• Placement Reference #: EQU/2019/047
  • Careerwise Placement
  • Glasgow
  • 29th March 2019

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is constantly looking to improve its research output and working environments. A key aspect of this is ensuring we build teams made up of diverse groups of thinkers and problem solvers, collaborating in supportive and inclusive environments. We know that the best results are achieved when different voices and different points of view are all brought together. In order to foster the next generation of game changing researchers, we have therefore established this internship program to demystify research and ensure the possibilities of academia are open to all.

This program offers fully funded 6 week internships, in areas of renewable energy research, to people between first year undergraduate and masters degree level studies. Each project sees a candidate joining a Strathclyde research team and working alongside them throughout. Interns will have a chance to see, experience and contribute to real life research, gaining valuable insight into PhD studies and academic life. They will also learn valuable skills which can aid them in their studies and future projects they might undertake. Most importantly, these projects will help bring the world of research out from behind closed doors, exposing new minds to a world of possibilities where their skills and insight can provide huge contributions in the years to come.


Job title: Investigating the relationship between light pollution and access to energy

Duration:  6 weeks

Salary:    £2000

Location:   Glasgow

Placement Ref:  EQU/2019/047


Background and motivation

Night-time satellite imagery of the Earth’s surface provides a stark view of the disparity between areas with access to electricity and areas without, by the relative intensity of the light pollution observed. The use of this data can allow energy for development practitioners to identify areas in need of off-grid energy provision, with resulting energy projects having the potential to improve quality of life and introduce new skills and training to these communities.

What will you do?

This project aims to develop a methodology for using this imagery and data to quantify the level of access to energy by location, and to compare this to official census figures and self-reported country statistics for different cases around the world. By analysing historical data and studying the change in night-light intensity over time, the electrification progress made in a particular place can be gauged. Monthly data allows seasonal variations in light pollution to be mapped, potentially providing insight into the seasonality of energy use in a location. The project will make use of ArcGIS or QGIS software to study and manipulate the mapped satellite data, as well as demographic data such as population density and infrastructure maps such as the electrical transmission and distribution network in a country. Comparisons with available day-time satellite imagery and known settlement locations should allow false-positives such as wild-fires, aurorae etc. to be identified and discarded. Case studies will also be identified to demonstrate the relationship between changes in energy access over time and the changes in observed light pollution. The student will be supported through these various stages, working closely with their research team.

Required skills and experience

Candidates should have an interest in sustainable rural development, and the positive human impacts of universal clean energy access. Some programming experience is a pre-requisite and experience with Python is desirable but not essential. Any experience with GIS software is beneficial but not required. Candidates can come from any degree background which furnishes them with the required skill-set outlined above. Candidates should have strong interpersonal skills and enjoy working as part of a team.

This placement asks for a Personal Statement and a  CV.