Postdoctoral Researcher – ENACT and GAPS

Developing and examining approaches to motivating more sustainable behaviour in communities, the public sector and in SMEs

School of Engineering | Ref. No. University of Galway 310-22

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time fixed-term position as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the ENACT, the GAPs and on a community decarbonisation project, within the School of Engineering, SFI MaREI Centre and Construct Innovate at the University of Galway. The team at the University of Galway are collaborating with the Irish Green Building Council IGBC to deliver the ENACT project, and with the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) to deliver the GAPs and community decarbonisation projects.

This position is funded by SEAI, EPA and Pobal and is available for 2 years from January 2023 (subject to extension if additional funding becomes available).

Salary:  €41,209 to €47,477 per annum pro rata for shorter and/or part-time contracts (public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply)

Start date: The position is available from January 2023

The ENACT, GAPs and community decarbonisation projects:

Green public procurement (GPP) is a process in which public authorities seek to source goods, services or works with a reduced environmental impact. The Irish Government spends about €9 billion on goods and services annually (12% of GDP) and has enormous potential to reduce emissions and protect our environment, saving money over the full life cycle of goods and services and leading by example. GPP is acknowledged nationally and at EU level as a key policy lever in improving sustainability. GPP is included within the stated ambitions of Ireland’s Programme for Government 2020, Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, and the Climate Action Plan. The EPA funded research project GAPs uses desktop research review, extensive expert-stakeholder engagement method and pilot testing to build a toolkit that drives GPP.

One of the objectives of the National Climate Action Plan is to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions from the built environment by 40%-45% relative to 2030 projections. Using less energy is the most cost-effective way to tackle climate change. Despite this, between 2012-2016, it is estimated that more than 990 million Euros per year was invested in non-residential building renovation in Ireland with repairs and health-related aspects being the strongest triggers. As the annual renovation rate in this sector is low at some 4% and energy savings alone rarely trigger retrofit, the ENACT project looks to motivate SMEs to retrofit the buildings they own or occupy. Commercial buildings are highly diverse in terms of use (office, retail, restaurant/pub, warehouse and hotel), energy efficiency and ownership, meaning different approaches are required, with further complexities arising from the 29% of which are mixed-use commercial and residential. In the SEAI funded research project ENACT, the University of Galway team use desktop research review, surveys and focus groups to help build a toolkit with ENACTs other partners.

The community decarbonisation project collaboratively develops supports, tools, approaches and know-how to assist decarbonisation zones and other communities to take action on climate change. It establishes training, a resource hub, an active collaborative community network, organisational and communication procedures for communities, and a tool that allows residents and communities to measure their carbon emissions impacts based on their domestic lifestyles.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will play a major role in developing a toolkit to drive GPP in the GAPS project and help define the behavioural determinants that drive SMEs to retrofit buildings in the ENACT project.

The candidate is responsible for contributing to the development of practical, applicable and usable research outputs (e.g. design guidance documents, tools, reports, surveys, focus groups, webinars, etc.) for policy makers, GPP professionals and SMEs and contribute to the various tasks and deliverables of both the ENACT and GAPS project.

The candidate will work on the community decarbonisation project and help develop supports, tools, approaches and know-how to assist communities to decarbonise and to take action on climate change

The successful candidate will work in the School of Engineering under the supervision of Prof Jamie Goggins.



