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The Building Physics and Sustainable Design research group of KU Leuven has a fully funded PhD position available for research on Renovations for a Carbon Neutral Building Stock.

KU Leuven is a highly international university that ranks among the best in the world in terms of research and innovation. It is spread over several campuses in Flanders (Belgium), with the Building Physics and Sustainable Design research group located at the Campus of Leuven (Arenberg) and also at the Technology Campus of Ghent.

Currently, the research group is composed by more than 20 people, among PhD students, post-docs and professors. They can rely on a solid research infrastructure, an extensive international network, connections with companies and no-profit organizations, and a supportive work environment.

The research group carries out performance analysis of buildings on different scales: materials, components and whole buildings in their environment. The research can be grouped into four research areas: energy performance and indoor climate; technology of renewable construction materials; community scale sustainability & sustainable development; methods for holistic design, construction and operation of high performance buildings.

This PhD position is under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Chiara Piccardo in the Building Physics and Sustainable Design group, concerns the research areas “Technology of renewable construction materials” and “Methods for holistic design, construction and operation of high performance buildings” , and is based at the Technology Campus of Ghent.

Website unit https://iiw.kuleuven.be/onderz...


The existing building stock plays a pivotal role in the transition towards a sustainable built environment. In the next decades, building renovations are expected to increase contributing to achieve carbon neutral objectives in Europe, according to the EU Renovation Wave Strategy.The increased number of renovated buildings expected in the next decades suggests that renovation interventions may have a great impact on housing quality, as well as on the entire renovation supply chain. Therefore, the orientation of new renovation interventions may be crucial not only to comply with climate mitigation targets but also to pursue other challenges in the construction sector, such as resource scarcity. Thus, renovations can be an opportunity to enhance the use of low carbon technologies and circular economy strategies in existing buildings.In this PhD project, you will investigate how to optimize the sustainability levels of building renovations through advanced materials and construction techniques with a special attention to low-carbon bio-based materials. You will assess the performance of renovations in a life cycle perspective according to the three domains of sustainability, e.g. environment, economy and society. Life-cycle based assessment methods, such as Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (E-LCA), Life Cycle Cost (LCC), and Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) will be adopted. Possible trade-offs between environmental, economic and social performance of materials and construction techniques for renovations will be investigated. On one side, the research aims to clarify the role of low carbon materials such as bio-based materials (e.g. wood, cellulose) and circular materials in sustainable renovations. On the other side, the research is challenged by the definition of appropriate methods for the assessment of sustainability in renovation.

Applications should be submitted through KU Leuven’s online platform with:

1. detailed Curriculum Vitae,

2. a motivation letter of max. 2 pages, including a description of your research interests, your background and expertise in relation to the required attributes,

3. BSc and MSc degree transcripts attached,

4. names and contact information of two references.For more information please contact Prof. dr. Chiara Piccardo, tel.: +32 9 310 25 37, mail: chiara.piccardo@kuleuven.be
You can apply for this job no later than July 28, 2022 via the online application tool.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversity.HR@kuleuven.be.




Apply before: 28/07/2022

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with the following attributes:

  • a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering or Architecture;
  • a knowledge of energy efficient and sustainable buildings;
  • a strong interest in the subject of the PhD position, also demonstrable through e.g. previous education, job experience or volunteer work;
  • scientific research attitude and creative mindset;
  • well-developed written and oral communication skills in English;
  • excellent time management skills with the ability to meet deadlines;
  • a demonstrable ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Experience in one or more of the following areas are a plus: dynamic energy modelling, BIM modelling, and computer graphics.The start of the PhD is subject to an academic approval of the candidate. Proposed start date of October 1st, 2022 is negotiable.


We offer a fulltime paid PhD position for 1 year, starting October 1st 2022 (negotiable). After positive evaluation, the PhD position will be extended for up to 4 years. The start of the PhD is subject to an academic approval of the candidate.Ample occasions to develop yourself and to grow as a researcher professionally. Besides opportunities offered by the research group, further doctoral training for PhD candidates is provided by the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School (https://set.kuleuven.be/phd), known for its strong focus on both future academics and scientifically trained professionals who valorise their expertise and competences in a non-academic context.

More information on the training opportunities can be found via the following link: https://set.kuleuven.be/phd/do... international work environment with dedicated colleagues, situated in the hearth of Europe. The Technology Campus of Ghent is a welcoming facility located a few minutes away from the historical city centre. The city of Ghent is located in a strategic position, with excellent transport connections to the main cities of Belgium and neighbourhood countries. Further information can be found on the website of the university: https://www.kuleuven.be/englis...;

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