PhD Project: Modelling Innovation at Water Energy Clothing Nexus

Water energy clothing

Supervisor: Dr Liz Varga

Nascent threats to water, energy, clothing* (WEC) systems are increasingly coming to the fore through competition for land use, production and distribution systems with high levels of emissions, increasing inequality, more frequent extreme weather events and interconnections with food systems. This is placing pressure on the resilience of the global economy, environment and society, exacerbated by the increased rate of discarding clothing, new technologies such as 3D printing, and a greater quantity and variety of waste. Policy makers have also to consider targets to cut carbon emissions and climate change impacts particularly from increasingly imported goods, elevating uncertainties about nexus outcomes.

This research will take a trans-disciplinary approach focusing on the interconnections between disciplines, examining trade-offs and related economic, environmental and societal outcomes. Case study data will be collected to provide examples of low impact WEC systems operating at different scales from micro to macro. There will be several explanations for their success and also innovation potential in other locations or at other scales. The research problem to which this doctoral work will contribute is that of how to step up innovation and demonstrate how the threats to WEC resilience can be alleviated.

There are various opportunities for examining this field of study:

  1. Creating alternative representations of the intersections of WEC systems thus contributing to the definition of WEC Nexus, the understanding of this phenomena and the identification of constructs to explain the condition and its desirability.
  2. Designing a database of WEC global systems which will represent the dynamics of WEC systems, federating data from multiple sources, and identifying patterns in big data, to provide insight into changing patterns of WEC threats.
  3. Co-creating business models with practitioners and academics for stepping up innovation, for example, by diffusion elsewhere at the same scale, larger scale or smaller scale or by growth in the same location, all of these with or without adaptation(s).
  4. Modeling abstracts, rules and algorithms (i.e. business models) demonstrating the potential for stepping up innovation, highlighting new opportunities and barriers to WEC resilience, such as improving unemployment, or increasing poverty.
  5. Simulating the role of alternative international policy decisions to determine the potential for alleviating threats , identifying feedbacks, rebound effects and other influencers to systemic survival.
  6. Examining the transition in various future scenarios, such as population growth, urbanization, rising energy costs, disease affecting raw materials, disrupted supply chains (e.g. climate events, terrorism) and identifying the future scenarios which bring on instabilities most quickly.

These doctoral studies will be related to EPSRC funded project Stepping Up (EP/N00583X/1) providing access to a team of investigators and researchers, and the wider community of projects interested in the WEF Nexus including http://steps-centre.org/engagement/nexus-network/. More broadly this work connects to the supervisor’s global research and projects in complex infrastructure systems, which are large socio-technical systems integrated with the environment and infrastructure (energy, transport, water, waste and telecommunications).

*Clothing is intended to cover the broader area of Textiles, Clothing, Footwear and Leather.

Candidate requirements:

  • Masters in a scientific, mathematical, engineering, urban geography, textiles science or environmental discipline.
  • Motivation to improve societal resilience through reduced emissions or resource consumption whilst recognizing the need for economic viability using novel business models and the need for decision-making for sustainability.
  • Excellent numeracy skills and ability to represent socio-technical systems in models, e.g. using Matlab.
  • Excellent critical thinking and explanatory skills with a desire to work across disciplines, using multiple methods and synthesizing large data sets.
  • Candidates should satisfy Cranfield School of Management admission criteria. Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Expressions of interest alongside a CV are invited via email to liz.varga@cranfield.ac.uk in the first instance. 

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PhD Project: Modelling Innovation at Water Energy Food Nexus

Water energy food

Supervisor: Dr Liz Varga

Threats to water, energy, food (WEF) availability and security are placing pressure on the resilience of the economy, environment and society, due to, amongst other things, over use of land, high levels of emissions, increasing inequality, unhealthy diets, and more frequent extreme weather events. Policy makers have also to consider targets to cut carbon emissions and climate change impacts elevating uncertainties about nexus outcomes. Stakeholders from industry, government and society need support to make good decisions. 

This research will take a trans-disciplinary approach focusing on the interconnections between disciplines, examining trade-offs and related economic, environmental and societal outcomes. Case study data will provide examples of low impact WEF systems operating at different scales from micro to macro. There will be several explanations for their success and also innovation potential in other locations or at other scales. The research problem to which this doctoral work will contribute is that of how to step up innovation and demonstrate how the threats to WEF availability and security can be alleviated. 

