PhD Candidate in Cost-Benefit Life-Cycle Analysis for Net Zero-emission Renovations

Trondheim, Norway
13 Sep 2021
End of advertisement period
02 Oct 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Research Centre on Zero Energy Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (ZEN Centre) is a Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) funded by the Research Council of Norway and the consortium partners. The main objective of the ZEN Centre is to develop knowledge, competitive products and solutions that will lead to realization of sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods that have zero emissions of greenhouse gases related to their production, operation and transformation. The ZEN Centre is a follow-up of the Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings.   

We are now looking for a PhD candidate related to ZEN Work Package 3: Responsive and energy-efficient buildings. By studying the economic and environmental costs and benefits of renovation measures leading to net zero-emission buildings the PhD project aims to provide knowledge and methods of how building retrofit contributes to achieving net zero-emission neighborhoods.

The position as a PhD candidate will be administratively located at the Department of Architecture and Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Further information about the Faculty is available here.  Information about NTNUs Thematic Strategic Areas is available here.

You will report to Center leader.

Duties of the position

This PhD focusses on the economic and ecological life cycle assessment (LCC and LCA) of building retrofits in Nordic countries. The majority of buildings prospectively in use in 2050 in Norway are already built. Therefore, zero emission neighborhoods need to be established not only with new buildings, but also in conjunction with the existing building stock. 

Within the ZEN Centre, NTNU already conducts research, among many other things, on energy efficiency in buildings, innovative energy supply strategies and net zero emission neighbourhood and building concepts. By this new position, the ZEN Centre looks for a candidate for a PhD-project that investigates the potential of retrofit measures to achieve a life-cycle based net zero-emission building sector. The PhD project investigates the interactions of life-cycle emissions saving with economic considerations and possible wider benefits and / or risks.  It analyses the sensitivity of LCA/LCC results depending on influential parameters, e.g. system boundaries, reference service live (RSL), residual value and use periods.

Retrofit measures can reduce emissions from the material production and construction stages in comparison to demolition and new construction and contribute to circularity in the construction sector. However, in comparison to new buildings, building reuse limits the possibilities for emissions savings in the use phase and adaptation to new functional requirements. Specific research focusses could include, for example: Which combination of measures is most beneficial to achieve life-cycle emissions at low life-cycle costs: changes to architecture and building parts or to building technology and energy supply? Which influence on life-cycle emissions and costs can be attributed to the surrounding conditions – urban environment, available energy sources, climate change? Moreover, pilot projects and living labs of the ZEN centre offer the possibility to test developed models, tools and strategies on real-life projects.

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background relevant for the topic, such as in architecture, building science, environmental engineering, industrial ecology or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

The candidate must by education (for instance master thesis) or by professional practice have a specialization in assessing life-cycle environmental impacts and/or economic impacts of the built environment.

Preference will be given to applicants also documenting research experience from education or professional practice in one or several of the following themes:

  • Deep renovation measures leading to net zero-emission buildings both on a building level and / or building services;
  • Methods and models for life cycle assessment of buildings and/or neigbourhoods;
  • Methods and models for life cycle costing of buildings and/or neighbourhoods;
  • Statistical methods and sensitivity analysis
  • Use of digital building information (e.g. building information modelling, BIM) for sustainability analyses

Applications with project proposals likely to provide synergies with other research in ZEN will be given priority in the evaluation. English language fluency (spoken and written) is required. Good communication skills in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language are an advantage.

Personal characteristics

  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability and willingness to work in inter- and transdisciplinary teams
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years (uten pliktarbeid).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Architecture within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding .

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. For joint works, the applicant’s contribution must be specified.

Please submit your application electronically via Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

The application should contain CV, diplomas and certificates together with a project-proposal of maximum 3 pages A4 (including references). The project-proposal should specify objectives and background and suggest methodical approach and expected outcomes of the PhD-project.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Patricia Schneider-Marin ( or Head of Department Professor Arild Gustavsen (  

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. 

Application deadline: 02.10.2021

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Architecture and Technology

Our goal is to develop coherent and sustainable architecture of high quality. We work with form, theory and history, building materials and building structures, and energy-efficient and sustainable buildings. Our activities also include the preservation and development of traditional building craft skills. The Department of Architecture and Technology is one of four departments in the Faculty of Architecture and Design.

Deadline 2nd October 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service 

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