Energy Sustainability@DCU - 3 Year PhD

Public Engagement with Cleantech Innovation Scholarship in the School of Communications, Dublin City University


Dublin City University (DCU)is a leader in clean technology and innovation in Ireland. The university provides a strong alliance of industry, academia, design, NGOs and local communities working towards energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Energy Sustainability@DCU is a new university-designated research initiative (UDRI) that combines cleantech, social and community enterprise with public/media engagement in society. This multidisciplinary research initiative is a unique collaboration between the physical sciences and the social sciences and humanities.

Energy Sustainability@DCU aims to pull together DCU’s energy research and innovation. It will also produce a protocol for anticipatory technology assessment, a foresight analysis of emerging sciences and technologies for environmental, ethical and other social dimensions in a mediated and publicly transparent process.

This protocol will be of potential interest to government departments, state agencies, high-technology companies, higher education institutions, research institutes, environmental NGOs, and other civil society organisations, any of whom may have an interest in engaging in science and technology foresight with a social perspective. A scientifically- engaged public is essential if all stakeholders are to participate meaningfully in decision-making processes for clean technologies contributing to An tSli Ghlas- The Green Way, north Dublin’s green innovation hub.

In this highly interdisciplinary research position, the successful candidate will:

  • Map out the ‘macro’ level of sustainable behaviour and practice, drawing from ecological/environmental discourses, and from any of climate change science, future cleantech policy, risk communication, science studies/science communication. The focus will be on social media, blogs and traditional media and fictive ecological texts that form the ‘future imaginary’ for emerging clean /green technologies for future products/solutions.
  • Organise and coordinate focus group sessions for public stakeholders on the ‘micro’ level , informed by sustainable practice theories, and to inform research, design and innovation processes in start-ups/product development in Energy Sustainability@DCU and along the innovation pathway of An tSli Glas- The Green Way
  • Bridge the gaps between local action, behavioural/consumption practice and product design on the ‘meso’ level via strategic university innovation networks and social media channels that increase social sustainability- including management of a central web resource for Energy Sustainability@DCU- as well as environmental and economic sustainability of cleantech products
  • Conduct the research in the School of Communications, DCU (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), with a strong link to the School of Electronic Engineering , and the Energy Design Lab in the National Centre for Plasma Science Technology/Rince Institute(Faculty of Engineering and Computing). The Supervision Committee will be drawn from both Faculties. High research output is expected of the researcher in a range of environmental policy and science studies publications

Essential requirements for candidates:

  • Proven desire to achieve in postgraduate research that connects the social and natural sciences
  • Strong project management and administration skills
  • Excellent theoretical grounding in science communication or science and technology studies
  • Proven ability in creating synergies: organising public engagement events, motivating individuals and organisations to collaborate, achieving targets
  • Prominent social media user

An advantage, but not essential:

  • Background in emerging technology, as practising scientists and /or policy/regulation of hi-tech sector
  • Background from within either of: innovation studies, consumption studies, behavioural sciences, science studies, science communication, science policy, public engagement with science and technology
  • Web design skills

Please submit a 1-2 page expression of interest with accompanying CV to The initial closing date is Friday August 5th 2011. Interviews for this scholarship are expected to take place in August. These dates are dependent on the emergence of a suitable candidate.