  • Desktop review of best practice to include case study identification
  • Organise and convene focus groups, workshops and events where required
  • Develop networks and relationships with stakeholders as required
  • Support the development of a Delphi investigation into GPP best practice
  • Desktop review of behavioural, context, determinants and barriers impacting SME decisions to retrofit
  • Support the development of a survey and other investigation into SME decisions
  • Engage with case study clients/consultants
  • Play a major role in developing guidance documents and recommendations for the public sector, private sector and policy-makers
  • Help develop toolkits and resources as required
  • Define research objectives and proposals for own (or joint) research in line with research strategy whilst contributing to the research programme of the College/School/Research Unit. This will be under general guidance of a member of the academic staff or Principal Investigator/ Project Leader
  • Actively participate as a member of our research team
  • Keep up to date with research related methods and techniques, in particular, developments in the specific research area
  • To provide assistance in conducting research activities, including planning, organising, conducting, and communicating research studies within the overall scope of a research project
  • To coordinate and perform a variety of independent tasks and team activities involved in the collection, analysis, documentation and interpretation of information/results
  • To present information on research progress and outcomes to others responsible for the research project
  • Conduct literature and database searches and interpret and present the findings of the literature searches as appropriate
  • Analysis and interpretation of results of own research
  • Collaborate with colleagues on areas of shared research interest


  • Write up results from own research activity (e.g. as project report) for review by PI, including preparing technical reports, conclusions and recommendations
  • Publish findings in peer reviewed journals
  • Provide input into the research project’s dissemination, in whatever form (report, papers, chapters, book) as directed by the PI/project leader. Authorship should be decided in line with guidelines such as the Vancouver Protocol, or similar authorship guidelines as appropriate
  • Present on research progress and outcomes e.g. to bodies supervising research; steering groups; other team members, as agreed with the PI/project leader
  • Attend and contribute to relevant meetings/conferences
  • Contribute to the writing of 3-4 international peer-review journal publication, as well as contributing to other peer-review publications


  • Keep appropriate records as directed and in line with Funder/University policy
  • Manage own personal and research resources appropriately
  • Work under the direction of the Principal Investigator/Project Leader. Plan and manage own day-to-day research activity within this framework & direction
  • Provide guidance as required to any support staff and/or research students assisting with the research project, as agreed with the Principal Investigator/Grant holder
  • To carry out any additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post
  • Manage own research budget and keep records as directed and in line with Funder/University policy as appropriate


    • Support and, where appropriate, co-supervise the work of undergraduate or postgraduate students
    • Where appropriate provide advice and / or assistance to support staff, research students
    • May participate in limited student contact hours for own development (e.g. May deliver laboratory demonstrations, teaching laboratory test methods and demonstrating of various experiments and equipment used to undergraduates). The extent of this must not adversely impact the primary research role
    • Gain experience in grant writing and participate in internal / external networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future research collaboration


  • Continue to update knowledge and develop skills
  • Develop internal and external contacts with researchers in related areas
  • May contribute to work of the College/School/Research Unit through activities such as student Open Days, other promotion activity as appropriate

Qualifications/Skills required:

The ideal candidate should have a background or interest in behaviour change and sustainability. Original scientific research will be an advantage. Candidates should have excellent communication and organisational skills; be highly motivated and passionate about sustainability; and have strong documentation, oral and interpersonal skills. The position requires communication with the all partners of the consortia and related stakeholders, thus excellent communication skills are mandatory.

Essential Requirements:

  • Honours degree (at least 2.1 or equivalent) in a discipline, such as Engineering, Science, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Communication, Arts, Business Studies or equivalent
  • A PhD in a related discipline
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills (English language)
  • Evidence of scientific publication and dissemination of results at conferences and/or journals

Desirable Requirements:

  • Demonstrable experience in both independent and collaborative research
  • Experience in behaviour change, its context, drivers and barriers
  • Experience in organising events such as focus groups, workshops and conferences
  • Experience in policy development impacting the private, public or community and voluntary sectors
  • Experience in collaborating with stakeholders in the public, private and/or community and voluntary sectors such as policy makers, suppliers, certification authorities, investors, academic researchers, environmentalists, community based organisations and politicians
  • Evidence of innovative thinking, able to work both independently and in cross-disciplinary teams
  • Postgraduate and/or Postdoctoral study and qualifications in a related area may be an advantage

Applications to include a covering letter, CV, and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to Gráinne Morahan (ei.yawlagfoytisrevinu@naharom.enniarg).

Please put reference number University of Galway 310-22 in subject line of e-mail application.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm  14th December 2022