Organisational Strategies and Methodologies towards Digital Net Zero

This project is fully funded for a UK full time student, with fees waived by the university and a stipend of £15,609 (UKRI Stipend rate).  Applications close on Monday 19th July 2021. Please contact for any enquiries.

About the project or challenge area

For many organisations committed to moving towards Net Zero, the impact of the digital infrastructure and services they use is a significant contributor, but is often poorly understood. This includes emissions from the energy used by the equipment they own and manage, including high performance computing datacentres, and also the energy used by the networks and cloud services they use. Furthermore, the emissions associated with the manufacture and disposal of the equipment involved are also significant.

In this project, you will conduct research combining both technical and social approaches to understand this challenge, and to develop strategies that an organisation can use to move towards Digital Net Zero. You will develop technical energy/emissions assessment methods for digital services (including ‘embodied’ impact of equipment) and combine this with wider strategic work on what reduction strategies would be most effective, using University of Bristol as a case study. This might include but not be limited to: (i) purchasing strategies (including of digital services); (ii) behaviour change (both ‘general’ office computer use, and also ‘specialist’ users of the high performance computing suites, such as climate scientists and computational biologists.) As part of your work, you will be expected to explain your findings to stakeholders (including senior decision makers) and support them in implementing appropriate changes.

Why choose this opportunity?

In this project, you will work with a world-leading research team on digital sustainability on an increasingly ‘hot topic’ in organisations: it is a great chance to learn a new skillset and conduct research which will have immediate impact in reducing emissions, and build a wider skillset which is in increasing demand in the UK and more widely.

About you

This project is challenging, and will require you to become comfortable with technical assessment methodologies, and also to engage with a number of stakeholders across the university. When assessing applicants, we will be looking for evidence of the combination of technical capacity and interpersonal skills necessary to do this.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Cabot Masters by Research Admission Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project supervisor. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.


Your supervisor for this project will be Professor Chris Preist in the Department of Computer Science. You can contact him at +44 (0)117 331 5105 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Low Carbon Energy theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to develop sustainable energy policy and technologies which are crucial to providing a safe, reliable and low-cost energy supply for a growing global population. We innovate in every part of the energy system, from generation and storage, to regulation and end-user demand Find out more about the Low Carbon Energy theme.

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