PhD Scholarships (2) for Inhabiting Buildings: Embedding Sustainability into RMIT Culture

Digital Ethnography Research Centre, School of Media and Communication and the Centre for Urban Research (Beyond Behaviour Change research program), School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University
The Inhabiting Buildings project adopts an innovative participatory research methodology to map and promote change in the RMIT community to improve sustainability. It focuses on everyday social practices within the built environment to understand how resources are consumed, what role buildings and technologies play in shaping these processes, and where opportunities exist for social, cultural and organisational change. 
Two PhD scholarships (projects 6 and 7) are available for humanities/social science students working under the supervision of A/Professor Tania Lewis and Dr Yolande Strengers as part of the RMIT Greener Government Buildings programme. More information can be found at Also see the project description below. Note the closing date for applications is 31 October 2013.
The Project will address the following key research questions:
· How and why do RMIT staff and students currently consume energy and water resources in the course of their day-to-day practices?
· What role do buildings and technologies play in shaping RMIT staff and students energy and water-consuming practices?
· What mechanisms, strategies and technologies can assist in developing more sustainable practices within RMIT’s buildings?
The Research Team
The project is co-led by Associate Professor Tania Lewis and Dr Yolande Strengers. A/Prof Lewis is an expert in lifestyle and consumption studies with a focus on everyday ethical and sustainable practices. Dr Strengers is co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change research group at the Centre for Design. She is an expert on smart technologies and theories of social practice with a focus on energy and water consumption. The two appointed PhDs will work closely with the team leaders and will also liaise with other research assistants working on the project.
The PhD Projects
Two PhD Scholarships are available for dynamic, independent individuals with expertise and interests in the relationship between sustainable practices, technologies and built environments.
Depending on their expertise and interests, the candidates will undertake a program of research on at least one of the following practice domains:
Heating and cooling: the ways in which staff and students achieve comfort within selected buildings at RMIT.
Eating and drinking: the ways in which staff and students use RMIT buildings to store, prepare and consume food and beverages.
Working/ studying: the ways in which RMIT staff and students use buildings to conduct their day-to-day working activities, such as printing documents, preparing documents, and communicating with staff and students.
Travelling to/ from work: the ways in which RMIT staff and students travel to/ from work and the facilities they draw upon within buildings (e.g. showers, bike storage).
Meetings (on campus): the ways in which staff and students meet on campus, including the locations in which meetings take place (cafes, offices, meeting rooms etc.) and the ways in which these practices are mediated by buildings.
Meetings (off campus): the ways in which staff and students meet with external colleagues and partners, including by phone, plane or other forms of transport.
The successful applicants should:
• demonstrate excellent academic performance in a field related to the proposed research such as: science and technology studies; media and/or cultural studies with an interest in technology; social practice theory; consumption studies; cultural or social approaches to sustainability.
• hold qualifications and/or experience equivalent to an Australian First Class Honours degree
• demonstrate the ability to organise and work independently
• preferably have experience in qualitative research and/or ethnography
What does the scholarship provide?
• Tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum over 3.5 years and a funded place in the doctoral degree within the schools of Media and Communication and/or Global Urban and Social Studies.
• Funding is also available for project costs and conference travel.
• Applicants should discuss their eligibility with Associate Professor Tania Lewis and/or Dr Yolande Strengers before applying:, phone +61 3 9925 52406;,

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