PhD Position in Architecture

Trondheim, Norway
24 Jan 2018
End of advertisement period
28 Feb 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term, Temporary
Full Time

The Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (ZEN Centre)

PhD Position – The climate dimension and the physical principles of zero emission neighborhoods in Norway (three years fixed-term position).

Information about the Centre

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,

The position as a PhD candidate is administratively located at the Department of Architecture and Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Currently, there are 29 Professors, 21 Associate Professors, 12 Adjunct Professors, 46 PhD Research Fellows and 5 postdoctoral positions appointed at the Faculty. Further information about the Faculty is available at Information about the ZEB Centre at NTNU is available at Information about NTNUs Thematic Strategic Areas is available at


Cities are at the forefront of the climate change issue  and are responsible for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate projections foresee global warming, sea level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events , resulting into additional stress in cities through increased numbers of heat waves, more intense droughts and frequent inland floods compromising water supplies. These challenges are usually framed in terms of two paths: mitigation, which involves reduction of the magnitude of climate change, and adaptation, which involves efforts to limit vulnerability to climate change impacts through various measures. 
The magnitude of climate impacts is related to the scale and type of surface modification, thus a well-designed city requires a multi-scale perspective. Especially, the pattern and size of neighborhood types contributes to the formation of urban (atmospheric) boundary layer (solar shading, flow regimes). The neighborhood scale is very efficient in climate resilient and zero emission design interventions as it makes use of the benefits provided by the buildings layout  and the natural and technical elements of the complete setting. Furthermore, the physical properties of the materials used (for buildings, streets, pavements, parks, blue and green spaces, trees) play a critical role to the energy balance of the neighborhood.

The integration of microclimatic characteristics and physical properties of the materials into urban design is essential for adequately addressing the challenges related to climate change and to adaptation of energy flexible neighborhoods to new climatic loads.

Position Summary

A PhD research position is available on the topic “The climate dimension and the physical principles of zero emission neighborhoods in Norway’’. 
This project aims to develop innovative resilient solutions at neighborhood scale optimizing the interaction of solar energy, daylight, ventilation, materials, building forms and local climate.

Specific Responsibilities

The PhD research will pursue the following objectives:

O1.  Analyze the pattern and size of neighborhood types (morphology, land cover, geometry, and structure), the properties of materials used and climatic data;
O2. Advance numerical simulations to analyze the impact of materials and microclimate on the zero emission energy balance at neighborhood scale;
O3. Elaborate the impact of microclimatic parameters and physical properties of the urban fabric on the energy performance of zero emission neighborhoods;
O4. Develop solutions for optimal environmental quality of the zero emission neighborhoods (by reducing their exposure to climate-related risks). Define countermeasures for the climate adaptation to enhance the transition to a low carbon society and support decisions of urban planning professionals

These issues will be addressed through:

  • Identification of climate resilient strategies with comprehensive literature review, i.e. optimal use of advanced and conventional materials taking into account the climatic parameters
  • Field observations (environmental parameters and radiative and thermal properties of the materials, land cover, structure). Survey at five pilot projects of ZEN Centre (NTNU Campus/Trondheim, Furuset/Oslo, Zero Village/Bergen, Nyby/Bodø, Ydalir/Elverum)
  • Numerical modeling with microscale climate models (ENVI-met, PHOENICS CFD) and GIS tools (QGIS, UMEP)

There is a great potential to transform urban spaces into diverse, safe and high quality green neighborhoods that enhance resilience to disasters and climate change, increase well-being and interaction within the urban fabric and reduce the environmental footprint of the cities.


We seek a highly motivated candidate with a Master's degree (or equivalent) in Architecture, Building Physics, Environmental Physics, Climatology, Material Science, Energy, Environmental or Civil Engineering or a relevant subject. The candidate should present a strong interest for numerical modeling and simulations of energy/environmental performance of neighborhoods. It is fundamental that the person hired can communicate and cooperate well and has good written and oral language skills in English. Working knowledge of a Scandinavian language is an advantage.
For further information, please contact: Project manager/senior researcher Niki Gaitani ( or ZEN Centre Director Arild Gustavsen (

General terms and conditions:

The employee is obliged to follow the regulations that concern changes and developments within the discipline and/or the organizational changes concerning activities at the University.
The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants.

The position adhere to the Norwegian Government’s policy of balanced ethnicity, age, and gender. 

In accordance with new regulations, public information concerning the applicant will be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be listed on the list of applicants.

The position as PhD candidate is registered as code 1017 and normally remunerated at wage level 50. There will be a 2% contribution to the Norwegian Pension Fund from the gross salary. Applications must be submitted electronically through this page ( Please include a 2-page project description, elaborating on the research plan to be followed and tasks to be carried out and add relevant publications.

Relevant certificates must be submitted electronically and copies of diplomas and certificates will be required from those candidates who are invited for an interview. Application should be marked: 

The application deadline is February 28th 2018. Start-up date may be discussed, but no later than July 1, 2018.

Please mark the application AD 18/2647

Similar jobs

Similar jobs