A woman and a child stand outside a building

Beyond cookstoves and solar lanterns: the role of renewable energy inventions in addressing gender inequality in the displaced setting

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Tuition fees and bursary

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Alison Halford.


Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

Project details

Renewable energy interventions providing affordable and clean energy for displaced people are instrumental in reducing inequities. However, by concentrating on energy inventions traditionally associated with women and the domestic space, such as cookstoves, as a means of reducing gender inequality, humanitarian agencies are potential limiting less visible but more gender-responsive energy interventions.

Drawing upon methods from social science, computer science, and humanitarian engineering, the project will work with camp-based refugee women in Rwanda to identify the factors that facilitate energy interventions having a greater positive impact on their everyday lives. The outcome of the project will be design protocols that support the transition of women and young girls from recipients to equal participants at every stage of energy system design, implementation, data gathering and performance evaluation.

The supervisory team for this project is interdisciplinary (social scientist and engineer) and has networks to aid the delivery of the project and the expertise to mentor an early career researcher. As a result, this PhD will provide the opportunity to undertake collaborative research that addresses real-world problems and make a clear original contribution to knowledge.


Full tuition fees and bursary.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English.  The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

 For further details please visit:  https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-opportunities/research-students/making-an-application/research-entry-criteria/

Additional requirements

This PhD is open to engineers, social scientists, or computer scientists who are prepared to adopt new ways of learning and committed to addressing inequality in access to energy.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Alison Halford.

Details of all available research opportunities at Coventry University can be found via


All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter and a supporting statement (up to 2000 words) showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

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