Postgraduate research opportunities How does an ageing population impact the Energy transition?


Key facts

  • Opens: Wednesday 6 March 2024
  • Deadline: Tuesday 30 April 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


This project will investigate the relationship between population ageing and the energy transition. It aims to quantify the impact of ageing on energy uses and emissions at the macro level by using a large-scale computational model. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid.
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Candidates are required to have:

  • A strong performance at master’s level where Economics is the primary focus, with the expected completion date of the master’s degree no later than September 2024, along with at least 2.1 performance, or the equivalent, in a relevant undergraduate degree.
  • An interest in applied economics analysis, environmental economics, including programming skills.
  • A demonstrable aptitude to undertake research and develop into an independent researcher.
  • Experience in coding applied to the solution of economic models is highly desirable.
  • Other relevant experience or skills will also be considered so please highlight these in your application.

N.B. Eligibility criteria will be tested both through CV screening and interview. The interview will include the completion of a practical task linked to the project.

Strathclyde Business School is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive postgraduate research population. We make decisions on entry by assessing the whole person and not relying solely on academic achievements. On that basis, please ensure that your application (via your CV and covering letter) can evidence your resourcefulness, commitment and resilience as demonstrated by broader professional and life experiences. This evidence should be centred on your ability to undertake and complete a PhD and contribute to a positive PhD community.  

If English isn't your first language, you'll need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent with no individual element below 5.5.  

Your application must include:  

  • A cover letter motivating your interest in undertaking this particular project. 
  • An updated curriculum vitae  
  • Details of two academic referees, including email addresses.  
  • Academic transcripts, which must be certified copies. 
THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

This project will investigate the relationship between population ageing and the energy transition. It aims to quantify the impact of ageing on energy uses and emissions at the macro level.

The ramifications of population ageing are profound and extend to crucial macroeconomic aspects such as employment, consumption patterns, savings behaviour, and overall economic growth. The current literature demonstrates that the links between energy use and an ageing society occur mainly through two channels. The first is the consumption composition channel. Changes in the age structure of a population lead to changes in consumption patterns and often (but not always) towards more energy-intensive consumption profiles. The second is a macroeconomic channel. A reduction in labour participation may lead to increased labour costs, which, in turn may lower gross output and associated energy use in the whole economy.

The literature is currently scattered. Firstly, the evidence on consumption composition channel affects is based on single-country studies and thus relies on the characteristics of such countries. Secondly, the evidence on the macroeconomic impact is either based on single countries studies or on global models based on simplifying assumptions about the population structure, trade and labour market dynamics. Importantly, none of the studies combine the consumption composition with the macroeconomic effect. However, this is a crucial point especially given that the two channels tend to pull energy use in opposite directions.

The aim of this project is to investigate the impact that an ageing population has on energy demand and associated emissions as we transition towards a low-emission society by looking at both the consumption composition channel and the macroeconomic channel. The first objective is to develop an economic model that can capture macroeconomic effects (employment participation) of an ageing population on energy use and emissions though labour participation and demand composition. An important improvement from previous literature is that the model developed in this project will explicitly consider the life cycle of economic agents using a so-called overlapping generation structure. The second objective is to apply such model to quantify the direction and the extent of changes in energy use associated with ageing. The third objective is to assess the impact of policies aimed at mitigating energy use and emissions in the context of an ageing population using the newly developed model.

The developed economic framework will be applied to quantify the economic and environmental impact of policies that reduce energy use or mitigate climate change such as investment in energy efficiency and carbon pricing. Similarly, it can be used to assess the environmental implications of policies that alter the population structure or labour participation, such as pension reforms, migration, and fertility policies. As such, the outcomes can inform important policy decisions for governments around the world and thus guide policymakers in better designing energy transition policies under an ageing society.

Further information

This project will be conducted in collaboration with Dr Patrizio Lecca, Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid.

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Funding details

Fully-funded scholarship for 3 years covers all university tuition fees (at UK level) and an annual tax-free stipend at UKRI rate. International students are also eligible to apply, but they will need to find other funding sources to cover the difference between the home and international tuition fees. Exceptional international candidates may be provided funding for this difference. 

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Primary Supervisor: Dr Gioele Figus - University of Strathclyde

Additional Supervisors: Dr Paul Telemo - University of Strathclyde, Dr Patrizio Lecca - Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid

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Number of places: 1

There will be a shortlisting and interview process. The interview will involve a practical task.

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Programme: Economics

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Contact us

For further details contact Dr Gioele FIgus,