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Student Vacation Research Assistant: Rethinking the split-incentives of investment in energy efficiency and conservation in commercial buildings to provoke cost and carbon savings - Open to current University of Worcester students only*

Research Assistantships provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV.


Current research
Current research investigates influences of UK commercial buildings’ tenancy structures (rented/leased/owner-occupied) on ability/willingness of building owners and tenants to adopt energy efficiency and conservation (EEC) interventions that save money and mitigate climate change by cutting carbon emissions.

This research has : 

  • Generated publications; book, book chapter, 2 conference papers plus article awaiting publication.
  • Been accepted for World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation (September 2017)• Published Energy, Ownership and Impacts Framework, a new tool driving bespoke EEC initiatives
  • Challenged validity of UK energy policy structured around expectations of rational economic responses to market controls
  • Generated links between UW and Worcestershire County Council (WCC) LCOP/BEEP energy efficiency programmes enabling research impact assessment and collaboration.

How the project fits with current research

Data collected through VRAS (2016) identified further research opportunities; split-incentives of commercial building tenure . Findings highlighted the scope of split-incentives extends beyond financial disincentives for EEC and identified their previously unrecognised practical and attitudinal barriers to change. Split-incentives may be more influential in driving SMEs’ energy-inertia than previously estimated and thwart Local/National Government EEC initiatives, the key climate change mitigation tools. This project re-applies original survey/interview processes to develop more detailed understandings of the scope/impact of split-incentives and linkages between them and SMEs’ energy-inertia. This new knowledge will inform alternative initiatives to enhance SMEs’ adoption of financially beneficial EEC interventions and support climate change mitigation.

Aims and objectives of the project

This project aims to redefine the scope/impact of split-incentives to inform development of tailored financial/non-financial incentives to drive energy consumption and carbon emission reduction. The following objectives will support delivery of the project aim:

  • Identify/recruit 30 participants 
  • Obtain survey responses from 30 participants 
  • Conduct 4 interviews (2 building owners and a tenant of each) exploring split-incentives from both sides of the tenancy relationship/contract.

* Please note that this post is open only to students completing the penultimate or final year of an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) at the University of Worcester or partner institutions;
Students completing, or who have completed, an undergraduate degree at another university (with 1st or 2:1 predicted/achieved) who are about to commence postgraduate studies at the University of Worcester.

Closing date: Wednesday 31 May 2017

Reference number: STUVRA1711 - 2010

Job details

Job details

£8.44 per hour, plus £1.18 per hour holiday pay
Up to 37 hours per week
4 weeks full time (1.0 FTE) or part time equivalent (e.g. 8 weeks at 0.5 FTE)
Responsible to
Dr Kay Emblen-Perry
Responsible for
Interview date

Worcester Business School

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The University of Worcester is funding 20 Vacation Research Assistantships for the summer of 2017. These Research Assistantships will provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV. These are prestigious awards, marking out a student as a future researcher and potential academic. In addition, this scheme provides UW staff leading on a research project with invaluable support in taking the project forward and experience of supporting and developing a young researcher.

On completion of the project, the supervisor and student must complete a report providing the following information: 

  • Objectives set
  • Objectives met
  • Methods employed
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • Outputs
  • Benefits to the student including training undertaken, skills developed, etc.
Main duties

Main duties

  • Identifying potential participants for the survey and interviews
  • Recruiting interviewees and conducting interviews
  • Recruiting survey participants and providing them access to the online survey or hard copy survey documents
  • Following up responses 
  • Creating and maintaining a simple data storage system to protect and collate responses to the surveys        

*Maintain personal and professional development to meet the changing demands of the job; participate in appropriate training activities and encourage and support staff in their development and training.

*Take steps to ensure and enhance personal health, safety and well being and that of other staff and students.

*Carry out these duties in a manner that promotes equality of opportunity and supports diversity and inclusion, and takes into account the University's commitment to environmentally sustainable ways of working.

Person specification

Person specification


  1. Confident with face to face, email and telephone communication
  2. Good IT knowledge and skills
  3. Independent workers able to plan, organise a complex project
  4. Good understanding of the research process
  5. Ability to prioritise actions and manage time effectively


  1. An interest in energy efficiency


Applications from Non EEA Workers:

Prospective applicants are advised to ensure that they are eligible to work in the UK without restriction.Prospective applicants in points-based system immigration routes should assess their circumstances against the published criteria, which are set out on the GOV.UK website at

Visit for more information on how you can use a qualification from outside the UK to meet the requirements of the immigration rules.

Unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs

The University is strongly committed to the fair treatment of its staff and potential staff, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibility for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.

In line with the University's policy on the Recruitment of People with a Criminal Record, shortlisted candidates are required to provide information of any unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs. Applicants are advised to seek independent advice if there is any doubt about the status of a previous conviction, caution or bind-over. Disclosures will only be considered at the point when an offer of employment is made. The existence of a criminal record will not in itself prevent you from gaining employment.This is a description of the job as it is presently constituted.

This job description is intended to enable a flexible approach to be offered working across the University as required. It is subject to review and amendment in the light of changing needs of the University and to provide appropriate development opportunities. Members of staff are expected to participate fully in discussions about changing requirements and it is the University's aim to reach agreement to reasonable change. If agreement is not possible, it reserves the right to require changes to the job description after consultation with the individual concerned.

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