, S.J. and Sadoff, C.W. Coping with the curse of freshwater variability, Science, 346 (6208) (2014): 429-430.

With the growth of investment in wind and solar energy, there is a rapid increase in the amount of variable renewable electricity resources connected to electricity grids around the world. Whilst this is being adequately managed in most jurisdictions at present, there are clearly increasing problems and these can be expected to grow as and when variable resource become the dominant source of electricity. Integration problems are likely to be seen in various parts of the power system: declining marginal generation costs affecting prices in wholesale markets; issues in designing capacity incentives to accommodate variable resources appropriately; problems in maintaining the supply/demand balance in real time system operation; and increased variation in power flows in grids.

In principle, the storage of electricity in batteries and other devices can help address all of these problems. Rapid reductions in battery costs are making this an increasingly viable option. Whilst there are large programmes of research on battery technology, there has been less work on how public policy and market design might address energy storage. In particular, the potential for multiple benefits of storage cuts across some of the traditional regimes of electricity policy (e.g. wholesale markets, balancing and grid).

The research will involve reviewing ongoing work to support, incentivise and regulate energy storage in jurisdictions with high levels of variable renewable energy, in order to understand existing policy approaches and identify ways forward as the need for storage grows. It is expected that there will be a particular emphasis on understanding the interaction of policies designed to allow or incentivise storage in different parts of the electricity system. The research has potential to inform electricity market design and energy policy in a wide range of countries.

The research is highly interdisciplinary, so will require a student with aptitude for and commitment to interdisciplinary research. The student should be numerate and be willing to learn and apply new skills in fields as disparate as technology assessment, regulatory economics and electrical engineering. It is expected that (s)he will undertake primary research with industry and policy makers in more than one country. The Environmental Change Institute is engaged in a number of related research programmes. These include the Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy. The student will affiliated to this programme and will have access to the range of broader research, e.g. on innovation, storage technology and demand response, being undertaken within it.

Applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Explore possible funding opportunities. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process are available at www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/apply/.

With the growth of investment distributed electricity generation, the number of potential sellers of electricity to final consumers is hugely increased. This is potentially highly destabilising for electricity markets. In most jurisdictions at present, the majority of the electricity that is generated sold in wholesale markets to ‘suppliers’ or ‘retailers’ who then sell the electricity to final users in electricity markets. ‘Self-supply’ of electricity generated on site is widely allowed, but there are general regulatory barriers to selling electricity on a small scale, either to neighbouring properties or, via the grid, to a wider market. These relate in part to the structures of the market designed for large scale generation, but also to the (generally accepted) need to protect electricity users, especially vulnerable customers. However, there are now widespread demand, and some real examples, of ‘peer to peer’ electricity sales.

The research will address questions related to the changes to electricity markets implied by more widespread ‘peer to peer’ sales. It will involve reviewing existing and planned business models; and interrogation of the market design and regulatory measures that encourage or discourage this practice. It is likely that this will involve research in more than one country. It is expected that there will be a particular emphasis on the policies required to allow commercial innovation whilst retaining acceptable levels of consumer protection, and therefore that the research has potential to inform energy policy.

The research is highly interdisciplinary, so will require a student with aptitude for and commitment to interdisciplinary research. The student should be numerate and be willing to learn and apply new skills in fields as disparate as technology assessment, regulatory economics and electrical engineering. It is expected that (s)he will undertake primary research with industry and policy makers in more than one country. The Environmental Change Institute is engaged in a number of related research programmes. These include the Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy. The student will affiliated to this programme and will have access to the range of broader research, e.g. on innovation, storage technology and demand response, being undertaken within it.

Applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Explore possible funding opportunities. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process are available at www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/apply/.

Electricity supply and demand have to be managed at substation level as well as on the high-voltage transmission grid. Increases in distributed generation, along with changing patterns of demand, create new challenges for distribution network operators, for example when there are ‘clusters’ of solar PV arrays, heat pumps or electric vehicles. Research into the potential for demand response and storage to address such challenges and avoid the need for network reinforcement tends to concentrate on specific sectors – residential, commercial, industrial or non-profit/governmental. But there may be a mix of activities from different sectors or subsectors in a locality that can be exploited or developed to assist with network management: demand is tied to particular activities and functions, some of which are more flexible than others.

This research will describe and analyse operational and social factors in local system management in neighbourhoods where demand is mixed in terms of functions/activities, scale and timing, with a view to developing well-integrated options for network management along with a high proportion of distributed renewable generation. The approach needs to be interdisciplinary, so will require a student with aptitude for and commitment to interdisciplinary research. The student should be numerate and be willing to learn and apply new skills in fields as disparate as technology assessment, sociology and electrical engineering. It is expected that (s)he will undertake primary research with industry and policy makers in more than one country. The Environmental Change Institute is engaged in a number of related research programmes. These include the Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy. The student will affiliated to this programme and will have access to the range of broader research, e.g. on innovation, storage technology and demand response, being undertaken within it.

Applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process are available at www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/apply/.

With the move towards ‘smart’ energy systems, little attention is paid to how intelligible they are to the people who live with them, whether as installers, operators or end-users. This research will develop the concept of intelligible energy in relation to the distribution of knowledge, practical skills and know-how in operating buildings and/or vehicles, with a focus on ICT-enabled innovations. How many human and non-human actors are involved in making a ‘smart’ energy service function smoothly, and how do they interact? What skills, old and new, are required? What impact do technical or social innovations have on people’s ability to provide themselves with energy services? How are problems resolved? The aim will be to contribute to a theoretical understanding of intelligibility as a property of energy systems, informed by empirical work on how intelligibility can influence energy outcomes and system development.

The research is highly interdisciplinary, so will require a student with aptitude for and commitment to interdisciplinary research. The student should be numerate and be willing to learn and apply new skills in fields as disparate as technology assessment, design, sociology, learning theory and electrical engineering. It is expected that (s)he will undertake primary research with industry and policy makers in more than one country. The Environmental Change Institute is engaged in a number of related research programmes. These include the Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy. The student will affiliated to this programme and will have access to the range of broader research, e.g. on innovation, storage technology and demand response, being undertaken within it.

Applicants in need of financial support are encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students. Explore possible funding opportunities. Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process are available at www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/apply/.

Effective integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, calls for new forms of system flexibility. Solutions such as storage and demand side flexibility are said to contribute towards £8bn of annual savings for the UK energy system by 2030. Storage is already attracting much attention, while the evidence base for demand shifting potential is still weak.

The EPSRC funded METER project is the first study of its kind to collect electricity use information from many hundreds of UK households. We combine electricity readings, time-use data, socio-demographic information and survey material for controlled groups. The relationship between these data is complex and requires computational and analytical skills.

The data will provide novel insights into the relationship between activities and electricity use. It will support the evidence base for demand side flexibility, inform policy and help to create new business models.

The candidate is expected to develop new analytical tools and methods to explore data emerging from this study.

This doctoral project therefore seeks a candidate with:

  • excellent data handling skills (programming and use of databases)
  • very good analytical skills
  • good grasp of statistical methods
  • highly self motivated
  • clarity of vision and ability to identify relevant avenues of exploration
  • a willingness to develop a broad understanding of electricity systems
  • This project may attract funding from a range of sources. A successful applicant will be given advice in arranging this funding. Applicants in need of financial support are also encouraged to apply for one of Oxford’s several doctoral scholarship schemes for UK or overseas students and the EPSRC doctoral training awards.

    Closing dates apply on these schemes and students are encouraged to apply early. Applications are made through the School of Geography and the Environment: Full details on the applications process are available at www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/apply/.

    For more information about the project, visit www.energy-use.org or contact philipp.grunewald@ouce.ox.ac.uk.

    Examples of current research

    Scott Thacker

    Reducing the risks associated with infrastructure system failures due to extreme climatic events.

    See More

    Abrar Chaudhury

    Resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems to climate change.

    See More

    Chase Sova

    A systematic framework for integrated climate change adaptation.

    See More

    Funding

    Our students receive an impressive rate of funding through scholarships and bursaries from wide sources, including research councils, consulates and increasingly from industry. This rise in industry finance is a reflection of the applied nature and relevance of the subjects selected for supervision.

    In 2013 we were selected to form part of the new NERC and ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes, offering new students the opportunity to pursue a comprehensive and fully funded doctoral training experience.

    For details of the NERC Scholarships please see the Oxford Doctoral Training Partnership.

    For details of the ESRC Scholarships please see the Oxford Doctoral Training Centre.

    ECI doctoral students may also be eligible for funding from the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership award to Oxford

    Further information is available on the Research Councils UK website.

    You can explore Oxford University's fees, funding and scholarship search for more information.


    Finding a supervisor

    DPhil students are required to identify primary and secondary supervisors. If you wish to work with an ECI researcher you should contact them directly to discuss your proposed topic. The following ECI staff are available as primary DPhil supervisors:

    Many members of the School of Geography and the Environment's academic staff have environmental interests and may co-supervise with staff of ECI if they are interested in the project and are not already oversubscribed in terms of supervision.

    A modest number of doctoral research positions and fellowships are associated with ECI research projects and in a few cases these may be accommodated within ECI research space.