Fully Funded PhD Studentship for Sustainable Innovation at Heathrow

Heathrow has a bold ambition towards a future of sustainable aviation. Its sustainability strategy – Heathrow 2.0 – sets stretching objectives in diverse areas such as community wellbeing, climate change and the circular economy.

This project is central to Heathrow’s ambition to deliver an exemplar sustainable airport for the future, ensuring that the infrastructure and activities of the airport provide a great passenger service whilst progressively moving to zero carbon.

This project requires a holistic systems thinking approach to realise the challenges set out in Heathrow 2.0 and its fast-paced sustainability and climate agendas.

Particular, but not exclusive, foci could include:

  • The application of novel sustainable materials in infrastructure and buildings
  • Sustainable airport operations and the future of mobility
  • Optimisation of resources and the implementation of circular economy models and the airport
  • Innovative business models enabling sustainable, low carbon outcomes
  • Greenhouse Gas Removal in the airport context and within its supply chains
  • Applied research techniques, involving testing and monitoring of interventions

Eligibility criteria


  • First degree with a first / 2:1 in Environmental Science, Materials Science, Geography, Environmental Engineering.
  • Interest and understanding of climate, natural resources and corporate sustainability
  • Awareness of innovation process in industry with at least 2 years work experience
  • Knowledge of energy resources, system thinking approaches, design and tools
  • Interest in novel materials, and use of materials, in construction (infrastructure and buildings). Specific training / expertise are not required
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills essential – IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual component
  • Self-directed and motivated worker, results driven


  • Appreciation of full life cycle attributes of buildings/materials
  • Knowledge of life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment – training will be provided
  • An appreciation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Start date

30 September 2019


3 years

Application deadline

18th August 2019

Funding information

Generous stipend of £18,000 per annum and an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc.

In addition to this, full-time tuition fees (£4,327) will be covered by the programme at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme.

How to apply

To apply for this project, please contact Mrs Deidre Richardson pds@surrey.ac.uk for an information pack that will include:

  • A Project Brief;
  • Information about the Centre for Environment and Sustainability;
  • Details of the Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme.

Applications can be made using the Online application form.

Degree certificates and transcripts required; up to date cv; two reference contact details (two academic references or one academic and one industry reference); cover letter including why this project is of interest and how your experience and interests make you a suitable candidate based on the specification provided (essential)

Shortlisting to commence and invitation to interview to be sent out Wednesday 21 August.

Interviews to take place week beginning 26 August 2019

Open to UK and EU students only.

Funding Source – Heathrow Airport

Author: MFON

Mfon Essien is an experienced environmental sustainability professional with cross-cultural & international experience (Middle East & Africa) in developing, coordinating and implementing environmental management systems and environmental sustainability initiatives that go beyond compliance. He has gained mastery in the areas of developing environmental sustainability strategies, implementing policies and procedures, and achieving best results for all stakeholders within mandatory legislative and voluntary best practice requirements. He oversees operations at sustainabilitysolutions.net

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