Economic and Social Justice for Vulnerable Groups

Project reference number: GSBS-S2018-010-Houston

Although the Scottish Government aimed to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, presently around 25% of households are categorised as fuel poor. A failure to realise this political goal has necessitated the identification of a roadmap to ensure key stakeholders work together more effectively. Although data from key stakeholders will inform a renewed policy, the voice of vulnerable consumers is not always as evident as policy makers and energy providers.

A body of work which studies aspects of fuel poverty exists. This includes quantitative and qualitative data evidencing negative impacts on vulnerable groups including gender issues, mental health matters related to poor living standards and personal debt. To date there is little evidence of its impact on individual lives through personal testimonies from those involved.

Aim and research impact

This research aims to identify and assess the experiences of vulnerable groups and individuals with regard to fuel poverty. The impact of the results could inform future policy decision-making and initiatives through an evidence based approach to individual experiences of fuel poverty. Consequently, the personal nature of qualitative data gained from this study could drive debate and inform not only the roadmap to effective policy but also other key stakeholder decisions. Key themes of the work would include analysis of consumer detriment of fuel poverty with regard to gender issues and vulnerable groups.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October 2018 start is 1st of July 2018.

Research supervisor

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Mode of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time;
  • 1 + 3 route to Phd: Undertaking MRes, 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time + PhD as above


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful applicant will normally be someone with a background in economics and/or social sciences or alternatively business related subjects with an interest in researching vulnerable groups and/or domestic energy markets.