My Research: Dr Jo Ferrie

My PhD was funded by the ESRC and was a CASE scholarship comparable to the Collaborative Studentships available now, and examined whether the Disability Discrimination Act was having any (positive or negative) impact on schools in Scotland. I graduated in 2008.  The project itself found that there was little positive impact on schools because of weaknesses in the terms of the DDA which allowed the disability movement, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and later the Equality and Human Rights Commission to campaign for stronger law which emerged (though not as well as campaigners would have liked) in the Equality Act 2010. I used a mixed method design of large surveys and quantitative analysis, interviews and analysis of key local authority publications and this plurality in approach has impacted massively on what I now teach: running the Graduate Training Programme in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

The collaborative element of the studentship was massively important for me. For one day a week I worked with the DRC, and in return their Director was a third supervisor on my PhD throughout the process. The research question was developed in partnership with the DRC and this gave me enormous insight into how you make academic research useful, relevant and current. In addition to the large 4 year project, I also worked on much smaller research projects commissioned by the DRC. These were fantastic for giving me short-term goals, regular achievements that motivated me to focus on the long-term thesis, and allowed me to chart some impact. I still have strong links with the people I met during my placement with the DRC and am currently developing a research project with a former-colleague. It means that now, as an academic, I have direct links to people who can affect policy, impact on parliamentary debates and discussions and keep up to date with key policy movements in the field. At a couple of points in my career I have been offered employment opportunities via these networks. I’m lucky enough to have been always employed by a University but knowing I have other options is really reassuring.

My Research : Kirsten Jenkins

University: University of St Andrews

Funding Source: 1+3 ESRC Studentship


Title: "Discourses of Energy Systems Justice: The Case of Nuclear Energy"

Energy justice, the subject of my PhD, aims to provide all individuals, across all areas, with safe, affordable and sustainable energy. However, the full extent and diversity of justice implications within the energy system is currently neglected. Thus, borrowing from and advancing this framework, my research explores how energy justice is being articulated throughout the nuclear energy system at the stages of uranium mining, energy production and waste. In doing so, it serves as an indicative representation of energy justice in practice. Early findings demonstrate that justice claims vary extensively between actor, location and systems component as the result of differing priorities, desires, understandings, and formations of justice within each group and sector. As such, my work argues that the current framework for energy justice is insufficient to explain justice manifestations.

I see this research as having impact in three ways; firstly, the results contribute to the theoretical concept of energy justice as an emerging field of research. Secondly, it has impact for the groups I engage with. In working with policy groups, NGOs and industry organisations, my work provides the opportunity not only to expose them to the concept of energy justice, but to create dialogues between previously disparate groups, whether that’s allowing lessons to be shared between Canada and the UK, or between groups in each respective country. Latterly, there’s the impact on me personally, as I not only develop my efficacy as a researcher but also develop my enthusiasm for the subject area and contemplate future careers. 

Last updated 16 Oct 2015 12:06pm