UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Funded PhD Studentship: Community-based Life Cycle Building Analysis

3 June 2020

We are accepting applications for a funded PhD studentship investigating Community-based Life Cycle Building Analysis: Tools to Support Democratic Estate Regeneration.

Birds eye view of building site in London

The UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE) at the Bartlett School of Energy, Environment and Resources (BSEER) invites applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship focusing on strategies for reducing indoor concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide in buildings. 


Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is an assessment and management framework for evaluating the environmental impact of products and processes. In the complex systems of the built environment it often lacks the scientific robustness and rigour, which may lead to misinterpretation or even flawed outputs. 

The refurbishment or replacement of buildings on housing estates is a complex decision that has far-reaching physical, social, environmental and economic impacts. Decisions involve a range of stakeholders, who have different capacity and access to technical information and analysis. In particular, residents are often excluded from technical decisions about the future of their homes and neighbourhoods.  


The aim of this project would be to investigate how Life Cycle Analysis is accounted for in the decision-making process of the refurbishment or replacement of existing estate buildings and will propose a digital framework that will help to better inform residents and other stakeholders.

The project will cover two main tasks: 

  1. Community Engagement: Investigating the dynamics of the decision-making process, the different actors that take part in it (e.g. communities, local authorities, legislative bodies, real-estate developers etc.), and the role of environmental information. 
  2. Digital Innovation: Investigating state-of-the-art Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) digital tools and develop a framework that would help integrate LCA data into regeneration decisions.


  • Primary supervisor: Dr Rokia Raslan 
  • Secondary supervisor: Prof Sarah Bell, Dr Yair Schwartz
  • Scholarship covers: 4 years tuition fees (UK/EU rate); 4 years stipend (£17,285 for 2020/21)
  • Start Date: Autumn 2020
  • Funded by: EPSRC (DTP)
  • Eligibility: In addition to UCL's academic requirements for admittance to Doctoral studies, see the following additional ones here.

Person specification

 Candidates should have:

  • A bachelor’s degree awarded with a minimum of upper second-class (2:1) honours, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institute.
  • A Masters degree in engineering, building design, environmental sciences or other relevant disciplines.  Candidates without a Masters degree may be admitted where suitable research or professional experience is demonstrated.
  • A strong appreciation of building life cycle performance.
  • Knowledge of life cycle assessment methodologies as they are used in building design and analysis.
  • The ability to design and code software prototypes for use by local communities and other non-expert stakeholders. 
  • Excellent numerical and computing skills.
  • Experience of working with social housing communities is desirable but not essential. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written).

Application procedure

The following guidance is specific for the DTP entitled ‘EPSRC Community LCA’ and replaces any application guidance found on the UCL IEDE application page.

Applicants should access the UCL SELECT portal via https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/research-degrees/environmental-design-engineering-mphil-phd
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Apply now’ button. 

The deadline for applications is: 09.00 am (BST), Friday 26th June 2020.

Please include:

  • A covering letter, stating your motivation and eligibility (see earlier)
  • Your CV.
  • The names and addresses of two academic referees.
  • A copy of your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s).
  • A short research proposal (max. 1000 words), including a summary of the literature (and key knowledge gaps), and outlining possible approaches to the research questions/methods.

For informal enquiries on the research topic or your eligibility, email Prof. Sarah Bell with ‘EPSRC Community LCA’ in the subject field. 

Interviews will be held online during the week of 29 June 2020.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash