New PhD position: Delivering Climate Action at the City Scale

Co-funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the University of Manchester, this project supports the development of the city region’s next 5 Year Environment Plan in a critical decade for climate action. This project will lead to an improved understanding and application of carbon mitigation action at the city region scale. It will review the development process, content and outcomes associated with the current plan and devise and deliver an approach to accelerating emission reductions in Greater Manchester, collaboratively with the GMCA and wider stakeholders in the city region. Details of the current plan can be found here:

The analysis will review climate action plans and processes in other UK and international cities drawing on an understanding of carbon accounting, energy system change and climate change mitigation policy. Working closely with GMCA, the project will support the development of a climate action plan for 2024-2029 with stakeholders from across the city region and beyond e.g. energy network providers, industry, public sector, NGOs etc.

Research objectives

• Review city-scale decarbonisation plans and literature to identify common issues and best practices in plan development, metrics and measurement, delivery and monitoring.

• Review the existing 5 Year Environment Plan process, content and outcomes to evaluate capacity for meeting GMCA’s carbon budget goals.

• Test the findings of this review with a range of stakeholders.

• Develop and iterate a process for developing a new plan with associated detailed carbon budgets and impact Key Priority Indicators (KPIs).

• Co-ordinate the development of the 2024-2029 plan collaboratively with GMCA colleagues and key stakeholders.

• Develop a monitoring and evaluation framework that links multiple datasets to enable evidence-based mitigation

• Evaluate the plan development process and identify transferable lessons across governance, technical, social and economic aspects.


In addition to an academic thesis and journal papers, this project will deliver:

• A report on best practice and common issues for city level climate action, with analysis of transferable insights for Greater Manchester and a proposal for taking these forward locally.

• A co-productive process with key stakeholders and support for the delivery of this process to coordinate, create and publish the next 5 Year Environment Plan, including quantified carbon reduction measures and targets and other indicators.

• An evaluation of the process and transferable insights for future iterations/other jurisdictions.

• Distilled outputs throughout the project for knowledge exchange with various stakeholders and communities involved in co-production.

The successful candidate will benefit from being part of both the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation, two world-leading centres for interdisciplinary climate change research. The successful candidate will have access to unrivalled specialist expertise and opportunities to develop transferable skills and enhance their future employability. In addition, the University of Manchester offers an extensive training and development package to support the effective completion of a PhD.

Candidates should have a good first degree in a relevant subject with good written and analytical skills. Candidates should have educational, project or work experience relating to city level climate action/interventions/projects. A demonstrable ability to integrate diverse forms of information is essential, evidenced knowledge of energy system transitions and carbon accounting is required. Knowledge of sub-national climate governance approaches would be beneficial. Additional University of Manchester entry requirements for PhD research degrees can be found at:

Candidate will ideally start asap in 2022. Please send a CV and cover letter to  before making a full application through the University of Manchester.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder), carer support funds for conferences, and peer support networks for parents and carers.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

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