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Design for energy transitions in African urban informal settlements

This PhD is linked to a 5-year research project entitled ‘Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments’, in short Gender for Energy Security (GENS). Funded by National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and the Newton Fund through the British Council, the project involves Stellenbosch University, Brunel University London and University of Nairobi (https://gens.sun.ac.za/).

The project aims to advance knowledge on the area of energy security in informal urban settlements, with a particular focus on gender equity and equality. The project will implement two living labs, in Cape Town and Nairobi townships, where, in collaboration with communities, companies, NGOs and policy makers, interventions to improve energy security will be ideated, developed, prototyped and tested. This will pave the way to the commercialisation of innovative solutions and the implementation of supporting policies.

‘Design for sustainable behaviour’ focuses on understanding how design can shape or influence human behaviour to support the adoption of sustainable innovations and behaviours, and it represents a crucial element in this 5-year project.

Within this project, this PhD will explore how ‘design for sustainable behaviour’ can be used to trigger and support human behaviour changes toward the adoption of sustainable and gendered-informed energy systems in informal urban settlements. This will include understanding current energy-related behaviours of communities and users, planning design interventions to shape behaviours, and measuring effects of design interventions. Research questions will be defined on the basis of the specific interest of the PhD researcher.

This PhD will require the researcher to spend some time in Cape Town and Nairobi, where the two living labs are located.

Ceschin, F. and Gaziulusoy, Ä°. (2019) 'Design for Sustainability: A Multi-level Framework from Products to Socio-technical Systems'. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Design-for-Sustainability-Open-Access-A-Multi-level-Framework-from-Products/Ceschin-Gaziulusoy/p/book/9781138315167

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.


Dr Fabrizio Ceschin - I am a Senior Lecturer in Design for Sustainability, coordinator of the Design for Sustainability research group and member of the Design for Sustainable Manufacturing research theme and the Human Centred Design research. I worked in the Design and Innovation for Sustainability research unit at Politecnico di Milano for six years before joining Brunel University London in 2012. I carry out research in the area of: - Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy, and in particular in developing principles, strategies and tools to innovate and design products, services, product-service systems and business models integrating environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability; - Co-design, and in particular on how to support multi-stakeholder and participatory design processes. Over the past years I have been involved in several international and national research projects, funded by the European Commission, EPSRC, Innovate UK, the British Council, SMEs and multinational enterprises. My research projects have resulted in more than 50 journal and conference publications and 4 books. I have been teaching in the area of design for sustainability over the past 14 years. I am currently teaching modules on Environmentally sensitive design (BA and BSc) and Sustainable design (MSc), and I am director of the MSc Integrated Product Design. I am member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, the Design Research Society and the British Industrial Design Association, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Education

I obtained a BSc and MSc equivalent degrees in Industrial Design awarded by Politecnico di Milano in Italy. In 2009 I started my doctoral research in design for sustainability at Politecnico di Milano, which was completed in 2012.