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

PhD Positions now available in the ERBE CDT – 4 year studentship of €18,500 stipend per annum + fees

Applications closing 5.00 p.m. Tuesday, March 22nd 2022

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.


What will I be studying?

Ph.D. research topic: Achieving universal access to clean fuels and technologies within households: synergies and trade-offs with climate action goals

This research project will investigate climate mitigation pathways in the residential sector, in both developed and developing countries, through the lens of SDG 7, asking how decarbonisation can be achieved in a way to help bring about access to cleaner, modern fuels and technologies in homes. In particular, the research will focus on climate mitigation planning tools – energy systems optimisation models (ESOMs) and Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) – which to date typically do not explicitly represent clean energy access and will develop methodologies to include SDG 7 within the models.

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 institutional partners (UCC) and will join Professor Hannah Daly’s research team and also 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.

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.


Who Should Apply?

Key to the success of the ERBE CDT student cohort is the mix of academic and professional backgrounds of its students. Students from all backgrounds with an interest in the themes are encouraged to apply including: Social Science, Architecture, Data Analytics, Physics, Materials Science; Computer Science; Mathematics and Engineering.

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.

How do I Apply?

Submit the following two documents by email to ei.ccu@EBRE:

  1. Your fully completed MaREI ERBE PhD Studentship 2022 Application Form

 This form requires you to complete 3 sections:

  • Personal Information
  • Project Ranking
  • Motivational Statement
  1. A copy of your CV (2 page maximum)

Please ensure that your CV includes the following information:

  1. Bachelor Degree Title & Specialisation
  2. Bachelor Thesis Title
  3. Masters Degree Title & Specialisation (if applicable)
  4. Masters Thesis Title (if applicable)
  5. Details of publications (if applicable)
  6. Research Experience (if applicable)

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

The closing date for receipt of the completed Application Form, CV & Motivation Statement is 5.00 p.m. Tuesday, March 22nd 2022 (GMT). Interviews will be held in the following weeks with the studentship commencing in September 2022. 

For any informal queries, please email ei.ccu@EBRE

ERBE Project Proposals - Outline

In the Application Form, you are asked to complete a Ranking of Order of Preference of potential projects. Please rank your top 5 projects 1 – 5. In this ranking process, 1 is your most preferred project, and 5 is your least preferred.

Project 1

Smart Hot Water Controls – Assessment of how smart hot water controls responding to excess wind, could provide free hot water to fuel-poor households to create a flexible citizen-owned, just energy system asset     – Dr Ciara Ahern, TU Dublin

Project 2

Building Stock Modelling – Development and cost-optimal scenario analysis of a real-time dwelling energy stock model to inform climate policy decisions – Dr Ciara Ahern, TU Dublin

Project 3

Power from Wastewater – Powering houses and apartment blocks with wastewater – Piet Lens, NUI Galway

Project 4

Demand Response – Applying Digital Twins to assess the potential of Demand Response programmes on industrial sites – Dr Ken Bruton, UCC

Project 5

Resilient classrooms for the future – Exploring lean and agile techniques for sustainable and healthy learning environments  – Prof. Jamie Goggins, NUI Galway 

Project 6

Innovative Facade Systems for indoor environmental quality in energy efficient buildings -Prof Jamie Goggins, Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, NUI Galway 

Project 7

Grid Energy Services – On-demand Grid Energy Services from Buildings Aggregated at the Neighbourhood and Energy Community Level – Dr Barry Hayes, UCC

Project 8

Resilient Passive Cooling Strategies for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings – Dr Paul D O’Sullivan, MTU

Project 9

Smart Buildings – Decarbonization and Energy Conservation for Different Generation Modalities in Smart Building – Prof. Jamie Goggins, NUI Galway 

Project 10

Carbon Neutral Manufacturing – Carbon Neutral Planning for Industrial Manufacturing Sites  – Dr Dominic O’ Sullivan, UCC

Project 11

Measurement & Verification – Advancing Measurement and Verification techniques (M&V 2.0) to nurture energy saving projects and ensure benefits – Dr Dominic O’ Sullivan, UCC

Project 12

Digital Twins – Utilising Data Driven Digital Twins to monitor and maintain Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in a sustainable way in high occupancy buildings – Dr Ken Bruton, UCC

Project 13

IOT Sensors – Development of cost-effective IOT sensors for evaluating the performance of smart, energy efficient buildings – Prof Jamie Goggins, NUI Galway

Project 14

Smart Materials – Cost-effective and low-embodied carbon self-healing smart materials for retrofitting heritage buildings  – Prof Jamie Goggins, NUI Galway

Project 15

Sustainable & Healthy Buildings – Optimising Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency in a post COVID-19 era through Indoor Sensing and Digital Twin Capabilities – Dr Marguerite Nyhan, UCC

Project 16

Embodied Energy – The built environment in a net-zero emissions energy system: Modelling integrated approaches to decarbonising the embodied energy and emissions of buildings and infrastructure in the context of constrained carbon budgets  – Dr Hannah Daly, UCC

Project 17

Fuel Access – Achieving universal access to clean fuels and technologies within households: synergies and trade-offs with climate action goals  – Dr Hannah Daly, UCC

Project 18

Domestic Water Heating – Optimal demand side management of domestic water heating using highly efficient solar heat energy collection and storage – Prof Brian Norton – TU Dublin and Tyndall National Institute, Prof Aidan Duffy & Dr Philippe Lemarchand, TU Dublin

Project 19

Drone Inspection – Disruptive Remote-controlled drOnes with Embarked Sensors to Assess Building Performances against Building Regulations Test Protocols and Standards – Prof Brian Norton – TU Dublin and Tyndall National Institute, Dr Philippe Lemarchand – TU Dublin, Dr Gerard Dooley – UL

Project 20

Intelligent Solar – Intelligent Energy Efficient Solar Assisted HVAC system Cleaning Air for Health and Indoor Comfort (iCleanAir)  – Prof Brian Norton – TU Dublin and Tyndall National Institute, Dr Philippe Lemarchand -TU Dublin

Project 21

Switchable Windows for Indoor Thermal and lighting Comfort, Health, Energy-efficiency and Safety (SWITCHES) – Prof. Brian Norton – TU Dublin and Tyndall National Institute, Dr Philippe Lemarchand and John Cassidy – TU Dublin