ESF-CUC PhD Studentship Opportunity at University of Plymouth

Delivering Zero Carbon Homes in Cornwall: Establishing and disseminating exemplary practice of St Austell Eco-communities (Eco-town) development
University of Plymouth, School of Architecture, Design and Environment Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1st October 2011.

The UK Government has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and for all new homes to achieve zero carbon from 2016. Cornwall is also facing the challenges in delivering housing supply of quantity, quality, affordability and sustainability. St Austell Eco-communities have been approved by the Government in July 2009, which set a range of challenging standards for new home-building. This project aims to establish and disseminate exemplary practice of delivering zero carbon homes of St Austell Eco-communities, to contribute to realising the Cornwall Core Strategy for 2030. The research will also contribute evidence to the theoretical debate on exemplary practice and mainstream home-building.

Four research objectives are developed:

  1. Review the design and construction standards of zero carbon homes within the context of eco-town developments in the UK and internationally;
  2. Examine the existing knowledge base and skills profile of zero carbon home-building, available to St Austell Eco-communities and in Cornwall;
  3. Establish exemplary practice of zero carbon home-building, with quality, affordability and adaptability duly addressed; and
  4. Disseminate established exemplary practice across Eco-communities development phases and other growth areas in Cornwall.

The project will lead to the establishment of the social enterprise, Exemplary Practice Network (EPN) in Cornwall for Sustainable Homes, which will continue engaging with the project partners (Cornwall Council, Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust, and University of Exeter), the developer, the Eden Project, and a network of SME and supply chains, to disseminate exemplary practice of delivering sustainable homes.

Dr Wei Pan and Dr Xi Liang (University of Exeter)

Project partners
Cornwall Council and Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust (CSBT)

Funding details
The studentship is funded by Europe Social Fund (ESF). The studentship is supported for three years from 1 October 2011 and includes full Home/EU tuition fees and a stipend of £13,590 p.a. (tax free).

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a suitable management or built environment field, with ideally a relevant master qualification. Relevant industry experience will add value to the application, but is not essential.

How to apply
For an application form and full details on how to apply, please visit < Official Website. Applications should be made by using the PDF application form or the Word application form. Printed application forms are also available and can be obtained from the Course Information Unit, Tel: +44 (0) 1752 585858, Email:

On completion send your application form to:
Sue Matheron by email: or posted to:
Faculty of Arts
Research and Graduate Affairs Office
Room 305
Roland Levinsky Building
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Further information on the terms and conditions of a PhD at the University of Plymouth can be found on Official Website. Application deadline: 12 noon, Friday 3 June 2011 (with interviews to be organised shortly after that date)

Further enquiries:
Please contact Sue Matheron

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Wei Pan However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown above.


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