Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability - De-centralised Energy Management

University of Surrey

Guildford, Surrey
Stipend of £18,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: carbon, climate & energy, sustainability

Closing date: Sunday, 29th July 2018   6 days left

Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey

Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability: Project Brief

Project Title: De-centralised Energy Management at the University of Surrey

Sponsoring organisation: University of Surrey

Project Overview and Background

The University of Surrey is keen to become more sustainable in its day to day operations. It will shortly launch its Sustainability Vision and a range of projects to proactively manage and reduce consumption. A key project for the University is to engage Faculty managers and departmental staff to reduce energy consumption (and carbon emissions) across all University buildings. The project will start with an initial focus on non-residential aspects of the University, including academic Faculties, administration and teaching. Whilst intrinsic to the University these functions have their own budgets and chains of management which are currently removed from the centralised energy management service.

The Climate Change Act 2008 commits the UK government by law to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020, and 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. All public and private sector organisations are expected to contribute towards this target. To date the University of Surrey has reduced its carbon emissions by around 10% despite growing in size over the past 15 years. The University now wishes to accelerate its carbon reduction activity, as a key part of its Sustainability Plan.


  • To understand, map, and test management approaches to reduce the use of energy (in particular electricity and gas) at the University of Surrey.
  • To investigate and implement a range of innovative and effective energy saving methodologies and behaviours for different sections of the university population.
  • To evaluate and assess appropriate technologies that could be implemented within the University to reduce energy consumption.
  • To engage key staff across the University (and specifically at Stag Hill) to become more aware of, more responsible for and more in control of their energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.
  • To assist with the development and implementation the University’s “Carbon Plan”, forming a key strategic part of the University’s Sustainability Strategy and Plan, and to reduce the University’s energy costs.

Project Deliverables

  1. Evaluation of existing progress in carbon reduction measures against 2005 baseline:
  • Investigate best and emerging practice for motivating and achieving long term behaviour change with respect to sustainability, and produce a summary report.
  • Develop a clear picture of the current status of energy use and carbon emissions at Stag Hill, through the review of existing data, systems and reports for the Stag Hill campus. Review the 2005 carbon emission baseline to monitor progress against staff and student perceptions and expectations with regard to sustainability, with an assessment of existing barriers and drivers for positive change.

   2. Engage, motivate and change behaviour:

  • Provide ongoing support and motivation to stakeholders, to help them deliver carbon savings in their areas. For example, help carry out “walk around” audits, set up equipment asset registers, and identify energy saving opportunities (with support from the Carbon Manager).
  • Develop, deliver and monitor a tailored “Engagement and Behaviour Change Plan” including training and awareness-raising campaigns to provide motivation and support for long term behaviour change across the University (both staff and students).
  • Communicate regularly to staff and students to raise awareness, change behaviour and provide information on the progress on the Carbon Plan.

   3. As part of the day to day operations, monitor, manage, report and control:

  • Develop a good understanding of the University’s TEAM energy data system.
  • Set up a decentralised energy management system including: departmental monitoring, reporting and budgeting systems in collaboration with all Faculties and departments (Stag Hill).
  • Work with and develop the network of energy / sustainability champions across the University Faculties and departments, so that they are able to understand and manage their consumption (and carbon footprint) locally. Provide training on TEAM as needed.
  • Work with the Carbon Manager to investigate and assess appropriate technologies & processes, both well established and innovative that have practical potential to deliver the required energy & carbon savings. Investigate funding sources and models for energy saving measures.


A range of approaches will be utilised in this project. They will include, but are not limited to:

  1. Examination of existing commercial and academic literature to assess current best practice and state of the art approaches for sustainable energy use.
  2. Analysis of quantitative data through spreadsheets and energy and carbon modelling (as appropriate).
  3. Stakeholder identification and engagement to understand the constraints of the Stag Hill campus, and to develop a feasible and cost-effective carbon plan.
  4. Potentially some experimentation of new technologies to assess effectiveness in proposed plan.
  5. Cost/benefit modelling.

Person specification

  • English proficiency
  • Expertise in energy, sustainability, psychology, behaviour change or relevant engineering
  • A strong interest in the environment with understanding about sustainability
  • Very good communication skills, covering written, verbal and presentations.
  • Very good stakeholder engagement is required at all levels.
  • Confident and mature
  • Good interpersonal skills - an active and engaged team player, also able to go out and initiate meeting new people
  • Ability to work independently, taking responsibility for their workload and deliverables
  • Practical and solutions focussed
  • Technical skills needed – highly numerate, computer literate, financial business planning / budget management, reporting
  • Minimum 2 years work experience
  • The candidate must be able to display a capacity for independent thought, as well as a pragmatic attitude to working within industry
  • An understanding of marketing, communications and / or behaviour change techniques would be beneficial


All applications must be made through the online application form and include ALL of the following documentation to be considered:

  • Up to date cv
  • Cover letter including why this project is of interest and how your experience and interests make you a suitable candidate. On application please add the cover letter under the option for Research proposal.
  • Degree certificates and transcripts – Bachelors and Masters if appropriate
  • Contact details for 2 referees – 2x academic references or 1x academic reference and 1x other reference

Please ensure you state specifically under ‘Research Area’ that you are applying for the Surrey Estates_Energy studentship.

Project Positioning within the Organisation and Impact

Based in Estates and Facilities Management, within the Sustainability Team.

Reporting to Matthew Arnold – Carbon Manager

Working closely with: Sam Stott (Utility Analyst), Cat Reeby (Sustainability Advisor), Internal Communications, Centre for Environment & Sustainability.

The Estates and Facilities Management department manages the estate on behalf of the University, including all: maintenance, refurbishments, new build projects, planning and development. The department is also responsible for energy & water management and infra-structure. The University has over 250 buildings across an extensive green campus.

Key Dates and Information

This project is due to begin on the 1st October 2018. The successful candidate will spend an initial 12 weeks in Guildford, UK undertaking intensive sustainability and personal development training, after which they will be predominately based at the University of Surrey.

The programme will run for three to four years and is open to UK/EU students ONLY.

Stipend: The successful candidate will receive a generous stipend of £18,000 per annum throughout this time (with potential to increase to c. £20,000 per annum after two years). Stipends are usually tax-free and DPs will also benefit from an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc. In addition to this,

Fees: Full-time tuition fees (£4,195) will be covered by the PDS programme at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme.

The deadline for applications is 23.59 on the 29th July and Interviews will take place on the 6th August.

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