Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

June 2024

Application deadline

17 March 2024

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD to commence in June 2024. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Chris Jones (Department of Psychology) and Dr Louisa Wood (Department of Psychology), with Dr Keiron Roberts (School of Civil Engineering and Surveying). 

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£19,237 for 2024/25). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.

Costs for student visa and immigration health surcharge are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.   

The work on this project could involve:

  • Mixed methods research into the social acceptance of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuel (e.g. ammonia) infrastructure/projects
  • An opportunity to propose and develop your own set of social scientific studies 
  • Becoming an affiliate member of UK-HyRES – the UK hub for research challenges in Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels

The social acceptance of Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuel (H2&ALF) infrastructure projects will play a crucial role in determining their successful deployment (Upham et al., 2015). We invite applications for innovative project proposals designed to explore the nature and antecedents of the social acceptance of H2&ALF projects in the UK. 

Research Proposal

In your application we ask you to include a research proposal up to 1,000 words outlining the main features of your proposed research design – including how it meets the stated objectives, the challenges this project may present, and how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.  

Proposals should be grounded in social scientific concepts (e.g. norms, risk perception, attitudes), theories and research approaches and outline at least two related studies, which would nominally form the basis of the PhD. 

The studies could be qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods, but they should look to understand the perspectives of one or more key stakeholder groups (e.g. publics, political, business/industry), operating at one or more levels (e.g. national, community, household) and relating to one or more sectors/use-applications (e.g. transport, manufacture, residential heating).

While the projects do not need to be costed, their scale should reflect the available budget for this PhD (up to £500 per annum).

Although not mandatory, one option you might consider would be to investigate the dynamics of community opinions towards H2&ALF projects from a psychological perspective. The project could focus on the dynamics of community support and opposition to proposed H2&ALF projects/facilities, drawing upon the ‘democratic deficit’ explanation for the ‘social gap’ in the siting of low-carbon infrastructure (Bell et al., 2005). Using a mix of quantitative (e.g. information-choice surveys) and qualitative (e.g. semi-structured interviews, focus groups) analysis, the project could focus on the emergence of perceived normative beliefs and attitudes toward H2&ALF generating infrastructure in (prospective) host communities and how these perceptions encourage or discourage participation in discussion and activities relating to this infrastructure (e.g. meetings, protests).


Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A degree and/or equivalent training or experience within a relevant social scientific discipline (e.g. psychology, human geography, sociology, anthropology, socio-technical studies). 
  • Training in and/or experience of using qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Knowledge of social scientific concepts and theories pertinent to the project (e.g. social amplification of risk, technology acceptance models)
  • Interest in the hydrogen economy, climate change mitigation, and Net Zero/decarbonisation  
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally for data-collection

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Chris Jones ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code PSYC9140324 when applying. Please note that email applications are not accepted.