PhD at Heriot Watt University in Climate Justice – James Watt Scholarship


Deadline: March 22, 2024

This PhD scholarship focuses on how we can integrate the knowledge of indigenous communities to address key climate challenges. Indigenous co-design studies are centered on challenging Western-centric worldviews, power structures, and conceptions of time, valuing the knowledge and expertise of indigenous communities. Collaborative working with indigenous communities, policymakers and practitioners at national and international levels can provide the dialogue space to enable the co-creation of public policies for actionable interventions in the area of climate change. Research questions could focus on `How can we co-design public policies that recognize and apply indigenous ontologies and knowledge in responding to climate change?`, `How to provide opportunities for indigenous communities to represent their identities, interests, and knowledge for the development of climate change public policies?` The objective is to promote a transnational multidisciplinary approach to indigenous knowledge recognition, climate justice, health, urban planning, human geography, and anthropology through international research. The PhD will adopt a holistic approach to qualitative research, which should utilise participatory methods including ethnographic, photo-elicitation/auto photography, focus group, co-design workshops, participant observation, face-to-face interviewing, ordinary `informal` conversations, etc. The outcomes will recognise indigenous knowledge and respond to diverse sustainable delivery frameworks to deliver actionable interventions for climate change.

Relevant subject areas: Climate change; Climate Justice; Sustainability; Biodiversity; Health and Wellbeing; Urban Planning and Urban Design; Human Geography; Anthropology; Built and Natural Environment.


This project is open to all students, whether home, EU or overseas.

The successful candidate will have at least an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree in the relevant subject area and ideally a Masters Degree. We may also consider candidates who can demonstrate appropriate alternative learning such as experience gained in the workplace or professional qualifications.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.

Funding: James Watt Scholarship

This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees (Home and Oversees) and provide an annual stipend (£19,237 in 2024-25) for 42 months. Thereafter, candidates will be expected to pay a continuing affiliation fee (currently £130) whilst they complete writing up their thesis.


To apply click Here

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