Smart City Governance – Planning Net-Zero Communities


An exciting opportunity to apply for eight fully funded PhD positions in the College of Arts, Technology and Environment, UWE Bristol.

Ref: 2223-APR-CATE14

The expected start date of these studentships is 1 April 2023.

The closing date for applications is 8 January 2023.

Please note: out of the eight projects being advertised for the CATE Studentships 2022. The projects for funding will be selected based on the merit of applicants following the process outlined below.

Studentship details

Cities have set ambitious targets for climate change mitigation and transition to net-zero communities. At the same time Covid-19 has promoted a “new-normal” living, and new opportunities for transition to net-zero communities have arisen. However, limitations of urban governance to effect transition have been exposed, demonstrating the urgency for new governance solutions. Cities face a common challenge, that of developing effective planning solutions to deliver carbon neutrality whilst transitioning towards the post-pandemic “new-normal”.  There is a critical need for more effective urban planning tools to support the specification of city visions, and the development and delivery of transition strategies. 

Extensive pan-European collaborative smart city governance research undertaken by the UWE supervising team (Ludlow and Khan) extending over the past 20 years has demonstrated the major opportunities for ICT enabled urban planning tools to support the delivery of mitigation strategies. However, the dynamic of societal and digital transformation requires a deep review of the core requirements for the urban planning governance model as a basis for smart city governance technology investments in the planning decision-making system.
This project will explore the role of ICT enabled urban planning tools in helping cities achieve net-zero communities demonstrating the wide replicability of results for a broad range of pan-European and global cities. 

The Specific research questions addressed through this project are: - 

  • What is the urban planning requirement for climate change mitigation impact assessment at the neighbourhood scale?
  • what is the most effective ICT enhancement of the impact assessment tools identified? 

The successful candidate will be a member of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Professor David Ludlow

You can also contact Professor Jessica Lamond or Dr Stephen.Hall about the studentship programme.


The studentship is available from 01 April 2023 for a period of three and half years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £17,668 per annum. 

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years. 


Applicants must have a Master's degree or equivalent in the relevant field of study according to the requirements of the hosting Department.   

Applicants should possess a minimum 2:1 in a related discipline. An MSc degree in a related discipline would be considered an advantage but it is not essential.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. when prompted use the reference number  2223-APR-CATE14

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 08 January 2023.

Further Information

Interviews will take place on weeks commencing 20 February 2023. If you have not heard from us by February, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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