UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Fully funded PhD studentship in Integrated Indoor Environmental Quality Exposure Inequalities

20 December 2022

Applications are now open for a proposed studentship in 'An Integrated Indoor Enviromental Quality Exposure Inequalities Framework', as part of 60 studentships to be awarded by the UCL EPSRC DTP.

A indoor air quality monitor on the floor with a child playing in the background

About the project

Project title: An Integrated Indoor Enviromental Quality Exposure Inequalities Framework
Project supervisors: Prof Anna MavrogianniDr Rokia RaslanDr Valentina Marincioni
Project ID: 2228bd1099 (You will need this ID for your application)

Despite the overall reduction in non-decent homes during the last decade, there are still significantly high levels of poor quality housing, including cold and damp homes. The cost of living crisis will further exacerbate health inequalities related to poor housing. It is, thus, imperative that we decarbonise our building stock to meet pressing Net Zero targets, mitigate climate change and reduce fuel poverty. However, if building performance is not tackled holistically, carbon-only focused policies can lead to unintended consequences, such as poor indoor air quality, overheating and mould risk. If built environment policies are not health oriented, such adverse effects may be disproportionately experienced by more socially disadvantaged population groups, who cannot afford remedial measures.
This PhD project will create, for the first time in the UK, an integrated residential indoor environmental quality exposure assessment framework and vulnerability index under the current and future climate. It will build on existing housing stock indoor environment modelling methods developed in the context of the BEIS CS-N0W project, expanding it by mapping mould risk, indoor air pollutant concentrations and potentially 'hard-to-decarbonise' homes. It will involve statistical analysis of existing databases, such as the English Housing Survey and Census socioeconomic data, a combination of dynamic thermal, air contaminant and moisture modelling, machine learning and GIS. Questionnaire surveys and focus groups will inform behaviour-related modelling inputs. The ultimate aim will be to map indoor environmental exposure inequalities and reveal potential 'hidden fuel poverty' clusters. It will create a tool for public health policymakers and planning authorities to identify retrofit priority areas and population groups.
Candidates should ideally have a built environment, public health or data science background, and strong analytical skills. Solid building performance modelling, programming and/or GIS experience would be desirable. Candidates should be able to engage effectively with a wide range of stakeholders.

About the Supervisory Team

Prof Anna Mavrogianni is Professor of Sustainable, Healthy and Equitable Built Environment at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE). She is an expert in building stock energy and indoor environment housing stock models, with a focus on indoor overheating and air quality exposures of vulnerable populations in homes and care homes. She was the PI of the EPSRC ASPIRE project (EP/T000090/1) and leads the BEIS CS-N0W programme Work Package aiming to quantify heating and cooling needs of the UK housing stock under climate change. She is the Deputy Programme Director of the MSc Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings, and a member of the CIBSE Knowledge Management Committee.

Dr Rokia Raslan is Vice Dean for Innovation and Enterprise at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL and an Associate Professor in Building Performance Simulation at UCL IEDE. She is an expert in housing stock energy retrofit, 'hard to decarbonise' homes and fuel poverty.

Dr Valentina Marincioni is a Lecturer in Building Physics and Programme Lead of the MSc in Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering at UCL IEDE. She will contribute to the moisture and mould risk modelling components of the PhD study.

Key information

Funder: UCL ESPRC DTP studentship
Value: Fees, Stipend (at least £20,668 per year), Research Training Support Grant
Duration: Up to 4 years (thesis to be submitted within funded period)
Eligible Fee Status: Home, International (EPSRC caps the total number of funded International fee status students across UCL for this award at 30%)
Study Mode: Full or Part time (at least 50% FTE) [Note: Part time is not available to International students]
Primary Selection Criteria: Academic merit
Project ID: 2228bd1099 (You will need this ID for your application)
Application Deadline: 12:00 on 26 January 2023

How to apply

This PhD Studentship topic is one of 19 proposed by The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources to a competition for approximately 60 studentships that will be awarded across UCL as part of the UCL EPSRC DTP. Prospective students are welcome to apply for up to 5 potential studentships - see the full list of projects from our department and the UCL project database for a comprehensive list across the university. The 60 successful proposals will be chosen following applicant interviews.

Before applying, all applicants must read the full eligibility criteria and application guidance on the UCL EPSRC DTP website. There is a 3-part application process, with a deadline of the 26 January 2023 to complete the third part of the application.