Economics/Climate Change PhD Studentship, UK

Deadline: 2 May 2013
Open to: candidates who fulfill the entrance requirements for the University of Bath Department for Economics MPhil and PhD with a strong understanding of mathematics
Scholarship: £14,000 per-annum stipend, Home/EU or Overseas tuition fees and an annual Training Support Grant


The University of Bath is inviting applications for a full-time University studentship to support and work in the Department of Economics, alongside Professor Michael Finus and colleagues in the Department. 

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world is currently facing. Despite the Kyoto Protocol being signed by 38 countries in 1997, it is clear that many more mitigation and adaptation measures must be implemented in order to avoid the most dramatic impacts of global warming.

Global policy coordination and cooperation is desperately needed in order to design an effective and comprehensive climate agreement succeeding the Kyoto Protocol which ceased in 2012. To date, despite substantial internal policy efforts, negotiations have failed. Fighting global warming is costly, participation in a climate treaty is voluntary and compliance is difficult to enforce.

The USA, the largest current emitter of greenhouse gases, plus China and India, the new emerging big polluters have offered insufficient concessions to other nations, thus effectively blocking a global deal. The significant uncertainties surrounding climate change (including the extent of environmental damages and the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation) do not make negotiations any easier.

The objective of this research project is to develop a better understanding of how uncertainty and risk affect international negotiations on climate change. The aim will be to provide evidence based advice on how treaties have to be designed in order to make progress.

Important questions related to this research are for instance:

  • How can we make it more attractive for countries to join a future climate treaty in the light of huge scientific and economic uncertainties?
  • Do we need new international institutions to coordinate climate change policy or should we rely on existing institutions, like the World Bank or the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?
  • Should we delay implementing stricter environmental policy in order to benefit from more information and possible cheaper abatement options in the future? Or should we follow a stricter environmental policy in the sense of the precautionary principle to avoid risks with a possible catastrophic dimension?
  • Which financial market instruments and insurance contracts are available to hedge against future risks? Can they also play a role in international climate change negotiations?

The project will further develop existing (static) game theoretic models to capture the dynamic nature of global warming and the formation of agreements; new ways of modelling learning in a stochastic environment, including the possibility of investment in R&D in order to reduce uncertainty, in the light of possible thresholds and regime shifts in climate change.

This prestigious scholarship has been made possible by the generous support of Economics, Computing and Statistics alumnus, Mike Ashworth. If successful, you will be supported for three years, and will include a £14,000 per-annum stipend, Home/EU or Overseas tuition fees and an annual Training Support Grant. Terms and conditions and details of other Awards can be found on the Graduate School website HEREAdditional funding for attending conferences, workshops and training sessions will also be available.


The successful candidate should:

  • Fulfill the entrance requirements for the Department for Economics MPhil and PhD.
  • Have a strong understanding of mathematics (in particular dynamic optimisation and game theory, and computer simulations as the analysis will have to be based on dynamic simulation methods where uncertainty and sensitivity analyses will be based on Monte Carlo Simulation Techniques).
  • A strong interest in theoretical work is also required.
  • Students with a background in physics, chemistry and engineering and related fields are also encouraged to apply.


The closing date for the receipt of applications is 12.00 noon (GMT), Thursday 2 May 2013. You should apply online to study for a full-time MPhil/PhD in Economics. It is important to quote the project title (see above) on your application.

As this studentship is to work on a specific project, there is no need to write a formal proposal. The application will also ask you to complete a funding request form. Use this to explain your experience and reasons for applying for this studentship.

You must also apply specifically for this funding, including the need to complete the Funding Proforma in which you must outline your motivation for wanting to undertake research and a brief outline of your initial thoughts on the area of research (maximum 500 words).

Informal inquiries should be addressed to Professor Michael Finus at For more information, please see the original website HERE.

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