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Research Scholarship in Solar Solutions to Improve Energy Affordability

A postgraduate research scholarship

This scholarship provides financial assistance for a PhD student undertaking research in political economy and/or sociology. 

Highlights

Value Eligibility Open date Close date
$35,000 p.a. (up to 3 years)
  • Full-time PhD student
  • Undertaking interdisciplinary and collaborative research across the fields of political economy and/or sociology
  • Hold first class honours degree 
4 October 2021 20 December 2021

How to apply

Apply here.

Further information about this project can be obtained by emailing Associate Professor Lynne Chester (lynne.chester@sydney.edu.au) or Dr Amanda Elliot Amanda Elliot (amanda.elliot@sydney.edu.au).

Benefits

The scholarship will provide a stipend allowance equivalent to $35,000 per annum for up to three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

Who's eligible

You must:

  • have an unconditional offer of admission, a conditional offer of admission or applied for admission to study full-time in a PhD within the Department of Political Economy or Department of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Note: You should apply for admission to study full-time in a PhD within the Department of Political Economy or Department of Sociology prior to submission of an application for this scholarship
  • undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative research across the fields of political economy and/or sociology to focus your research on the following:
  • the lived experiences influencing low-income renter household energy needs, practices and decision-making
  • knowledge creation that is both critical and empiricist using mixed methods for data collection
  • the role of household energy profiling can play to design solutions for improving energy affordability in Australia and comparable international jurisdictions
  • must also demonstrate the following:
  • a first-class honours degree or equivalent in political economy and/or sociology (or cognate disciplines)
  • an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods or evidence of a capacity to develop such skills
  • a willingness to learn analytical techniques such as NVivo, SSPS, thematic analysis, content analysis and discourse analysis
  • investigative skills to search for information from databases
  • a high level of competence in writing.

Note: The successful applicant will be required (as per current University of Sydney policy) to spend at least 4 research periods-the equivalent of one year-on-campus at the University of Sydney during their candidature.

Background

This scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student, working in collaboration with a broader ARC funded research team in the field of energy affordability for vulnerable households.

The PhD project of the successful applicant will compliment a broader ARC Linkage Project which will develop solar solutions that will improve energy affordability for low-income renters.  This ARC funded project involves a form of action-oriented research to directly engage with low-income renters and many stakeholders involved in providing rental housing and residential solar systems. This type of collaborative research, sensitive to the needs of participants and with an emphasis on the practical application of results, is innovative for energy affordability studies. The research will reveal the barriers to renter solar access-rather than accept the notions of the homogenous household and ubiquitous owner-occupier to develop solutions suitable for all rental types across Australia, through an empirical, engaged, and reflexive process informed by commitments to social justice and consumer rights.

1. Background

a. This Scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student, working in collaboration with a broader ARC funded research team in the field of energy affordability for vulnerable households.

b. The PhD project of the successful applicant will compliment a broader ARC Linkage Project which will develop solar solutions that will improve energy affordability for low-income renters. This ARC funded project involves a form of action-oriented research to directly engage with low-income renters and many stakeholders involved in providing rental housing and residential solar systems. This type of collaborative research, sensitive to the needs of participants and with an emphasis on the practical application of results, is innovative for energy affordability studies. The research will reveal the barriers to renter solar access-rather than accept the notions of the homogenous household and ubiquitous owner-occupier to develop solutions suitable for all rental types across Australia, through an empirical, engaged, and reflexive process informed by commitments to social justice and consumer rights.

2. Eligibility

a. The Scholarship is offered subject to the applicant having an unconditional offer of admission to study full-time in a PhD within the Department of Political Economy or Department of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.

b. Applicants must undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative research across the fields of Political Economy and/or Sociology to focus their research on the following:

I. the lived experiences influencing low-income renter household energy needs, practices and decision-making,
II. knowledge creation that is both critical and empiricist using mixed methods for data collection, and
III. the role of household energy profiling can play to design solutions for improving energy affordability in Australia and comparable international jurisdictions.

c. Applicants must also demonstrate the following:

I. a first-class honours degree or equivalent in political economy and/or sociology (or cognate disciplines),
II. an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods or evidence of a capacity to develop such skills,
III. a willingness to learn analytical techniques such as NVivo, SSPS, thematic analysis, content analysis and discourse analysis,
IV. investigative skills to search for information from databases, and
V. a high level of competence in writing.

