PhD in Psychology: Public values for sustainable energy transitions

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Social sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)


We envisage this project to examine public values in relation to sustainable energy transitions that meet UK climate change and energy security targets.

Broadly, the project should build on existing research conducted as part of a Cardiff project funded by the UK Energy Research Centre. See the following publications for more information: Demski et al. (2015); Parkhill et al. (2013); and related: Pidgeon et al., (2014); Demski et al. (2017). Please contact us if you do not have access.

The core output of the UK Energy Research Centre's mixed-method interdisciplinary research project involved the identification of a set of values and concerns underlying public preferences around energy system change (ranging from environmental to social justice concerns).

To date, this analysis has garnered significant interest in both academic and policy communities and we therefore envisage that the PhD project would build on this.

We propose multiple phases for this project:

The first phase will examine the possibility of quantifying these values in order to develop these further theoretically, for example in terms of their convergent validity with other types and measures of values. The second phase may then examine how these values influence people’s decision-making and preference formation around specific energy issues.

In particular we are interested in how different groups of people might prioritise these values in different ways and whether particular (sets of) values are more or less salient for different energy issues.

This work may then lead to identifying different value profiles across various groups of people and across energy issues/technologies. For example, the PhD project could link up with ongoing work in the group to examine how different values are important in determining people’s preferences and attitudes towards energy storage technologies; an energy topic that is of increasing importance.

While the suggested project has a focus on quantitative methods, it could also use more qualitative approaches in addition to this. In this regard the PhD would provide opportunities to gain skills and experience in mixed-methods.

What is funded


Tuition fee support

Full UK/EU tuition fees

Maintenance stipend

Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Additional funding offered

All School of Psychology students receive conference and participant money (approx. £2250 for the duration of the studentship). They also receive a computer and office space, additional funding for their research, and access to courses offered by the University’s Doctoral Academy and become members of the University Doctoral Academy.



3 years




UK Research Council eligibility conditions apply

Academic criteria

As only one studentship is available and a very high standard of applications is typically received, the successful applicant is likely to have a very good first degree (a First or Upper Second class BSc Honours or equivalent) and/or be distinguished by having relevant research experience.