There are various opportunities for examining this field of study:

  1. Creating alternative representations of the intersections of WEF systems thus contributing to the definition of WEF Nexus, the understanding of this phenomena and the identification of constructs to explain the condition and its desirability
  2. Designing a database of WEF systems for some or all of the UK which will represent the dynamics of WEF systems, federating data from multiple sources, and identifying patterns in big data, to provide insight into changing patterns of WEF threats.
  3. Co-creating business models with practitioners and academics for stepping up innovation, for example, by diffusion elsewhere at the same scale, larger scale or smaller scale or by growth in the same location, all of these with or without adaptation(s).
  4. Modeling abstracts, rules and algorithms (i.e. business models) demonstrating the potential for stepping up innovation, highlighting new opportunities and barriers to WEF availability and security, such as improving unemployment, or increasing poverty.
  5. Simulating the role of alternative governance structures to determine the potential for alleviating threats , identifying feedbacks, rebound effects and other influencers to systemic survival
  6. Examining the transition in various future scenarios, such as population growth, urbanization, rising energy costs, disrupted supply chains (e.g. climate events, terrorism) and identifying the future scenarios which bring on instabilities most quickly

These doctoral studies will be related to EPSRC funded project Stepping Up (EP/N00583X/1) providing access to a team of investigators and researchers, and the wider community of projects interested in the WEF Nexus including http://steps-centre.org/engagement/nexus-network/. More broadly this work connects to the supervisor’s global research and projects in complex infrastructure systems, which are large socio-technical systems integrated with the environment and infrastructure (energy, transport, water, waste and telecommunications). 

Candidate requirements:

  • Masters in a scientific, mathematical, engineering, urban geography or environmental discipline.
  • Motivation to improve societal resilience through reduced emissions or resource consumption whilst recognizing the need for economic viability using novel business models and the need for decision-making for sustainability.
  • Excellent numeracy skills and ability to represent socio-technical systems in models, e.g. using Matlab.
  • Excellent critical thinking and explanatory skills with a desire to work across disciplines, using multiple methods and synthesizing large data sets.
  • Candidates should satisfy Cranfield School of Management admission criteria. Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Expressions of interest alongside a CV are invited via email to liz.varga@cranfield.ac.uk in the first instance. 

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PhD Project: Food Waste in Qatar

Fresh Food In Garbage Can To Illustrate Waste

Supervisor: Dr Emel Aktas

Applications are invited from potential PhD students with a background in operations research, industrial engineering, logistics and supply chain management.

Cranfield School of Management is leading an exciting research project on food waste in Qatar, with particular focus on waste incurred in the food supply chain due to associated operations as well as demand of customers including the hospitality sector and end-consumers. As part of this research project we invite applications from researchers with exposure to soft and hard operational research methods, including problem structuring and simulation. The research work is expected to have strong elements of quantitative data analysis and modelling. You are expected to provide a research proposal of maximum 20 pages including Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology sections.

If successful, along with your PhD you will be working in an international team of seven unpacking the food waste situation in Qatar from a logistics and supply chain management point of view.

Please contact Dr Emel Aktas with your CV to receive applicant information pack and guidelines for proposal preparation.

Admission requirements:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 (or equivalent) at first degree level is preferred.
  • Candidates should satisfy Cranfield School of Management admission criteria. Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadlines:

  • Funding is available for the project. Deadline for submitting PhD research proposals is 7th August 2015.

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Having been a banker for 15 years, Naif Albaz is researching SMEs and the availability of credit in order to create a sustainable solution for banks and other interested parties. Key to this goal is developing a better understanding of the small business sector and being able to generate a more profitable increase in return on these assets.

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My Cranfield DBA Experience: Sean Fitzpatrick

With only 10-15 years worth of academic study into the topic of measuring employee engagement, Sean Fitzpatrick is aiming to bring some of his business expertise in this area into the academic field and vice versa; to take some of the academic work back out into use within his practice. In 2015 Deloitte identified employee engagement as the number 1 current issue for CEOs worldwide.

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My Cranfield DBA Experience: Frederic Delley

Why is it that when people think about innovative companies, they think of organisations such as Google, Apple, Procter & Gamble, but not of hotels and restaurant chains? Frederic Delley is researching innovation within the hospitality industry – specifically the tension that lies between the franchise model’s struggle for both consistency on one hand and innovation on the other, in order to compete at a global level.

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Andragogy Research Scholarship Opportunity: MSc by Research in Leadership & Management

Brain Power

Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
(Scholarship of Andragogic Learning and Teaching)
MSc Research Scholarship: Master of Science by Research in Leadership and Management

Cranfield University specialises in applied research which shapes our teaching and is converted into practical application of knowledge in Management and Technology. We have a unique Master’s by Research in Leadership and Management opportunity for someone to help us to develop the distinctive scholarship of post-graduate, post-experience learning in adults.

The lack of current research in this emerging field offers exciting opportunities for ground-breaking research, and early indications are that motivations, knowledge acquisition and application are very different from standard pedagogies based on child learners. If so, your research has the potential to transform university education.

You may already be working in education or be considering a role in academia; or you might be in a managerial or learning-related role in industry. Either way, you are interested in management, motivation, leadership and learning. This is not a teaching post, although if that is part of your planned career path opportunities to gain academic experience may be available to the right candidate.

Working closely with our new Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills, your research will push forward the boundaries of our understanding about how adults learn; your results will demonstrate how to maximise learning and could be published in scholarly journals as well as influencing the learning and teaching practices in higher education. You will join a cohort of research students in our world-leading School of Management and be given training in academic research methods appropriate to your research needs, and you will work directly with students and academics across various themes within the University.

