Sustainable Consumption and Digital Media

Applications are open

The PhD project is part of a collaborative project: ‘A “virtual market” for analysing the uptake of energy efficiency measures in residential and commercial sectors’, funded by the Collaborative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living. The project uses agent based modelling (ABM) to represent consumer behaviour, social networks and their responses to non-financial incentives and barriers in order to better understand, plan and assess different types of market interventions to achieve energy efficiency – see this research program including also Dr James McGregor (CSIRO); Dr Aneta Podkalicka and Prof Kath Hulse (Swinburne).

This PhD project will analyse the role and mechanisms of social communication, learning and social networks in fostering sustainable and energy efficient household practices. The study will explore this in relation to the digital media technologies and internet infrastructure, and the emergent types of knowledge and goods exchange, social interaction and lifestyles it brings about. Some relevant areas of interest include:

  • Sociology of consumption in particular how people respond to social and economic  incentives and barriers to energy efficient homes;
  • Environmental implications of emergent economic and lifestyle models (e.g. collaborative, thrift, ethical consumption, or sharing economies);
  • Models of networked and collaborative knowledge production/exchange for sustainability;
  • Social processes of innovation to catalyse energy efficiency in the residential sector;
  • International and/or local case studies of communication strategies promoting sustainable household practices.

Courses eligible

Applicants should have a first-class Honours or the equivalent in the humanities or social sciences (e.g. media and communications, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, economics), demonstrated knowledge and interest in the topic area, and ability to work productively both independently and collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary team with researchers and industry partners.

Eligibility / selection criteria


The scholarship is for three years and provides a stipend of $25-30,000 p/a, with additional allowance for travel and research support. 

The PhD candidate will be based the Swinburne Institute for Social Research ( and will work within, and be supervised by an interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in media and communications, sociology and anthropology (in conjunction with CSIRO).  

How to apply

To start an application, view the Position Description and follow the 'How to Apply' links to submit a resume, cover letter and response to the Key Selection Criteria, as listed in the Position Description.


To enquire about this scholarship please contact Dr Aneta Podkalicka at or by phone (03) 9214 4401.