Empowering citizens to influence climate change policy

We warmly welcome applicants within this area, however, this is a competitive studentship that will be awarded based on academic excellence and the successful applicant will be selected from one of the following areas listed below:

Conditions of the award

  • It is not open to individuals who are already holding another award which covers the payment of tuition fees in full or part.
  • It is not open to individuals who have already been awarded a doctoral degree or equivalent.
  • Receipt of the scholarship is conditional upon you commencing your period of study by registering no later than 1st October in the academic year for which the award is offered.
  • Scholarships cannot be deferred to a later year.
  • Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this Scholarship.

Project description

This project’s key aim is to develop a critical understanding of whether discursive methods promoting public engagement with parliament are an effective way to influence policy in climate change. In a context of acute political disengagement and lack of trust in political institutions, it is imperative to understand the effectiveness of initiatives which aim to promote engagement between citizens and formal institutions, such as parliament.

This is particularly relevant in the context of climate change policy, as an area that often divides campaigning groups and policy-makers, but which has such critical consequences for our societies. Recent research has sought to understand how parliament promotes public engagement; likewise, research has explored how grassroots movements can more effectively engage with climate change. This project would make a significant contribution by bringing these two lines of enquiry together, to tackle a critical challenge facing our societies: poor public engagement with our parliamentarians in the pursuit of climate change effective policies.

The PhD will evaluate the extent to which the methods of public engagement led by Hope For The Future, a small charity, empower citizens to seek to influence their MPs on climate change policy. In doing so, the project will advance our understanding of how citizens can help shape policy-making. The PhD’s key research questions are:

  1. What can we learn from discursive techniques to foster parliamentary public engagement?
  2. What constitutes effective public engagement with formal politics?
  3. Which messages and methods resonate best with MPs so that they take action on climate change?

Entry requirements

Candidates should hold a 2:1 first degree or equivalent and a merit of higher Masters degree (or expected grade if not yet completed).

How to apply

Download an application form and return your completed application to pgrpolis@leeds.ac.uk by the closing date.

You will also need to have submitted a PHD application to the School identifying this pre-defined project title and provided full supporting documentation: transcripts and degree certificates, two references and (in lieu of a research proposal) a short supporting statement of 1-2 pages addressing your reasons for applying for this project, your suitability for the project and how you would respond to the research questions as set out in the project description.

You can apply for a PHD at https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon

How to apply (email)


How to apply (phone)

+44 (0)113 343 8056