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PhD Candidate in Dynamic Decision Support for Positive Energy Buildings and Neighbourhoods

Trondheim, Norway
NOK 532 200 per annum
Closing date
1 Aug 2024

About the job

We have a vacancy for a 3-year full time position as a PhD researcher in the area of planning and design of Positive Energy Neighbourhoods and Districts. The work is connected to several ongoing EU-funded projects, i.e. ‘Climate Positive Circular Communities – ARV’, ‘Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods – syn.ikia’, and ‘Interoperable solutions to streamline PED evolution and cross-sectoral integration - PEDvolution’.

The PhD candidate will participate in the EU projects mentioned above and develop a framework for a Dynamic Decision Support Guideline for the planning, design, and operation of Positive Energy Neighbourhoods. The development will build on previous and ongoing work within the EU projects in which relevant frameworks and guidelines are being developed for sustainable plus energy buildings and neighbourhoods. This work will contribute with insight and knowledge about technologies and performances and the outcome will guide decision-makers towards life-cycle based and high performing buildings and neighbourhoods. Existing frameworks and guidelines provide useful insight into how to achieve a multitude of performance goals for Positive Energy Neighbourhoods and Districts, however, they are mostly static in their nature, i.e. they are not designed to be updated in line with different user needs and changing conditions and evolution of technologies, markets, policies, and social context. The decision-support framework to be developed should go beyond this state-of-the-art by providing a dynamic and interactive guide where solution providers can get streamlined and tailored decision support based on the local contexts and needs, and the changing environment. The framework should  provide updated data about the performance of different solutions, their interoperability, and give insight into trade-offs between different needs. As such, the dynamic guide would reduce risks for suppliers, as well guiding them towards achieving higher overall performances based on the multitude of sustainability issues.

The candidate will be part of the Energy and Environment Group at the Department of Architecture and Technology, NTNU. The Energy and Environment Group lead centres/projects like the Research centre on zero emission neighbourhoods in smart cities (ZEN), syn.ikia – Sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods, and the Green Deal ARV project on Climate positive circular communities, and use real demonstration projects and our laboratory facilities (like the ZEB laboratory) extensively in our research. The group currently comprises 10 senior staff members (professors and associate professors), and around 20 research fellows (research assistants, PhD candidates, and post-doctoral researchers). You will report to the Head of Department when it comes to personal and general professional aspects. You will report to the supervisors when it comes to scientific and project-related aspects. 

Your immediate leader is Head of Department.

Duties of the position

The PhD research will pursue one or more of the following tasks and topics: 

  • Evaluate and describe the planning and design processes of positive energy neighbourhoods in Europe, and associated performance criteria. 
  • Developing a dynamic framework or tool for planning and operation of positive energy neighbourhoods.   
  • Participate in project meetings and reporting of activities (including project reports).
  • Participate in dissemination and communication activities, including development of scientific publications and workshops.

The tasks and topics will be further specified in cooperation with the PhD candidate, based on the candidate’s background and skills.  

Required selection criteria

The main qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Sustainable Architecture, Engineering 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 within the announced topic.

Master’s students can apply, but the master’s degree must be obtained and documented by the starting date of employment at NTNU.

Other required criteria are:

  • A strong interest in the announced research area, articulated in a research proposal outlining possible topics and methods to be applied.  
  • Good written and oral English language skills.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with   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 

Preferred selection criteria

  • Skills in the use of methods and tools for planning and design of energy/environmental performance of buildings and neighbourhoods, in particular digital tools.
  • Completed courses in energy use in buildings, building simulations and integrated energy design. 
  • Proven knowledge within the domain of positive energy neighbourhoods.
  • Experience from the planning, design, construction, or operation of low energy buildings, zero emission neighbourhoods, or positive energy districts.
  • Experience from the Norwegian/Nordic building industry.
  • Experience from international cooperation, in particular from EU projects.
  • Ability to work in a cross-disciplinary research team.
  • Good written and oral English language skills.

Personal characteristics

  • Self-driven, dedicated, and engaged
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills

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 532 200 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 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

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

Publications and other scientific work must be attached to 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 your personal motivation and you intends to fill the position
  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • List of publications
  • Research plan or project proposal (max 3 pages incl. references), indicating your view of the main research challenges in the area of the position, the methodological approach and how this is relevant to your own background and the above research objectives
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 3 works)
  • Name and email address of three referees

Uncomplete application will not be considered.

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 tasks of the position, please contact Professor Inger Andresen, email or Associate Professor Niki Gaitani, If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Natalia Swahn,

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: 01.08.2024


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 1st August 202
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Høgskoleringen 1, 7491 Trondheim


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