PhD Candidate in Solar Neighborhood Planning

Trondheim, Norway
06 Feb 2023
End of advertisement period
26 Feb 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

At the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (, there is a PhD position available in Solar Neighborhood Planning – co-creation and co-design for social acceptance of solar energy. The candidate will be a member of a well-established and dynamic research team with mix between young and more experienced scientists working on solar energy in Nordic built environments. The research team is designed in collaboration with National and International partners and other faculties at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).  NTNU represents academic eminence in engineering, technology, and the natural sciences in Norway as well as in other academic disciplines ranging from the social sciences, the arts, medicine, teacher education, architecture to fine art. Cross-disciplinary cooperation results in innovative breakthroughs and creative solutions with far-reaching social and economic impact.

The research team, framed in the research group of Building Technology, has a wide portfolio of national, European, and international projects addresses the challenges of urban strategies and design principles to maximizing the optimal use of solar energy technologies in the built environments.

The objective of this PhD position is to better understand the relation between solar strategies and design principles to individual / community scale and how these affect the social acceptance of the deployment and integration of solar energy and technology in the built environments. Research will pay particular attention to citizen participation, stakeholder engagement and integrated solar planning/designing approaches, with a focus on sustainable transformation of the built environments as well as the integration of solar energy systems on urban surfaces (facades, roofs, and ground) and/or other urban infrastructures and furniture. Qualitative (survey, questionnaires) and quantitative (simulations) research would be combined to address both social acceptability of solar energy and visibility and integration of solar systems at different scales (component, building, neighbourhood, and part of the city) and spatial domains (outdoor, envelope and indoor).

The main objective is to create an urban value ecosystem, which has people and environment as the main driving forces, to empower citizens’ participations to enhance social acceptability of solar energy design and technologies to support the development of liveable and more sustainable built environments. The main research question is: “How can the social acceptability of solar energy be empowered through citizens’ participation to co-create and co-design various solar design strategies and technological solutions?” To meet this, the candidate will focus on innovative processes, services, and products to empower citizens to actively participating in co-management of sustainable transformation. Innovation processes should be examined within: i) urban economics to regenerate the environment (Public-private-people partnership - PPPP), ii) individual/social aspects to inspire people to change their behavior toward social acceptability of solar energy, iii) community engagement with digital and analogue techniques, iv) develop user-centred inclusive design in environments and communities, v) investigate KPIs based on the multi-criteria aggregation of both quantitative (e.g. solar potential and energy generation, pay-back period, environmental impact), qualitative (e.g. construction type) parameters, aesthetic aspects (e.g. integration, visual sensitivity, here including applicability to historic buildings with higher significance level) and technology options (e.g. bifacial solar cells, solar thermal systems).

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

This PhD position is a part of NTNUs initiative to establish a Center for Green Shift in the Built Environment ( hosted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Center’s vision is to create value in the society through digitalisation. This center will utilize and develop expertise, methods, tools, and strategies for a sustainable built environment. The research and innovation activities of the center will be directed at a green shift and a digital future.

To enhance the research activities and assure a link with the scientific community, various national and international engagement activities and networks are planned in connection with the PhD project, among them the following: NFR-FRIPRO FRINATEK Helios ( IEA SHC Task 63 Solar neighborhood planning - and NTNU Energy Team Solar -

Your immediate leader is Associate Professor.

Duties of the position

In the context of the research team project portfolio, the candidate will:

  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research
  • Research methodologies for KPIs definition
  • Prepare a PhD dissertation on social acceptability of solar energy in built environment.
  • Identify and develop planning strategies, concepts, and tools for increased solar energy utilization in neighbourhood areas, with a long-term perspective. This includes passive solar and daylighting, active solar thermal systems, and photovoltaic, for integration existing and new in buildings and the outdoor environment
  • Using, testing, and evaluation of tools for solar planning of neighbourhoods and for integration of solar energy systems into new and existing environments
  • Through collaboration in planning and development of neighbourhoods, develop, test, and use methods and tools for involving local actors and stakeholders
  • Publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals
  • Contribute to national and international research projects in collaboration with national and international institutes and key players in the solar energy industry
  • Interface and collaborate on a technical level with research partners and will deploy the models in the solar energy to support the transition towards energy positive districts
  • Contribute to building a collaborative and interactive local and international research team

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective upon completion is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement for the PhD study is that the candidate has completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in engineering and technology, architecture, natural sciences, geoinformatics and/or computer sciences or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If the candidate does not have letter grades from previous studies, the candidate must have an equally good academic foundation. If the candidate is unable to meet these criteria, the candidate may be considered only if the candidate can document that he/she is particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

The candidate should have prior knowledge, research and/or professional experiences in:

  • Architecture, social science, engineering and similar
  • The candidate education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • The candidate must have a strong academic background from previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with  NTNU’s grading scale. If the candidate does not have letter grades from previous studies, the candidate must have an equally good academic foundation. If the candidate has a weaker grade background, the candidate may be assessed if the candidate can document that are particularly suitable for a PhD education
  • The candidate must meet the requirements for admission to the Engineering faculty's doctoral program (
  • Experience with research and practice-based work in solar building design or solar planning with a focus on energy and environmental issues, will be highly valued

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  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  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Prior knowledge or professional experience and ability in dialogue with municipalities will be considered an advantage
  • Experiences in publications in international scientific journals and conferences will be considered an advantage
  • General knowledge and experience within engineering and technology, architecture, social science
  • Norwegian language skills are an advantage

Personal characteristics

  • Honesty and high ethical standards
  • Highly motivated for research work
  • Team Worker
  • Ability to work independently
  • Creative
  • Focus and goal oriented
  • Good communication skills
  • Critical thinking

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 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.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering  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.

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

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include: 

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes personal motivation and relevance with respect to the topic and the requirements of this announcement
  • CV and certificates
  • A draft research plan or project proposal (max 2 pages) for this PhD study, where the candidate presents her/his own ideas for the PhD work and how it can be applied, based on the project description given in this announcement. This proposal will be neither final nor binding for the project
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement ( or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work
  • The required documentation of English language proficiency

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.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short 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

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Gabriele Lobaccaro, telephone +47 918 13 568, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Hege Johansen, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 26.02.2023

Gløshaugen utendørs scene Foto: Mads Nordtvedt/NTNU

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 Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees – in both the public and private sectors – with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 26th February 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Høgskoleringen 7 A

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