Materialising policy options in spaces for experimentation and learning for climate transition

Recruiting university

University of the Arts London (UAL), London (UK)

Main supervisor

Dr Lara Salinas, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, London (UK)


Prof Adam Thorpe, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London (UK)

Other co-supervisors/mentors and organisations

Dr Carolina Giraldo (Climate KIC, Denmark) (mentor); Carlos Queremel (London Borough of Camden, UK) (mentor); Tom Sharland (London Borough of Southwark, UK) (mentor); Prof. Trisha Meyer (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) (co-supervisor).


36 months

Required profile

Master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree or extensive professional experience) in a design or political science or related fields. A strong design orientation is required; previous experience with participatory methods and action research, public governance and sustainability or transition concepts will be an advantage.

Researcher’s mentality

A research-oriented attitude, open-minded, curious, enthusiastic, with a working style that is driven by theory and practice, proactive, analytic, and empathetic. Capable of working independently, and likes to work in a team, good organizational and communication skills.

Desired skills

Due to the collaborative, multi-stakeholder and transdisciplinary nature of this project, the doctoral candidate should have excellent soft skills to work closely with people from other disciplines and across organizations, as well as communication, facilitation, organizational and project management skills. A mastery of spoken and written English is required.


This doctoral research aims 1) to integrate current theories and frameworks in studies of co-design, transitions design, political science and design for policy; 2) to produce, test and critically assess design artefacts, media and workshops to understand the potential for their deployment and use in local government-citizen engagements in the context of experimentation and learning towards climate transitions (practice research) and 3) to produce a conceptual framework to inform future use of creative design approaches in local government-citizen engagements for experimentation and learning towards climate transitions.

The research expected results include 1) validated creative approaches in the context of climate transitions; 2) framework summarising capabilities for materialising policy options towards experimentation for climate solutions for local government.


The doctoral research will involve study of current theories and practices regarding just climate transitions. This will involve in-depth review of current literature and practice, with the objective to integrate knowledge across disciplinary fields. More specifically, this will involve analysing co-design, transitions design, political science and design for policy literature and practices.

Practice research will include design and/or testing related to transitions and futures with residents and local governments. Case study methodology will involve a deep study of a selection of relevant cases (including from secondment organisations), which may be ongoing longitudinal cases, historical or ‘live’ projects. Document analysis, qualitative methods and design may be employed to shed light on whether and how such theories and practices may impact just climate transitions.


Climate KIC, Copenhagen, Denmark, supported by mentor Dr Carolina Giraldo (3 months);
London Borough of Camden, London, UK (6 months). This will focus on reviewing the results of the Somers Town Future Neighbourhoods action research supported by mentor Carlos Queremel and to support routes to policy implementation linked to iterative development of the council’s Climate Action Plan, supported by mentor Tom Sharland.

What’s special about the host department/university?

University of the Arts London (UAL) is a large and highly reputed specialist university formed of 6 historic London art and design colleges including London College of Communication (LCC) and Central Saint Martins (CSM). UAL’s profile includes research and knowledge exchange that is both academically rigorous and that has social purpose. Design research in relevant networks and groups at UAL (including Service Design Future Lab at LCC and Public Collaboration Lab at CSM) excels in transdisciplinary subjects such as ‘public design’, ‘design for policy’ and ‘sustainability’. The successful doctoral candidate is expected to live in London and to contribute to the academic profile of UAL/LCC including relevant research networks within the university and the CoDesign4Transitions network. Secondments may involve travel as well as remote work. Collaboration between doctoral candidates, organizations, sectors and countries is crucial to the research programme, thus the doctoral candidate is expected to be willing to travel locally and internationally.

Gross salary

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher. The annual funding available to the University of the Arts London for this position DC12 is £53,404.08. Please note: this is not the gross annual salary for the candidate. This figure refers to the total amount of funding available to the university that will hire the doctoral candidate, taking into account the living and mobility allowance funding from the EU MSCA as well as national laws. Applicants should be aware that their annual gross salary may well be significantly less than this amount, once the university has covered costs they incur such as pension and national insurance, subject to national laws. The annual gross salary the candidate receives will also be subject to tax, employment and pension deductions, depending on national employment laws.

According to the indications of the MSCA-DN program, the above amount may be increased by 660€ per month for researchers with family obligations.

This doctoral position is funded by UK Research and Innovation.