Fully-funded PhD scholarship: Social Dimensions of Environmental Change in East and South-East Asia



Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD/Research Assistant position (3 years) in ‘Social Dimensions of Environmental Change in East and South-East Asia’ in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. The scholarship includes fee waiver and an annual stipend of £14,553 for three years.

The successful candidate will develop and undertake a piece of independent environmental social science research with a focus on Japan, Taiwan or Vietnam, to fit with and build on existing and future environmental social science research in the School. As well as pursuing their own independent research project, in return for fees and stipend the successful candidate will also provide research assistance (120 hours per year) to ongoing and future research activity undertaken by the School of Applied Social Studies in east- and south-east Asia (Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam).

As the candidate will be expected to participate in a wider programme of work involving case studies in Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam, please note that linguistic proficiency and socio-cultural knowledge to be able to undertake social science research (data/document analysis, interviews, focus groups) in one of Japan, Taiwan or Vietnam is required for this position.


As is common practice in the social sciences, applicants are free to develop their own topic within the conditions outlined above. In the first instance, applicants should submit a one-page Expression of Interest detailing the following:

  • outline of proposed research topic/case study;
  • brief summary of relevant academic literature;
  • proposed methodology;
  • summary of applicant’s knowledge of and research experience in Japan / Taiwan / Vietnam.

Either quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods proposals are welcome, from candidates with a background in any social science discipline. Applications from candidates with a background in environmental sciences, but with suitable experience working in interdisciplinary research teams, will also be considered. Whilst applicants are free to develop a topic of their own, we would be particularly interested to receive applications addressing one of the following areas:

  • ‘just transitions’ for carbon-intensive cities and regions;
  • social dimensions of urban climate change adaptation (especially the role of green infrastructure and urban greenspace);
  • the social and cultural aspects of marine environmental change and subsequent regional recovery.


As above, the post-holder will be expected to support research activity within the school as a condition of their funding. Depending on the post-holder’s linguistic competences and the nature of ongoing projects, this may involve empirical research (interviews, focus groups, document analysis, online research); developing links with in-country partners; writing papers for peer-reviewed publication; and contributing to the development of funding proposals. Candidates are strongly encouraged to develop their proposals so that they may develop – and benefit from – existing collaborations and preliminary datasets already available within the school.


Please send your cv and an expression of interest, that explains both why the proposal appeals and why you are suitable to undertake the research, to Dr Leslie Mabon: l.j.mabon@rgu.ac.uk by noon on 12th June 2017.

Shortlisted candidates will then be invited for interview towards the end of June. Interviews can be carried out through Skype.


For enquiries, in the first instance please contact +0044 (0)1224 263210 or mail l.j.mabon@rgu.ac.uk

For further information on environmental social science research in the School of Applied Social Studies, please see:




Twitter: @csratrgu


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