Monday, 29 May 2017

EXPERIENCE: Teaching in China

I have just returned from a 10 week teaching post at Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, China.  I had the pleasure of teaching 35 wonderful Chinese students who hope to finish their undergraduate degree, or complete a masters degree, at UWA.  My job was to teach them about Australian academic culture, including independent learning skills, critical thinking skills and referencing skills.  But I learnt a huge amount from them about China and Chinese culture.  Many of my students went out of their way to make sure I had a great time in China - showing me the best places in Harbin and all the delicious foods!  I have many treasured memories of my trip, and it was also a great learning experience to understand more about how students learn and to find out more about Australia's most important trading partner.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

PUBLICATION: Effects of incentives on solar adoption

Another thesis chapter has been published!  My latest publication examines the effects of financial incentives on the adoption of residential solar energy systems.  The results suggest that financial incentives lead to an increase in the adoption of solar systems by making systems cheaper and they also prompt people to make the decision to install as incentives are only available for a limited time.  The people who adopted systems because financial incentives were available were different from those people who installed systems when incentives were not available.  One potential problem with providing incentives is that many people choose to install systems because their friends and family have told them about the financial benefits of systems, however people are generally more satisfied with their systems if they do their own research.

This paper was published in Energy Research and Social Science.  While this is a relatively new journal it is increasingly recognised as a leader in the field of energy policy and society.  My paper is available for free until June 27.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

EXPERIENCE: PhD Accepted and conferment of title

After submitting my PhD thesis in October of last year I was very happy to receive my examination results in December.  All three of my examiners passed my thesis with minor corrections.  With a few conferences to attend and a number of papers currently in the publication process it took me a little while to make my corrections, however I can now happily report that my thesis has been resubmitted and I have satisfied all the requirements for achieving a Doctor of Philosophy.  While I'm not officially supposed to call myself a doctor until my award is conferred at graduation, I'm pretty confident in saying that I'll be a doctor soon enough!

And in the mean time, the University of Western Australia has bestowed upon me the title of Honorary Research Fellow, in light of my continuing presence at conferences, publication in journals and other representation activities.  Cheers guys!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

CONFERENCE: 2017 World Renewable Energy Congress Conference

Another year, another conference.  It was with mixed feelings that I attended the 2017 World Renewable Energy Congress Conference in Perth to present the last piece of research from my PhD.  I'm definitely happy to finally be feeling as though I've done justice to all the data I collected, but it was also somewhat sad to get one step closer to completely finishing my PhD.

Attendance at the Conference increased by nearly 100% from when I last attended in 2013 and proved to be a great opportunity to network with a new group of people working in the energy industry.  There were perhaps fewer international delegates at this year's conference, but this was easily offset by the increased number of interstate guests.

I presented a paper called 'Solar power and policy powerlessness - Perceptions of persuasion in residential solar policy development'.  The paper covered the responses to a few interview questions that never quite made it into my official PhD thesis but I thought were worthy of dissemination.  I found that few stakeholders involved in the adoption of residential solar energy believed that they had the power to influence the direction of solar policy, but that most respondents had an opportunity to provide information to policy-makers through various communication networks.  While most stakeholders supported policies to increase the market dominance of residential solar energy and to have government 'get out of the way' in regulatory and technical settings (and thereby open up an opportunity for higher levels of solar adoption) it was only where stakeholders worked together on a specific policy goal and were able to enact political pressure that any specific policy outcome could be achieved.  The paper was well-received by the audience and I got a few great questions!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

EXPERIENCE: PhD SUBMISSION!!!!

Last Friday a momentous event occurred - I submitted my PhD thesis.  What was looking to be a pretty big anti-climax - a short stroll over to the Graduate Research School office to hand in a pile of paper - turned into quite the event. I can't help but be touched by all the support I received from my fellow postgrads who walked with me to the office and celebrated my submission with champagne. Thanks guys!

The final five weeks leading up to my submission were pretty hellish - long nights, interrupted sleep, and feeling like it would never be done. I can't say I'm completely satisfied with the final version, but it's done, submitted, and off to the examiners for review.  And I also wish that I could say that it was time for a break!  Alas, I'm back at uni the following week, completing edits on other papers. But Christmas and the Perth summer sunshine are just around the corner. :-)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

EXPERIENCE: Writing Retreat



I was fortunate enough to be awarded a place on UWA's Graduate Research School Writing Retreat, currently underway in Albany, Western Australia.  And with only three weeks left until my submission deadline, it's the perfect time to get away from it all and work on my thesis!

I have now finished all of my papers, so I have been working on my Introduction, Methods, Conclusion and linking chapters.

The Writing Retreat has provided a great opportunity to experiment with some new drafting techniques and talk to other postgrads and hear about their writing issues.  I've got a lot out of the week - hopefully I can keep the momentum up for the next three to come!

Special thanks to the Graduate Research School for organising.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

EXPERIENCE: DEETalks Completion Seminar(ish)

As frightening and unlikely as it may seem, I am fast approaching the end of my PhD.  I'm currently writing up my final paper, and to celebrate I thought I would give a completion seminar!

Unlike many international PhD programs, the Australian system does not include the requirement to complete a 'Viva' or oral defence exam.  Instead, Australian theses are examined by three independent reviewers, two of whom must be from outside Australia.  Because these examiners are so far away getting to meet them face-to-face is just too difficult.  But this doesn't seem like a valid excuse not to present to a live audience!

I chose to present my completion seminar in our School's DEETalks slot.  These are one hour long seminars presenting a body of research in layperson terms.  I couldn't quite fit all of my research into a single seminar, so instead I covered the first three papers, which are most relevant to a general audience.  I framed my presentation around advice to householders considering installing a residential solar system, asking them to question the economic, social and environmental implications of their decision.

I had a great time presenting and received great feedback.  Special thanks to Kaylee for organising the slot, and my supervisor Julian Clifton for the very flattering introduction!