Skip to main content

This job has expired

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Durham university invites applications for a one-year Post-Doctoral Research position to work on energy poverty and vulnerability in the UK and internationally. The post is funded under the auspices of two Norwegian Research Council funded projects, ‘Powerpoor’ and ‘Include’. The researcher will be based at Durham University.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference in people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Anthropology Department at Durham University has an outstanding international reputation for teaching, research and student employability. We are one of the largest Anthropology Departments in the UK, with nearly 40 permanent academic staff working across social, evolutionary and health anthropology. We provide an intellectually inclusive environment, fostering the academic freedom and confidence to work at both the core and boundaries of anthropology in exciting and innovative ways. The Department of Anthropology has a vibrant research culture, with many visitors, seminars, global conferences and workshops. We provide an intellectually inclusive environment, fostering the academic freedom and confidence to work at both the core and boundaries of anthropology in exciting and innovative ways.

Above all, we are an inclusive Department; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of everything we do. We have signed up to the Race Equality Charter, a national framework for improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. We have a very active decolonisation group (DAWG – Decolonising Anthropology Working Group), bringing together students and staff.

The Role

The role includes work on two research projects where Durham University is a partner to research funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The projects are led by colleagues at the university of Oslo (‘Include’) and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (‘Powerpoor’) and managed at Durham University by Professor Simone Abram.

The Include Research Centre for Socially Inclusive Energy Transitions (Include) is a research centre that produces knowledge about how to realise a socially just low-carbon society through socially inclusive processes and in close collaboration between researchers and partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Include is hosted by the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo (UiO). Include has six research partners – five in in Norway and Durham University in the UK – and 23 additional partners in Norway. (see )

PowerPoor is the first research project to systematically investigate energy poverty (EP) in the Norwegian context in comparison with the UK and other countries, with EP linked to the energy transition. The project addresses an issue that recently entered the Norwegian agenda, but which is in dire need of sound research for evidence-based knowledge and solutions. The four-year project is led by Dr. Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, the leading research institute on climate and energy management in Europe.

Using a combination of EP literature perspectives and energy justice theory, along with comparisons with the UK and elsewhere, the PowerPoor project will: define and develop metrics for measuring EP adapted to Norway, as well as analysing causes for EP in Norway; map and analyse the experiences and responses of EP households; map and analyse policy responses and measures addressing EP, the policy processes and effects of these; and analyse the impact of EP and perceptions of a fair and just transition, on barriers to the energy transition; and synthesise our results. The project uses integrated mixed-methods of qualitative interviews and document analysis, in combination with world-class quantitative data at the household level and surveys. The combination of sound academic research, involvement of strategic user partners, and an interdisciplinary project will ensure significant impact. PowerPoor aims to use the ongoing Include Research Centre to become a research hub for EP, and to inform and define public administration work on EP in the years to come.

Your role in this project will be to map UK policy on energy vulnerability and its effects, for comparative purposes, and to work with National Energy Action (NEA) to conduct empirical research on energy retrofitting and policy responses. You will work directly for Professor Simone Abram in the department of Anthropology. The position is funded for 12 months.

Responsibilities :
  • To carry out a review of key current regulation and policy relevant to Energy Poverty/vulnerability in the UK.
  • To work with NEA to design and conduct empirical research on energy retrofitting to address energy vulnerabilities.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by attending relevant training and development courses.
This post is fixed-term for 12 months based on the available funding from the Norwegian Research Council.

The post-holder is employed to work on a research project which will be led by another colleague. The expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by June 2024 and interviews will be held on the 28th May 2024


For informal enquiries please contact Professor Simone Abram ( All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. . As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

Working at Durham

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:

• 30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.
• The University closes between Christmas and New Year – please include or delete if not applicable.
• We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
• No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered. We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
• There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally. There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University. All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.
• Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
• On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
• Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
• The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community
• Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.
• A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.
• If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools. If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key component of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. We also live by our Purpose and Values and our Staff Code of Conduct. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all colleagues undertake activities that are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented in our work force, including people with disabilities and from racially minoritised ethnic groups.

If you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on the volume and recency of your research outputs and other activities, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application. The selection committee will take this into account when evaluating your application.

The University has been awarded the Disability Confident Employer status. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

Contact Information

Department contact for academic-related enquiries

For information about the role, please contact

Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application

If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email. Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to

Alternatively, you may call 0191 334 6801 from the UK, or +44 191 334 6801 from outside the UK. This number operates during the hours of 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday, UK time. We will normally respond within one working day (Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays).

University contact for general queries about the recruitment process

How to Apply

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification below. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.

Submitting your application

We prefer to receive applications online. We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:
  • a CV and cover letter which details your experience, skills, and achievements in meeting (or the potential to meet) the criteria set out below.
  • A copy of 2 relevant publications (co/)authored by the applicant.
Next Steps

Short-listed candidates will be invited to the University, either virtually or in-person and will have the opportunity to meet key members of the Department. The assessment for the post will normally include an interview and we anticipate that the assessments and interviews will take place in or around mid-April.

In the event that you are unable to attend in person on the date offered, it may not be possible to offer you an interview on an alternative date.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

Qualifications :

The Requirements


  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Social Anthropology, Sociology, Human Geography, Social Policy or qualitative social science.

  • Experience in conducting high-quality academic qualitative (preferably ethnographic) research from inception to publication, including online and in-person methods.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national/international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Ability to analyse regulatory and policy materials.
  • Familiarity with infrastructure research literatures.
  • Experience of inter-disciplinary research, including the ability to communicate across disciplinary field.
  • Experience of working collaboratively with non-university partners, in particular local authorities and community organisations.
  • Familiarity with energy poverty policy in the UK.

  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines, and in cooperation with peers and senior colleagues.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of comparative international research.
  • Knowledge of/experience of a research field relating to geothermal, abandoned mines and mining communities.
  • Familiarity with post-mining issues.

  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.
  • Ability to organise multi-party workshops for research and impact.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert