UCL Energy Institute


4-year PhD studentship in Smart Buildings Design and Digital Engineering

8 April 2022

The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training and offering a 4 year studentship at UCL in partnership with AHMM investigating Smart Buildings Design and Digital Engineering.

Ariel image of a city at night

Key information

Project description

Carbon positive large developments take the concept of carbon-neutral design one step further by producing more energy on-site than the building requires to operate. Smart technologies are a crucial part of carbon positive design, and Smart Readiness Indices have been developed to indicate how suitable a building is for smart operation, e.g. adapting its operation to the needs of the occupant, optimising energy efficiency and overall performance and adapting its operation in reaction to signals from the grid (energy flexibility). These features will become an integral part of any industry-standard planning method that details each step of the process in a building construction project and will significantly influence early architectural decision making.

Understanding unintended consequences of full integration of Smart Readiness Indices in the 2020 RIBA Plan of Work and modifications required to support design decision making will be one of the key challenges for successful design, construction, and operation of carbon positive large developments.

Studentship aims

This PhD project aims to develop a decision-making framework for integration of smart readiness indices in the early architectural design process while endorsing energy design hierarchy.

Case studies of real building designs will be used to develop and ground the method. The student will investigate the most suitable approach but we envisage the following aspects:

a) Use of Smart Readiness Index (SRI) calculator to determine various “smartness” design options

b) Building performance simulation to determine operational performance and systems’ requirements of various “smartness” options,

c) Sensitivity and optimisation analysis,

d) Social research, for example multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) workshops coupled with quantitative Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), to understand unintended consequences of energy flexibility and control strategies on early architectural design making especially RIBA stages 1-4.

How to apply

Please submit a pre-application by email to the UCL ERBE Centre Manager (bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk) with Subject Reference: 4-year PhD studentship in Smart Buildings Design and Digital Engineering.

The application should include all of the following:
1) A covering letter clearly stating why you are applying and how your interests and experience relate to this project, and your understanding of eligibility according to these guidelines: EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships
2) CV
3) Complete the CDT EPSRC fees background and EDI questionnaire via the linked Microsoft Forms.

Only shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.

  • For the interview shortlisted candidates will be asked to show proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s), and proof of their fees eligibility.
  • The interview panel will consist of consist of the project’s academic supervisors at UCL, and a representative of the ERBE CDT Academic management The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.

Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme for ERBE CDT.

Deadline for applications: Sunday, 8th May 2022 @ 23:59 (UK time)
Interviews week commencing: TBC

For further details about the admission process, please contact: bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk

For any further details regarding the project, contact Professor Dejan Mumovic, d.mumovic@ucl.ac.uk

You will be undertaking this project:

  • In UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus as part of the new EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE CDT). This is a collaboration between UCL, Loughborough University and Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI). For more information please see https://erbecdt.ac.uk
  • AHMM’s London office is a short commuting distance from UCL’s Bloomsbury campus.

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