The University of Sheffield
Department of Geography

Three PhD Scholarships announced in PV Futures - Photovoltaics for the Future

PV Futures

Three PhD Scholarships announced in PV Futures - Photovoltaics for the Future

The University's interdisciplinary Energy and Environment theme addresses the international scientific consensus of rapid and globally damaging environmental change driven by natural resource demand and greenhouse gas emissions. This network forms one strand of our commitment to address the imperative to adapt the way humans capture and utilise energy, manage waste, do business and govern themselves to mitigate and manage the impacts of environmental change.

Photovoltaics (PV) permit low-carbon energy to be generated directly by consumers, and thus offer a real method for reducing the world's overall carbon budget whilst ensuring security of energy supply. Photovoltaics will form part of our future energy supply portfolio and the PV futures network will look at social, physical location and technological factors in order to maximise the future efficacy of PV at northerly latitudes.

Three PhD scholarships are being funded by The University, each for 3 years, providing a stipend of £13,650 per annum, home/EU fees and a research training grant of £1,000 per year.

Photovoltaics, energy consumption and the home
Supervisors: Professor Nicky Gregson, Department of Geography (; Professor David Lidzey, Physics and Astronomy
The uptake of first generation PV will be examined in the context of how consumer-generation transforms understandings of energy consumption within the home and how adoption relates to the public display of green living. Learning from this project will be used to identify key issues in the development of new generation PV technologies. For this project we are looking for a social scientist.

New socio-technically efficient photovoltaic technology
Supervisors: Dr Alastair Buckley, Department of Physics & Astronomy (; Dr Matt Watson, Department of Geography
Ways to increase the efficacy of PV will be investigated; in particular by developing new organic PV technology while considering social and location based factors. The new organic technologies provide disruptive engineering capability for PV integration into buildings since they can be made flexible, transparent and in different colours. For this project we are looking for a physical scientist.

Modelling physical location based factors of photovoltaic viability
Supervisors: Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen, Department of Applied Mathematics, (; Dr Edward Hanna, Department of Geography
Modelling will be used to determine how the microenvironment of a photovoltaic installation affects power generation and therefore economic viability. The model will incorporate geographic location, architectural factors, different PV technologies and local meteorology to develop a tool to determine the overall viability of a proposed installation. For this project we are looking for computer skills and mathematical ability.

Applicants are advised to contact the lead supervisor to discuss their application in the first instance. Applicants should then apply for admission to the University online via the University website ( and must also complete a short form specific to this network which is available at:

The completed application form should be sent to The closing date for applications is Friday 14 May 2010 at 5pm. Applicants might also be asked to attend an interview to assess their suitability for the project.