Postdoc in Energy Vulnerability coming soon…

[Updated 09/08/2022 with revised dates]
Next week on the 16th August, a job advert will be go live to replace a current researcher in our team who has been successful in securing a permanent lectureship elsewhere. Unfortunately it will have a very short application window (4th September) due to reasons outside of my control relating to UoB changing over recruitment systems, so I’m circulating the details now to help people get a headstart. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions!


We are seeking to appoint a Research Fellow in Energy Vulnerability to work on an exciting international project, ESLatinA – Energy Solidarity in Latin America: generating inclusive knowledge and governance to address energy vulnerability and energy systems resilience.

Funded through the prestigious Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), ESLatinA responds to the urgent need for comprehensive and inclusive understanding, evidence and governance capacity on energy vulnerability in Latin America, with an in-depth focus on Colombia, Cuba and Mexico.

Led by the University of Birmingham, the project unites researchers and practitioners from the Central University of Las Villas (Cuba); University of the North (Colombia); National Autonomous University of Mexico; Technical University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca (Mexico); Onergia (Mexico); Energy Ombudsman Mexico; and The College of the Northern Border (Mexico). Our aim is to bring about systemic change for energy vulnerability alleviation, whilst simultaneously enhancing energy system resilience, and fostering energy solidarity, to maximise social welfare and equitable development.

Job Purpose

The Research Fellow will work closely with the Principal Investigator Dr Harriet Thomson across the ESLatinA project. This includes: collecting original data via field research, focus groups, household surveys and other techniques; transcribing, coding, and analysing this data; the writing of policy briefs and toolkits; the publication of academic outputs; coordinating with research partners in different countries; facilitating international networking; producing national and local action plans; other research assistance as needed.

Main Responsibilities

  • Conducting mixed methods research, with a key focus on qualitative approaches such as participatory workshops
  • Analysing and interpreting research findings and results
  • Managing relationships between project partners in different countries
  • Disseminating research findings for academic, policy and non-academic audiences
  • Facilitating international network activities of the Red de Energías Solidarias
  • Contributing to writing bids for research funding
  • Interacting with the School of Social Policy, through participation in research seminars and occasional guest lecturing on relevant topics

This research will inform targeted energy policy interventions across Latin America.

Person Specification 

Essential criteria for the position are:

  • A PhD (or soon to be obtained) in energy and environmental studies, social and public policy, human geography, or a related area
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish
  • Willingness to travel for fieldwork (at up to 2-3 weeks at a time), project meetings and conferences, subject to COVID-19 restrictions
  • The analytical skills or experience necessary to apply existing concepts and theories relating to social justice, energy poverty, energy vulnerability, and/or energy resilience
  • Strong knowledge and experience in qualitative techniques such as field research, interviewing, and/or participatory workshop facilitation
  • Ability to work individually on own initiative and without close supervision, and as part of a team juggling competing perspectives and timelines
  • Experience working in multidisciplinary teams, and/or discipline hopping
  • Evidence of the ability to communicate effectively to academic, policy and non-academic audiences

Desirable criteria are:

  • Experience of working in Latin America on energy issues
  • Knowledge of energy systems in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and the wider region
  • Familiarity with people-centred frameworks, such as the Capabilities Approach
  • Understanding of energy systems modelling, and experience of using tools such as LEAP
  • Evidence of managing and organising international teams and networks

Key details

Fixed Term Contract for 1 year up to October 2023 (potential for extension – we are awaiting confirmation from the funder). This is a full time role but part time working and job shares can be negotiated.

Due to funding restrictions, the starting salary available for this post will be £31,406 to £33,309.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. You will be required to upload a CV and supporting statement, and to answer two questions:

  • In the project, we are co-developing an understanding of the term ‘energy solidarity’. In your own words, without looking it up or using academic references, what does the term ‘energy solidarity’ evoke? (Up to 150 words)
  • Please go to the Latinobarometro website, and using their ‘Online Analysis’ tool, find and tell us about an energy-related statistic. Tell us why you find it interesting. You can choose any of the countries and any year before 2020. Please try to spend no more than 30 minutes on this. This is not a test and there is no right or wrong answer, rather it is a way for us to get to know you and what you find curious. (100 words)

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