Hopeful Futures: Exploring the effects of visioning positive climate futures for young people in Wales.


 An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Arts, Technology and Environment, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded by Welsh Government and UWE Bristol 

The expected start date of this studentship is 01 April 2023.

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2023.

Studentship details

Young people are increasingly reporting distress (sometimes called climate / eco anxiety) about the environmental projections for the future associated with the climate emergency (Hickman et al 2021). But as Kelsey (2020) points out, a future without hope does not lead to positive climate action and instead there is a risk of inertia, doom and gloom. This research will explore the importance and impactful role that young people in Wales can have to visioning positive hopeful climate futures. 

This multidisciplinary PhD proposal will draw from environmental psychology, environmental science and policy and social science research to work with young people in Wales. Working with community groups and youth councils, we will use an adapted Delphi method (previously used by other UWE PhDs on air quality / public health in Wales, coastal management in UK, carbon futures in Bristol etc) to generate consensus (and dissensus) among young people on their concerns and visions of a low carbon future in Wales. Additionally, participatory research tools informed by arts and social science will prioritise depth, encourage self-reflection and provide a gentle and more emergent route into the research topic.

The objectives are:

  • Using participatory research methodologies to explore climate concerns and enabling factors that can empower young people and reduce climate anxiety
  • Work with young people via an adapted-Delphi approach to generate consensus about a low carbon future in Wales
  • Create a strategic alignment with Future Generation Commission to disseminate the findings and integrate the insights into Welsh Government policy. 

The PhD will benefit from academic supervision provided by UWE and Welsh Government policy and analytical experts with an aim of maximising policy impact.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Sara Williams at sara3.williams@uwe.ac.uk.


The studentship is available from 01 April 2023 for a period of three and a 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 (Home). 


Applicants must have a good first degree in an appropriate subject and ideally will have a Masters in Environmental Management,  Environmental Psychology, Geography or a related discipline. Ideally, the candidate will also have some experience of working with young people. 

Being able to speak Welsh is desirable but not essential. However, the candidate must be willing to learn basic Welsh phrases and be comfortable with the pronunciation of Welsh place names.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-APR-CATE08

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal; all your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification is required.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.  

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2023.

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on weeks commencing 27 February 2023.  If you have not heard from us by 24 February 2023, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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