Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials



The work of the ICEC-MCM covers a range of academic disciplines vital to the construction industry. We provide opportunities for Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD students to work together across our focus areas. We also seek to work with SMEs across the sector to deliver implementable solutions to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.

Upcoming Opportunities for Researchers

There are no opportunities available right now.

Upcoming Opportunities for Students

The ICEC-MCM has a large programme for PhD studentships across different universities and expect to recruit a cohort that will commence their doctoral studies in  1Q and 2Q 2024. It is preferred that the PhD studentships are supported by an industry partner and apply to UK home students at UCL and Imperial College and to UK home or overseas students at Loughborough university. If you are interested to take on a new challenge in the area of circular economy and mineral based construction materials, please do get in touch.

You may also want to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay updated, as we will update these regularly with new opportunities.

ICEC-MCM Doctoral Research Topics

The role of accounting in reducing whole-life carbon in new build projects in the construction sector

Contact Information
Business School, Loughborough University 
Primary Supervisor: Suzana Grubnic
Email: s.grubnic@lboro.ac.uk 

Co-Supervisor: Andrew Vivian
Email: a.j.vivian@lboro.ac.uk 

To apply send your CV and cover letter to icec-mcm@ucl.ac.uk.


Reducing carbon in the built environment, classed as a major emitter of GHGs, is actively promoted by the Construction Leadership Council (see ‘Zero Avoidable Waste Routemap’ (2021) produced in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)), and the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). 

The role of sustainability control systems (SCSs) in forming and implementing sustainability strategies within organisations is well documented in the academic literature (Gond et al., 2012; Arjaliés and Mundy, 2013; Rodrigues et al., 2013; Bui and de Villiers, 2017; Beusch et al., 2021). While management control systems (MCSs) are focused on achieving the economic goals of an organisation, SCSs are orientated toward progressing environmental and social goals (Gond et al., 2012). SCSs are defined by Johnstone (2019) as: “management accounting tools that connect organisational strategy with operations in a given context by providing information and direction, as well as monitoring and motivating employees to continually develop sustainable practices and procedures for future improved sustainability performance” (p.34).  As argued by Gond et al. (2012), the nature and mode of integration between SCSs and MCSs lead to different outcomes in terms of sustainable strategy making. 

The focus of the PhD study is on reducing carbon emissions over the life of new build projects. Specifically, the study seeks to investigate a shift by the UK Construction industry to a low carbon economy. This is timely given the recent introduction of Government policies, and agreements made at the 2021 COP26 Summit (Glasgow). Ministers published the ‘Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener’, and ‘Heat and Building Strategy’, in October 2021, and committed the economy to lower carbon emissions. The draft agreement published during COP26 explicitly acknowledges the advice of the IPCC on cutting emissions by 45% by 2030, and welcomes “commitments to reduce emissions in high-emitting sectors and achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century” (paragraph 25). 

Aims & Objectives  

  • Based on a literature review, to understand how circular economy principles can support whole-life carbon reductions; 
  • Based on case research, to understand how sustainability control systems are designed and developed to reduce carbon in new build projects; 
  • Based on case research, to examine the facilitators and inhibitors of producing carbon-related information in sustainability control systems across the whole life of a new build project; and, 
  • To consider the extent to which sustainability control systems impact upon decision-making relating to new build projects. 

Key Dates

Application Closing Date 
15 August 2023 

Interview Date 
Mid August- September 2023 

Studentship Start Date 
January 2024


University of Leeds studentships

Contact Information
University of Leeds
Primary Supervisor: Professor Leon Black
Email: L.Black@leeds.ac.uk


As part of the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-Based Construction Materials (ICEC-MCM), we have a PhD scholarship to investigate technical aspects of circular economy applied to construction materials. 

You will work within the Materials & Structures research group in the School of Civil Engineering making use of the state-of-the-art facilities for sample preparation, testing and characterisation found within the Centre for Infrastructure Materials, plus the expertise within the Neville Centre of Excellence in Cement and Concrete Engineering. You will also join a vibrant group of researchers across the UK working as part of the ICEC-MCM. As such, there is plenty of scope for you to build on your technical understanding of construction materials and complement this by developing collaborations with environmental scientists, economists, policy experts, etc. in a truly interdisciplinary environment. 

For more information, go on the University of Leeds website or FindAPhD website. 

Key Dates

Application Closing Date 
1 December 2023

Studentship Start Date 
1 May 2024