Call for ERBE PhD Studentships (Deadline June 26)

ERBE PhD Studentships – September 2020

Energy Resilience in the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training (ERBE CDT)

The ‘Energy Resilience in the Built Environment’ (ERBE) CDT represents an exciting partnership between MaREI (Ireland), University College London (UK), and Loughborough University (UK)  that is funded through the SFI-EPSRC ‘Centres for Doctoral Training’ (CDT) Programme. The CDT will provide students with a deep understanding of buildings, low and zero carbon technologies and the socio-technical context.

The CDT promotes excellence in research through the training of cohorts of doctoral students and the fostering of collaboration between UK and ROI based researchers. ERBE will train innovative leaders with the necessary skills to transform the relationships between buildings and the energy system, providing sustainable, affordable, and healthy places to live and work.

The post-pandemic world will see a new reality for the built environment; both residential & commercial. One of the themes & project areas of the ERBE CDT is Comfort, Health & Wellbeing; which allows for a research focus on building, energy, and ICT systems that create productive and efficient work and operational environments and affordable, clean, safe homes.

This supplemental call focuses solely on the link between this theme and the impact the current pandemic will have on the ability to create these safe, affordable, healthy & operational homes and work & operational environments.

We are currently seeking student applications to join our 2020 cohort of ERBE students.

How do I Apply?

There are 3 steps to the PhD Student Application.

  1. Ranking your order of preference of potential projects, details below.
  2. Submitting your CV with relevant info as outlined below
  3. Brief statement of motivation

If any of the above steps are not complied with, your application will not be considered.

This table includes the Proposals that have been submitted for consideration. Should you be successful in your application, you will be working on one of the below projects with the named Supervisor and Institution.

  Supervisor & Institution Co-Supervisor (if known) Project Title
1 Dr. Ciara AhernProf Brian Norton

Dr. Philip Lemarchand

TU Dublin

TBC How to operate and use building HVAC systems in order to mitigate against the spread of the viruses in workplaces
2 Dr Colin FitzpatrickUL Prof Dan ToalUL Working from Home; Energy Project Investment Appraisal & Financing
3 Jamie GogginsNUIG Paul Moran, NUI Galway; Co-supervisor in UK partner institution to be determined. Reimagining Galway City: The Post-Pandemic Energy Demand of a City in Ireland
4 Dr. Philippe Lemarchand,TU Dublin

Prof. Brian Norton, TU Dublin

Prof. Phil Eames, Loughborough UniversityDr. Sourav Ghosh, Loughborough University Detection and elimination of viruses in HVAC systems – A solar assisted solution
5 Dr. Dominic O’SullivanUCC Dr. Carlos Ochoa, International Energy Research Centre – Tyndall National InstituteFurther supervisor from UK ERBE partner to be identified if successful Methodologies to use energy-efficient retrofits to achieve adaptive homes that provide healthy and comfortable indoor environments with effective delivery
6 Dr Paul D O’SullivanCIT TBC CoVent-19: Comprehensive Ventilation Strategies Assessment Framework for Covid-19


  1. Rank your Order of Preference

Please indicate your order of preference (numbered 1-6) for each of the above projects & corresponding supervisor & institution in the attached template and return by email with your CV & motivation statement. Further details of each project can be found in OneDrive HERE. If you have any difficulty accessing this folder please contact ei.ccu@ebre

You can find here the Project Proposals Ranking Document


  1. Submit your CV

Please submit your CV which must include the following:

  • Undergraduate Degree & Award (Title & Award)
  • Postgraduate Degree & Award (if applicable) (Title & Award)
  • Postgraduate Thesis Title (if applicable)
  • Any Research Experience
  • Any publications to date


  1. Statement of Motivation

Please also submit a brief statement (max 500 words) outlining your motivation for pursuing a PhD on this research topic, your reasons for choosing the institution/supervisor and why you are particularly suited to this research proposal and programme.

Please submit the above to ei.ccu@EBRE by 5.00 p.m. Friday 26th June (GMT).


What is the focus of this PhD Studentship?

The ERBE CDT PhD Programme will provide the knowledge, research and transferable skills to enable outstanding graduates from physics to social sciences to pursue research in one of three themes:

  1. Flexibility and resilience: the interaction between buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, and the whole energy system, through new generation, storage, and energy efficiency technology, enabled by smart control systems and new business models.
  2. Technology and system performance: demand reduction and decarbonisation of the built environment and its utilisation through design, construction methods, technological innovation, cyber-physical monitoring and control systems and regulation.
  3. Comfort, health and well-being: building, energy, and ICT systems that create productive and efficient work and operational environments and affordable, clean, safe homes.

The COVD-19 pandemic has impacted all paths of life; and its impact will be felt by future generations. The focus of ERBE and particularly Theme 3: Comfort, Health & Well-being strongly resonates with the direction that governments, academic, public bodies & industry will need to take in the future. This studentship will focus on the link between this theme and the impact the current pandemic will have on the ability to create safe, affordable, healthy & operational homes and work & operational environments.

What will I be studying?

You will participate in a four-year integrated programme of energy demand research in a whole energy system context. You will be registered in one of MaREI’s seven institutional partners and will be co-supervised by a UK-based investigator.

There are core modules which have been co-created with partners from across industry, government, and academia, and will cover topics such as energy policy and society, energy data and analysis, building modelling, physics of the built environment, and socio-technical theory and methods.

Key to the cohort experience of this PhD programme is the participation in an annual Block Week in Loughborough University; along with a Summer School, Colloquium and a student-led conference, along with participation in events and training specific to your own research.

Who Should Apply?

Key to the success of the ERBE CDT student cohort is the mix of academic and professional backgrounds of its students. Those with a building or energy related discipline background are strongly urged to apply; particularly graduates from the following areas: Social Science, Architecture, Data Analytics, Physics, Materials Science; Computer Science; Mathematics and Engineering. Applicants with other building, manufacturing and energy-related qualifications or extensive industry experience may also apply.

Applications are welcomed from both EU & Non-EU students. For non-EU students, please be advised that there are English language requirements in place for each institution which must be adhered to.

Please note that if English is not your first language you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. It is not necessary to submit this at the time of application, but the requirement to provide acceptable proof of English proficiency will be part of any conditional offer that you receive. If you have already achieved the required English proficiency score, you should upload your English proficiency certificate and scores along with your other documents in the upload section of your application. Each institution has different requirements. You can see further details for each institution here: TUD, UCC, CIT, NUIG & UL.


MaREI is a research, development and innovation centre, supported by Science Foundation Ireland, that operates across the energy and marine sectors. Our activities are motivated by the need to address three global challenges, namely the energy transition, climate action, and blue growth, resulting in the development of a dynamic research ecosystem that is responsive to the needs of academia, industry, government and society.

As a driver of collaboration, the Centre comprises over 200 world-class researchers who are collaborating with stakeholders across more than 36 countries, and who have a proven track record in academic excellence, consistently publishing in high-impact journals and participating in major international initiatives.

Contributing to ERBE will be internationally recognised experts from across our institutional partners at University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), University of Limerick (UL), Maynooth University (MU), University College Dublin (UCD), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), and the Economic and Social Research Institute.