Student Opportunities

Below are a few recent EESG-related undergraduate and graduate postings both within and beyond the field of Geography. 

Funded graduate research opportunities in the social and spatial dimensions of energy transition
Dr. Kirby Calvert, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Our global energy system is in the early stages of a structural transition away from ‘below ground energy’ (coal, oil, natural gas) and toward ‘above ground energy’ including solar, wind, biomass, and other forms of renewable energy. Are you interested in developing advanced knowledge and skills to contribute to, and help manage, this energy transition? If yes, you should consider joining a dynamic team of researchers at the University of Guelph who are combining rigorous academic analysis with community engaged, applied research. The group is advised by Dr. Kirby Calvert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. For a 2019 start date, there are opportunities to join the following fully-funded research projects (in no particular order of significance):  

  1. Spatial analysis of land-suitability for renewable energy development using geographic information systems. We model different policy and technology scenarios in order to provide decision-support for the integration of energy planning and land-use planning for municipalities and regional planners. This will help to ensure that we capture the benefits, but minimize the impacts, of renewable energy development on the land-based services that rural areas already provide (e.g., food, wildlife habitat, recreation/tourism). 
  2. Participatory mapping in geographic information systems to engage with communities and better understand their objections / opposition to renewable energy development. Our aim is to develop processes for community involvement in energy planning, while improving urban-rural relations as the transition to renewables continues to unfold. 
  3. Discourse analysis and stakeholder interviews to study the social and governance dimensions of renewable energy development in emerging grape-and-wine regions. This will provide insight into the unique barriers and opportunities for renewable energy development in ‘high amenity’ (i.e., tourism-based) landscapes more generally.
  4. Qualitative policy analysis to examine the changing relationship between land-use planning and energy planning in the context of renewable energy development. 

In addition to building core academic competencies, researchers working through Dr. Calvert's group have opportunities to connect directly to community and provincial energy planning activities. Dr. Calvert is Co-Director of the Community Energy Knowledge-Action Partnership (www.cekap.ca), which is a national partnership of Canadian universities, municipalities, and civil society organizations with a shared interest in community energy plans. He is also co-Chair of Our Energy Guelph (www.ourenergyguelph.ca) which is a community organization that works with the City of Guelph to help facilitate positive change in the way we produce and use energy in the community.

We will be accepting applications for prospective Masters and PhD students – PhD students would have the opportunity to work at the overlap across the projects described above, and / or build their own research program from one project. Applicants should have a background in geography, planning, environmental studies, resource management, energy policy, or related fields. Please send expressions of interest including (1) an up-to-date resume or CV; (2) an unofficial transcript; (3) a brief rationale of your interest in the project; and (4) a sample of your work / writing to Dr. Calvert at calvertk@uoguelph.ca


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