UKRI Funded Doctoral Position as part of the EU-funded MSCA Doctoral Network; CoDesign4Transition


Research Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise
Hybrid – LCC Elephant and Castle/Home
Grade 1
Please see the vacancy link

Fixed Term - 36 months

Full time - 37 hours per week

26 February 2024 23:55

First round: 21/03/2024 - 15/04/2024 / Second round: 18/04/2024 - 30/04/2024

The opportunity

Doctoral Network Job title: Doctoral Candidate 11: Identifying leverage points and facilitating multi-level design experiments that enable just ecological transitions as part of the MSCA Doctoral Network; CoDesign4Transitions

Purpose: The CoDesign4Transitions doctoral research project aims to study and integrate particular approaches and practices from ‘transition studies’ and ‘design for sustainability’ best suited to enable a just ecological transition. An important outcome will be a conceptual framework that articulates set of key approaches, theories and tools relevant to ‘transition design’, evidenced through concrete cases. Analysed case studies will be a basis for evidencing relevant approaches within actual transition processes as well as for identifying gaps and future opportunities. In addition, particular transition design methods and tools will be developed and advanced. Thus, cumulatively, the purpose of this research is to provide a set of conceptual and practical ‘heuristics’ that advance knowledge across multiple academic disciplines and that is relevant to practitioners in consultancies, governmental and third sector organisations. This Doctoral Candidate (DC) will, together with several other DCs, contribute to a higher-level objective of understanding the application and adoption of design, transition and public participation practices that facilitate organisational change at different scales.

Methodology: The doctoral research will involve study of current theories and practices regarding just climate transition. This will involve an in-depth review of current literature and practice, with the objective to integrate knowledge across transition theory and related organizational and design practices. More specifically, this will involve analyzing particular theories of change and mapping out multiple related tools (such as ‘multi-level perspective’, ‘x-curve’, etc.).

Case study methodology will involve a survey and selection of relevant cases (including from secondment organizations Stockholm Environment Institute and EY Seren), which may be ongoing long-term cases, historical or ‘live’ projects. Indicative topics include mobility, waste, energy, food system and land-use transitions, with stakeholders spanning supply chains, businesses and government, civil society households and indigenous communities. Document analysis, qualitative methods (such as interviews) and design may be employed to shed light on whether and how such 

theories of change and tools can be put into practice, and, furthermore, how these may impact just climate transitions.

While literature review and case studies will the primary research methods, practice research may include designing and/or testing tools related to transitions and futures; using or training others in collaboration, facilitation and creative methods and tools; developing transition design roles within organizational and policy contexts; ‘speculative experimentation’ with developed tools and roles within ‘live’ cases.


· Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden (3 months) supported by a mentor (Dr Fiona Lambe) to map transition cases in relation to the extant literature on ecological transitions and design within multi-level systems.

· EY Seren in London (6 months) supported by a mentor to develop case studies of facilitated transition design experiments including participant observation and interviews.

This doctoral position is funded by UK Research and Innovation. Apply here

About you

Candidates applying for an open position must fulfil all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Not have been awarded a doctoral degree. Researchers must not already be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment. Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree or extensive professional experience). Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will NOT be considered eligible to apply.
  • Mobility rule. Researchers can be of any nationality and must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays and time spent by the researcher as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

  • Employment rule. Researchers applying to positions recruited by the University of the Arts London (UAL) must not be already permanently employed by UAL.

  • English language proficiency*: Applicants must have a demonstrable C1 level of English (both speaking and in writing). Evidence must be provided pre-admissions/enrolment into the program following the guidance and minimum requirements specified by the Hosting University. In the absence of a recognised certificate, candidates should check the rules at the university where they will be enrolled. *Native English speakers are exempt from this requirement.

  • Further, during employment candidates must agree to not receive any other source of income. NB: If you do not meet all conditions, your application will be rejected. For complete eligibility details, including special circumstances and evidence to be submitted, check Annex 2, “Guide for applicants” accessible via the externally managed application portal 

In addition to the above criteria, candidates applying to this position (Doctoral Candidate 11) should have and be able to demonstrate in their application the following:

  • Have a Master’s degree [or equivalent/extensive professional experience] in environmental or sustainability sciences, transitions management or transition design, strategic or service design, or another related field; strong experience or knowledge of systems theory and practice, human-centred and collaborative design, social sciences.
  • Have an attitude that is openminded, curious and enthusiastic, and; a working style that is proactive, analytic and empathic. 
  • Have, or being open to developing, strong academic and analytic skills as well as qualitative research methodologies and a keen interest in design, systems thinking and creativity.
  • Due to the collaborative, multi-stakeholder and transdisciplinary nature of this project, the candidate should have excellent ‘soft skills’ including communication, facilitation, organizational and project management skills. Given the transdisciplinary nature of the project, it’s desirable that the DC is attentive to issues of gender, power and diversity. 

What we offer

To recognise the hard work of our staff and their contributions, we provide a wide range of benefits – please check our careers site/Canvas for further information as conditions and exclusions apply:

▪ at least 31 days of annual leave in addition to bank holidays.
▪ generous defined benefit pension schemes (LGPS/TPS}.
▪ flexible working and family-friendly policies for improved work-life balance.
▪ 2 days of paid volunteering leave for a UK registered charity.
▪ discounts including TOTUM, gyms, nursery and private healthcare insurance.
▪ continuous learning and development opportunities including free UAL Short Courses.
▪ season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme, free counselling via EAP and more! 

We are UAL

University of the Arts London (UAL) offers an extensive range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts. We are a collegiate University spread across London with six Colleges, four Institutes and five Research Centres.

We’re made up of all types of people, coming together in London, the world’s creative capital. We are designers, artists, performers, thinkers, researchers and makers. Our students, staff and graduates form a global network of creatives, entrepreneurs and leaders. Together, our ideas change the world. Because the world needs creativity.

We are ranked highly across the board. We are ranked first for specialist art and design, second in the world for Art and Design in the 2022 QS World University Rankings (for the fifth year in a row), ranked fifth in sustainability and two of our colleges were rated in the top three fashion schools in the world. 

Our culture

We have become one of the world’s most international Universities, welcoming over 22,000 students and 6,000 staff from 130 countries. And, as a global university, staff and students learn from different cultures and perspectives, which leads to new conversations and innovative work. At our very core, everything we do seeks to challenge the status quo by driving social purpose and standing up for what matters.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds including those who may feel underrepresented in the workforce due to their socioeconomic circumstances such as those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (B.A.M.E.) backgrounds. We aim to be a university where everyone can be themselves and are supported to reach their full potential.

With our commitment to inclusion and diversity, we are proud to be a Race Equality Charter (REC) member to help us reduce barriers that negatively impacts B.A.M.E. staff, a Stonewall Diversity Champion to ensure all LGBTQ+ people are valued at work, a Disability Confident Scheme Committed employer and member of the Business Disability Forum which help us to improve the lives of disabled people in the workplace.

This opportunity is closed to applications.