3. Selection Criteria

a. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the basis of:

I. academic merit,
II. area of study and/or research proposal, and
III. a personal statement which demonstrates how they satisfy Clause 2.c.

b. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the nomination of a selection committee comprising of:

I. the Chair of the Department of Political Economy or their nominated delegate(s), and
II. at least two other academics in the Department of Political Economy.

4. Value

a. The Scholarship will provide a stipend allowance equivalent to $35,000 per annum for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory academic performance. No extension is possible.

b. The Scholarship is for commencement in the relevant research period in which it is offered and cannot be deferred without prior approval of the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

c. No other amount is payable.

d. The Scholarship will be offered subject to the availability of funding.

5. Eligibility for Progression

a. Progression is subject to attending and passing the annual progress evaluation.

6. Leave Arrangements

a. The Scholarship recipient receives up to 20 working days recreation leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued. However, the student will forfeit any unused leave remaining when the Scholarship is terminated or complete. Recreation leave does not attract a leave loading and the supervisor's agreement must be obtained before leave is taken.

b. The Scholarship recipient may take up to 10 working days sick leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued over the tenure of the Scholarship. Students with family responsibilities, caring for sick children or relatives, or experiencing domestic violence, may convert up to five days of their annual sick leave entitlement to carer’s leave on presentation of medical certificate(s). Students taking sick leave must inform their supervisor as soon as practicable.

7. Research Overseas

a. The Scholarship recipient may not normally conduct research overseas within the first six months of award.

b. The Scholarship holder may conduct up to 12 months of their research outside Australia. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC), and will only be granted if the research is essential for completion of the degree. All periods of overseas research are cumulative and will be counted towards a student's candidature. Students must remain enrolled full-time at the University and receive approval to count time away.

8. Suspension

a. The Scholarship recipient cannot suspend their award within their first six months of study, unless a legislative provision applies.

b. The Scholarship recipient may apply for up to 12 months suspension of the Scholarship for any reason during the tenure of the Scholarship. Periods of Scholarship suspension are cumulative and failure to resume study after suspension will result in the award being terminated. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC). Periods of study towards the degree during suspension of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum tenure of the Scholarship.

9. Changes in Enrolment

a. The Scholarship recipient must notify HDRAC, and their supervisor promptly of any planned changes to their enrolment including but not limited to: attendance pattern, suspension, leave of absence, withdrawal, course transfer, and candidature upgrade or downgrade. If the award holder does not provide notice of the changes identified above, the University may require repayment of any overpaid stipend.

10. Termination

a. The Scholarship will be terminated:

I. on resignation or withdrawal of the recipient from their research degree,
II. upon submission of the thesis or at the end of the award,
III. if the recipient ceases to be a full-time student and prior approval has not been obtained from the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to hold the Scholarship on a part-time basis,
IV. upon the recipient having completed the maximum candidature for their degree as per the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 Policy,
V. if the recipient receives an alternative primary stipend scholarship. In such circumstances this Scholarship will be terminated in favour of the alternative stipend scholarship where it is of higher value,
VI. if the recipient does not resume study at the end of a period of approved leave, or
VII. if the recipient ceases to meet the eligibility requirements specified for this Scholarship, (other than during a period in which the Scholarship has been suspended or during a period of approved leave).

b. The Scholarship may also be terminated by the University before this time if, in the opinion of the University:

I. the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the terms of this offer,
II. the student fails to maintain satisfactory progress, or
III. the student has committed misconduct or other inappropriate conduct.

c. The Scholarship will be suspended throughout the duration of any enquiry/appeal process.

d. Once the Scholarship has been terminated, it will not be reinstated unless due to University error.

11. Misconduct

a. Where during the Scholarship a student engages in misconduct, or other inappropriate conduct (either during the Scholarship or in connection with the student’s application and eligibility for the Scholarship), which in the opinion of the University warrants recovery of funds provided, the University may require the student to repay payments made in connection with the Scholarship. Examples of such conduct include and without limitation; academic dishonesty, research misconduct within the meaning of the Research Code of Conduct (for example, plagiarism in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, or failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interests), breach of the Code of Conduct for Students and misrepresentation in the application materials or other documentation associated with the Scholarship.

b. The University may require such repayment at any time during or after the Scholarship period. In addition, by accepting this Scholarship, the student consents to all aspects of any investigation into misconduct in connection with this Scholarship being disclosed by the University to the funding body and/or any relevant professional body.