A scholarship of up to full UK/EU fees is available. Note that this scholarship does not provide funding for living expenses or other costs.

Possible research topics include:

  1. What is Cranfield’s signature andragogy?
    Cranfield University is unique in the UK in delivering exclusively post-graduate higher education that focuses on Technology and Management. Cranfield’s andragogic approach emphasises adult learners taking responsibility for their own, self-directed learning so that they can maximise their previous experiences and can follow their own particular interests. Our Scholarship in Andragogic Learning and Teaching will provide robust research to underpin our students’ learning experiences. Possible examples are shown below.Many of Cranfield’s Master’s level courses include a Group Project which develops an international community of practice for the learner, and establishes a testing ground for the individualised industrial research project that follows. The establishment of project teams is one aspect of Cranfield’s signature andragogy that may be investigated. The ways that the teams are selected, the induction, development and presentation of the group project, and the learning taken from this into the following project may occur in a variety of ways within the different Schools but more information is needed about the range of models that are used, and the benefits and disadvantages of each.These team projects give each student an opportunity to learn a variety of skills that could help to manage a later individual project that may be written up as a dissertation or thesis or paper for assessment.

    Research Question: What factors – including team formation, project type, and supervisor interaction – influence the success of the later individual project? This may involve looking at how teams are formed for a variety of courses, the range of skills that the team experience develops for the individual, and the way these skills are used in the following individual project.

  2. Andragogy and new developments in Learning and Teaching
    Course Directors are asked to identify new developments in Learning and Teaching that are worthy of being shared across the University when they complete their Annual Reflective Review each year.Objectives of the project: to look at new developments in Learning and Teaching that are identified within Cranfield’s Annual Reflective Review to see the extent of new Andragogic practices that can be shared, and how we can categorise other areas of good practice that improve the student experience.Proposed Research Question: What proportion of new developments in Learning and Teaching are identified as Andragogic practices? Does this mean that Andragogic practices are not used, or that they are not considered as new? If other areas of good practice are identified, how can we categorise these, so that we can find out more about using them to improve the student experience.

    Suggested methodology: Desk analysis (from School Digests and Course Annual Reflective Reviews) to identify good practice as cited by Directors of Education and Course Directors. Further investigations (including discussions with Course Directors and observations) lead to analysis of typologies with a view to organising workshops/presentations for academic staff to share the range of new developments. Presentations may be recorded or developed as short Explaining Everything clips or as Technology Enhanced Learning modules to be made available to staff.

  1. Developing the Reflective Practitioner

Objectives of the project: To establish an assessment framework based on the characteristics and potential development of the Reflective Practitioner through

  • a literature review (highlighting sources of information on characteristics of reflection and reflective practice)
  • summarising the characteristics of a Reflective Practitioner (in an Introductory Guide to the Reflective Practitioner (e.g. power-point slides/Explain Everything)
  • developing the outline of a TEL Unit (preparing for a workshop to develop reflective practice)
  • constructing and piloting an assessment framework (which includes the transformational impact of becoming a reflective practitioner) that can be used across disciplines / Schools (i.e. without subject-specific content).

Proposed Research Questions: What are the characteristics of a reflective practitioner? How can these characteristics be developed? Can this be structured to create a framework to assess development of the reflective practitioner?

Suggested methodology: a brief review of literature: to ascertain criteria for building the levels of an assessment framework and to provide a database of additional reference materials; development and piloting of an introductory guide and unit on Developing the Reflective Practitioner, and piloting the assessment framework.

  1. Kolb updated and applied

Objectives of the Project: Kolb’s learning cycle is well known and widely cited. The learning cycle proposes that learning takes place through a process of experiencing, reflecting, monitoring, and re-engaging. This project would explore how andragogic thinking and research has developed since Kolb proposed the learning cycle, how it works in practice and whether there are alternative approaches; and would conduct a field experiment to compare Kolb’s approach with an alternative approach.

Proposed Research Question: What new learning methods have developed from Kolb’s learning cycle and what are their perceived advantages?

Suggested methodology: a review of literature to identify the development of andragogic learning and practice, and to provide a short-list of potential learning methods, including double-loop learning (Argyris and Schön, 1978)[1]; followed by a field experiment based on the development and testing of comparative / alternative approaches.

Admission requirements:

  • a strong first degree (UK level 2.1 minimum)
  • Candidates should satisfy Cranfield School of Management admission criteria. Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadline for applications: 31st July 2015.

Expressions of interest, alongside a CV, are invited via email to
m.fisher@cranfield.ac.uk in the first instance.

———–

[1] Argyris, C. & Schӧn, D.A. (1978) Organisational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

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My PhD experience: Tahiru Liedong

Cranfield PhD Researcher, Tahiru Liedong talks about his research into business-government relationships and their impact on firm performance. Tahiru shares the reasons he came to Cranfield and his experience so far.

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