21 de junio de 2016

PhD opportunity: Strategic Narratives in UK Climate Policy

PhD opportunity: Strategic Narratives in UK Climate Policy
Science Communication Unit, Imperial College London

The Science Communication Unit invites applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship examining narratives in UK climate policy. The studentship is offered in conjunction with Imperial's Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.

Project Description
There is growing recognition that improved scientific understanding will not alone bring about action on climate change and that climate policies need to be articulated in ways that connect with existing value systems if the ‘action gap’ is to be closed. One possibility is to forge strategic narratives that help foster a coherent vision of policy futures. Narrative has the potential to play a key role because it provides a sense-making structure that defines problems, links disparate events into a coherent causally-connected whole, attributes agency and transformative actions, and anticipates possible outcomes. This PhD seeks to develop an analytical framework for understanding how narrative can be deployed in the case of climate change policy.

The project will pay particular attention to the role of scientific expertise in narratives about climate policy. For instance, is scientific advice separate from narrative activity, or incorporated within it, or responsive to it, or does science itself project particular narrative configurations? If scientists are strategic in authoring narratives around their science, how will this impact their epistemic authority and their perceived authenticity? Equally, how do mechanisms for delivering evidence-based policy fit with narrative as a driver for policy change?

This PhD therefore has the following aims:

1) To develop a novel theoretical framework for narrative policy analysis – capable of addressing the unique issues raised by climate policy – by extending existing approaches in narrative policy studies using additional analytical tools drawn from narrative theory.

2) To apply this framework to the case of UK climate policy over the past decade, in order to examine features of policy narratives that have so far been overlooked.

3) To build an understanding of both the role of strategic narrative in climate policy and the role of science in policy narratives.

The project is likely to entail two main phases. Firstly, the successful candidate will undertake an extensive review of fields as diverse as international relations, environmental communication, policy studies, science and technology studies and narrative theory, in order to extract analogues relevant to climate policy and to incorporate these into a conceptually rigorous framework for analysing policy narratives.

In the second phase, you will undertake a critical discourse analysis of documents relating to recent UK climate policy and qualitative interviews with key policy actors. The evidence base will focus on those parts of the policy process that formulate or re-present scientific advice, such as the outputs of the Committee on Climate Change, expert testimony to relevant Select Committees, most notably the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, and the climate-related inputs of scientific advisors to government departments.

Imperial College London, Science Communication Unit
Imperial College London, Mechanical Engineering Department / Energy Research Partnership
Additional project support will be provided by Alyssa Gilbert, Head of Policy and Translation at the Grantham Institute.

Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP 
The successful candidate will be located in the Science Communication Unit and integrated within the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership (SSCP DTP), based out of the Grantham Institute. 

You will be part of an interdisciplinary cohort of 30 students whose work spans all aspects of environmental research at Imperial College London.  This is a unique and prestigious programme that provides bespoke training courses, special seminars and opportunities to engage with the wider climate and environment community through funded secondments. 


The successful candidate will receive a fully funded Grantham Institute studentship. This covers tuition fees for the 3.5 year duration of the studentship and an annual tax-free stipend of £16,056. The studentship will begin on 1st October 2016.

Entry Criteria
We welcome applications from those with a good first degree (minimum 2.1, or international equivalent) who have obtained, or be working towards, a Masters degree at Distinction level or international equivalent, in a relevant field such as communication studies or climate policy. Your studies to date should include experience of qualitative discourse analysis or narrative analysis.

Candidates will be assessed on 4 main criteria: academic ability, research potential, written & verbal communication skills and interest in environmental research and related societal issues. You will also need to satisfy the College’s English language entry requirements.

How to apply
Applicants should fill in an online application form available here: https://apply.imperial.ac.uk/login. Use the search function to search for Science Communication Research. Please include a copy of your CV and a one page personal statement. Further details about the application process can be found at: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/.

The deadline for applications is Monday 11 July. 

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday 19th July.

For further information about the project, please contact Felicity Mellor.
For any queries about the online application form, please contact Liam Watson.

For details about the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP or the Grantham Institute, please contact Sophie Smith