The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bio-Integrated Design Lab – EPSRC PhD Studentship 2020/21

The Bartlett School of Architecture is inviting applications for one full EPSRC PhD Studentship.

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend for four years. Annual stipend for 2020/21: £17,285.

The studentship holder will be under the supervision of Professor Marcos Cruz and Dr Brenda Parker, and situated within the Bio-Integrated Design Lab (Bio-ID).

About the Project 

Our built environment has two urgent challenges: to address pollution of air and water within urban ecosystems, and to invent novel strategies to reduce the resource footprint of construction. Situated within two world-leading departments, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and UCL Biochemical Engineering, this fellowship will help develop bio-integrated design by incorporating living systems into the fabric of our built environment in order to improve long-term sustainability.

Project Context and Objectives

This PhD fits in an ongoing research project on poikilohydric living walls and bio-receptive materials being carried out at UCL. It will build on existing knowledge in this field, aiming at adding new scientific knowledge to the project through the analysis and testing of specific aspects, including the carbon-oxygen exchange of selected cryptogams (mostly algae, lichens and mosses); uptake of pollutants by selected cryptogams; water dynamics (absorption, retention and distribution) within specific material scaffolds; biological substrate characterization to promote growth; bacteriological characterization to promote growth; weathering of outdoor samples within a 3-year timeframe.

Outputs and Impacts

The testing of species and material samples will be done in controlled lab environments and/or outdoors under variable climatic conditions. Tailor-made prototypes will be designed and manufactured to be tested under specific environmental conditions. Extensive quantifiable data will be generated and expected to be presented through charts/graphs and drawings. The results will be exhibited and published in peer-reviewed journals. The results and methodology developed in this study will also form the basis of teaching in the postgraduate Bio-ID programme.


We are looking for a candidate with a scientific or environmental engineering background. Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a UK first class honours, or a high upper second class degree in one of these subjects and/or relevant postgraduate experience of having employed scientific work methods in previous projects/research. It is desirable if the candidate has had experience in a cross-disciplinary research environment, mostly in cross-collaboration with designers.

We strongly encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented within our research student community: BAME British applicants, those with disabilities, and older applicants.

To apply for this studentship you must be a UK/EU national, have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the Studentship on 28 September 2020, and not already have any scholarships or awards from other sources. 

About Bio-Integrated Design Lab

A partnership between The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and UCL Biochemical Engineering Department, the Bio-Integrated Design Lab (Bio-ID) brings together a spectrum of multi-disciplinary academics, practitioners and students, combining design experimentation with scientific methods, seeking new modes of simulation and production, and exploring how advances in the fields of synthetic biology, material science and digital fabrication are changing future design practices. 

How to apply

  1. Check the eligibility criteria 
    Applicants should follow the guidance linked above to ensure their application is not disqualified for administrative reasons.
  2. Apply for MPhil/PhD studies
    Applicants should complete an application via UCL's Application Portal, for 2020/21 entry onto Architectural Design MPhil/PhD. Applicants should enter Professor Marcos Cruz as their supervisor in the required field, include 'EPSRC PhD Studentship' in the Additional Funding Information section of the application form and ensure that their references, transcripts and other information are in place so that the application can be considered in time.

    Please note: candidates must have applied by Friday 31 July 2020 at 16:00 BST, but do not need to have been accepted for PhD studies in order for the studentship application to be considered. Candidates who have already applied for a PhD should indicate this in their studentship application (point 3).
  3. Apply for the EPSRC studentship
    In addition to an application for studies, applicants should email the following documents to m.cruz@ucl.ac.uk and brenda.parker@ucl.ac.uk

    (a) A one-page letter addressed to Professor Marcos Cruz and Dr Brenda Parker, explaining your specific interest and how your previous experience can contribute to the ongoing research on poikilohydric living walls and bioreceptive materials
    (b) An explanation about how and why your research is suitable for support by this studentship, including why it is relevant to the EPSRC
    c) A two-page CV

    Applicants should write ‘EPSRC PhD Studentship’ in the subject line of the email so that the application reaches its destination. The deadline is Friday 31 July 2020 at 16:00 BST.

More information


For studentship and PhD application enquiries, please contact Thomas Abbs.