SCI currently hiring two postdoctoral research associates

The SCI is currently inviting applications for full-time PDRA positions on two new UMRI-funded research projects.


The new research projects started in September 2022 and the deadline for applications is end of day, 3rd October 2022.

Contemporary crises and net zero transitions: Ukraine, COVID, and energy

Mat Paterson’s project ‘Contemporary crises and net zero transitions: Ukraine, COVID, and energy’, funded by the University of Manchester Research Institute, consists of an international research team involving researchers from the Manchester, Melbourne University, and the University of Toronto.

The project explores the question: How are the contemporary crises of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the character of post-COVID recoveries affecting the pursuit of ambitious climate policy towards ‘net zero emissions’?

Both of these crises have combined to generate a sharp increase in energy prices, particularly regarding natural gas, and a related increase in the insecurity of supply. These have already had highly destabilizing effects in terms of social inequalities, state legitimacy, geopolitics, the continued rise of populism, and governments’ economic strategies.

The implications of these crises are being felt at multiple scales (local, municipal, regional, national, and global) and by multiple actors (households, consumers, workers, businesses, farmers, governments). It is also being experienced in diverse ways, from ‘cost of living’ crises, through supply chain disruption, to opportunities for expanded fossil fuel exports. Different actors are also seeking to use these crises to shape voting behaviour and policy outcomes to suit their interests. These implications have important consequences not only for the ambition and strategy for pursuing net zero, but also on the distributive effects of those strategies and the possibilities of a ‘just transition’.

The Waste Tip: Exploring fly-tipping and opportunities for better waste management

Helen Holmes’ project ‘The Waste Tip: Exploring fly-tipping and opportunities for better waste management’ project is funded by the University of Manchester’s UMRI Interdisciplinary Pump Priming Grant as part of the Sustainable Futures research platform.

‘The Waste Tip’ aims to explore the phenomena of fly-tipping through an interdisciplinary lens. Fly-tipping is an illegal practice in the UK involving people or companies abandoning waste in spaces, such as by the side of the road or on rural land. In the year 2020/21 local authorities in England dealt with 1.13m tipping incidents (DEFRA, 2021). Fly-tipping is hazardous to human health and the environment, from the releasing toxic waste into ecosystems to the change in biodiversity. This project will utilise interdisciplinary methods to understand waste flows, end-of-life fates, and the circular economy to the phenomenon of fly-tipping as a lens through which we can understand and then build a more sustainable future.

The project will draw upon the University’s uniquely diverse research community, bringing together expertise from social science, materials science, geoengineering, life-cycle analysis, business models and history. It will be led by Dr Helen Holmes (Lecturer in Social Science, Sustainable Consumption Institute, Sustainable Futures lead for Inclusive and Prosperous Futures), and supported by an interdisciplinary team.

The post-holder will use a range of social science and interdisciplinary methods to explore the practices of fly-tipping and its impact in the UK. This will involve combining macro-level national data on fly-tipping alongside micro-level analysis of fly-tipping practices based on a regional case study. Social science methods including key stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and participant observation will be used; alongside developing interdisciplinary skills to explore the economic and environmental viability of fly-tipped goods.

To apply and for more details please follow the links below: