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Sustainability – Graduate Teaching Assistant PhD Studentship

PGRs working on sustainability projects will be housed in the department that is most relevant to their research expertise and project. However, given the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability research, students will be supervised from researchers across different departments.


SustainNET – Edge Hill University’s sustainability community network – was established in February 2020 as a network community of individuals, that have a general interest within sustainability. In support with the Institute of Social Responsibility, SustainNET aims to aid the development of sustainability research, education, student engagement and local community partnerships. Currently, SustainNET comprises over 100 members, and off-campus has developed a community of SustainNET Partners comprising over 40 local sustainability-focused organisations working across multiple sectors. EHU members come from across all university units including business, biology, education, geography, social sciences, FM, IT, library and learning services, computer science, creative arts and the Medical School / health to name a few. SustainNET has established itself as one of the most prolific and active network community initiatives in EHU’s history. In terms of research, SustainNET’s research strategic aims are:

  1. To facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration within sustainability between EHU staff/students and external partners.
  2. To enable the development of research agendas around sustainability that addresses key global challenges.
  3. To support academics and external partners to jointly access funding opportunities, by developing an active network of experts across all 17 areas identified under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   
  4. To develop a research active PGR community that specifically addresses key sustainability goals AND facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration across internal and external partners.
  5. To develop a tailored sustainability PGR route that allows for projects to span across multiple academic units. Across these biological sub-disciplines, we collaborate with researchers from around the Globe as well within Edge Hill University, utilising cutting-edge technologies.

The University in this recruitment round particularly welcomes applications for studentships in the project areas outlined below with additional research information on our dedicated SustainNET website. All PGRs will be supported by a supervisory team with appropriate expertise. Also, see the SustainNET expertise and interest’s webpage resource for further information on the research outputs and interests of each member of staff.

“As a PhD student, an important part of your journey is your relationship with your supervisors. It can make or mar you. It can inspire you or make you anxious for the rest of your journey.

I have been blessed with an amazing supervisory team who have been consistent in guiding, encouraging, supporting and directing me at every step of the way. They make my student experience enjoyable.

I am proud to say that they have given me wings to fly. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and I am thankful to each of them for their kindness and support.”

Aniekan Ekpenyong – PhD Postgraduate Researcher


In the first instance please direct all enquiries about proposed projects on topics related to sustainability to Dr Sven Batke and Professor Christopher Dent.

Proposed research themes

SustainNET research members are welcoming applicants and proposals across all areas of sustainability. Specifically, we are looking for individuals that have a strong interest in multidisciplinary research in sustainability, broadly defined under the UN SDG’s.

Projects might include, but are not limited to:

  1. A critical assessment of sustainability strategies in higher education Institutes in Europe – This project focused on identifying key sustainability strategies currently employed in European HE institutes and aims to characterise challenges and good practices using process analysis methods.
  2. Sustainable food production systems – This project aims to link in with local food production partners to evaluate the challenges local businesses face around sustainable management and production systems.    
  3. Exploring the teaching of sustainability: Working with appropriate partners in Early Years, Primary or Secondary FE or HE setting(s) this project explores how issues around sustainability and/or climate change are integrated within various curricula and can be effectively taught within particular educational settings.
  4. Sustainable data centres and transmission networks – Data is being continuously created via sensor technology, hardware and software user-interaction, as well as human-created information. However, the storing, use and management of data in data centres and transmission networks is an increasingly energy-intensive process, causing considerable carbon emissions. This project will explore options for making data centres and transmission networks more environmentally sustainable whilst also meeting society’s digital technology needs.