EPSRC DTP studentship: Energy System Change and Energy Storage Ref: 2063

About the award

In order to tackle climate change, we need to make far-reaching changes to our energy system, whilst also ensuring security and affordability. These changes include the development and deployment of new low carbon technologies; changes to existing energy infrastructure; changes to the governance of energy systems in respect to institutions, rules and regulations, markets and policy frameworks; and changes to the role of people within the energy system. 

New technologies and new ways of doing things will play an important role in enabling innovation and change in the energy system. Increasingly it is suggested that the UK energy system will move away from a large centralised model, towards a more decentralised approach, with supply and demand being balanced at a more local level. This is likely to include the increased deployment of some intermittent renewable energy technologies, meaning that output may not be as predictable as it has been in the past.

At the moment, very little electricity is stored because supplying electricity from fossil fuel plants is cheap. However, to reduce carbon emissions and to balance out the variable production of electricity from wind and solar plants, the possibilities of storage have become both more economic and of more interest. Energy storage is important because as well as in electricity, it can also play an important role in the heat and transport sectors. It is also seen by the Government as one of the 8 important families of technologies, based on the UK’s scientific and business capabilities.

This project will seek to examine the state and application of energy storage within a transformation to a sustainable energy system. The proposed PhD will (1) look at the economics of energy storage now and into the future; (2) understand the regulatory barriers now in place; and (3) the regulatory and governance changes that will be needed to enable the potential deployment of storage into the UK energy system.  It will do this at a variety of scales, looking at the: international scene where deployment is already happening; the network scale trials that have been taking place within the UK; the work that has been happening within the Southwest, including with households & business within Cornwall.

Collectively this research will better enable the challenges to the uptake of storage with the GB local, regional and national energy system to be understood. As well as identifying barriers and opportunities for the development of effective energy storage policies and governance arrangements for the UK.

Academic Supervisors:

Professor Catherine Mitchell, Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Dr Bridget Woodman, Geography, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Location: University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, near Falmouth, Cornwall

About the award:

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership to commence in September 2016.  The studentships will provide funding for a stipend (currently £14,057 per annum for 2015/16), research costs of £3,000 and UK/EU tuition fees at Research Council rates for 3 years.

Entry requirements:

The PhD is situated in the area of energy policy, and as such is an inter- and multi-disciplinary topic. It is energy policy that applicants must be interested in, and they must be prepared to work from that dimension. Applicants for this studentship therefore must have obtained a Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area such as science, technology, economics, history or politics.  They should also have completed an Appropriate Masters.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS (and no less than 6.0 in any section) by the start of the project (alternative tests may be acceptable, see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/)

This studentship will be funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is only available to UK and EU nationals. You must have resided in the UK for three years prior to starting the studentship to receive funding for tuition fees and a stipend. If you are an EU national and have not resided in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship you would not be eligible for a stipend, so you would need to have an alternative source of funding for your living costs. Candidates from outside the EU are not eligible for this studentship. For full details on the residence requirements please see https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/


Application deadline:15th February 2016
Value:£14,057 per annum plus UK/EU fees for eligible students (2015-16 rates)
Duration of award:per year
Contact: CLES PGR Support Team 01392 723706/01392 725150cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply

Click here to apply

Please be aware you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • CV
  • Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • 2 references from referees familiar with your academic work (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk. If we don't receive your references, we will not request them unless you have been shortlisted)
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 15th February 2016. Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter in late February 2016.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310.

For further information, or informal discussion about the position, please contact the lead supervisor.