PhD Scholarship: Investor Action on Clean Energy

Call for Applications

PhD Scholarship: Investor Action on Clean Energy

Applications are invited from suitably qualified applicants for a PhD scholarship to undertake a higher degree by research, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Advancing Investor Action on Energy Transition. The PhD candidate will be located at the Melbourne Law School under the primary supervision of Professor Jacqueline Peel (Director, Melbourne Climate Futures) and will be co-supervised by Associate Professor Ben Neville, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, and other suitable supervisors as agreed.

Applications close Friday 25 March 2022

The project Advancing Investor Action on Energy Transition aims to advance action by investors (debt and equity) to increase finance for low-carbon energy sources that reduce fundamental climate risks. The project applies interdisciplinary approaches to generate new knowledge about the business case for investor leadership on energy transition and supportive climate law and financial regulatory frameworks. Collaborative legal and business analysis by leading Australian and US scholars, coupled with interviews and focus groups with investors, will examine contemporary engagement practices and investors' management of climate-related financial risks. Expected outcomes are targeted reform proposals to benefit policymakers and the environment by fostering private financing of clean energy.

The PhD scholarship is aimed at supporting the candidate to address the research gap in Australian corporate and climate law about enabling investor leadership on climate change. The PhD candidate will be supervised by, and work directly with, leading law and business researchers on investor leadership and supporting climate and regulatory frameworks in Australia and the United States. The successful candidate would propose a thesis topic on a relevant topic in this field. As an example, a relevant research topic could include (but is not limited to) analysis of regulatory frameworks applicable to climate risk management by different types of investors, such as banks or insurers.

We are seeking PhD proposals that meet the following criteria:

  • Grounded in a theoretical context that engages with relevant theories of private sector climate governance, for example in legal, business, or policy disciplines;
  • Addressing contemporary investor practice and evolving regulatory frameworks for investor climate action;
  • Aims to influence climate/corporate policy or law in Australia or in general.


Applicants must be eligible for acceptance by the University of Melbourne into a PhD program and the scholarship is conditional upon acceptance into the PhD program. As this Scholarship is hosted by the Melbourne Law School, the applicant will need to meet the entry requirements of the Law School PhD program. In this regard, having a prior JD or LLB qualification is relevant but may not be essential, depending on the application, project and other qualifications. By the commencement of the program,

applicants are normally required to have completed at least a four-year honours degree at H2A standard from an Australian university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered by the Research Higher Degree Committee to be equivalent. (See MLS eligibility requirements for more information).

Applicants must be available to commence in Semester 2, 2022.

The scholarship benefits include:

As the candidate will be based in Law, they will additionally have access to up to $7500 in research support funds over the course of their candidature, and a host of other MLS initiatives. The candidate will also have the opportunity to carry out paid research to support the project, as relevant.


In the first instance, applicants should submit the following addressed to lead supervisor Professor Jacqueline Peel at Melbourne Climate Futures, by Friday 25 March 2022:

  • Full CV (including publications, if relevant)
  • All prior undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts (including grading scales)
  • Information on prior research completed (e.g. Honours thesis, Masters thesis)
  • Research proposal of two pages (maximum); this may be at the general “ideas” stage, or an expression of interest in an identified area of research relevant to the project description set out above.

If shortlisted, an applicant may be asked to provide further information such as referee reports, a more substantial research proposal or a suitable writing sample.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Jacqueline Peel at Melbourne Climate Futures,

Key Dates

Monday 21 February 2022

PhD scholarship application submission opens

Friday 25 March 2022

Application submission closes

Monday 1 April 2022

Shortlisted applicants advised

Monday 22 April 2022

Shortlisted applicants provide additional information as requested

Wednesday 4 May 2002

Shortlist interviews (in person or Zoom)

Monday 31 May 2022

Successful candidate notified