Using Simulation to Design Comfortable Housing for the Poor in the Low Income Tropics
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
February and October
Applications accepted all year round
Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship, to commence in February or October.
This project aims to raise the well-being of the rural and urban poor in developing countries with extreme climatic conditions. This goal will be attempted through the development of a low-cost housing design, incorporating appropriate climate-responsive design principles.
The work will include:
- field-based study of low-cost structures, monitoring the thermal conditions and surveying the occupants
- investigating the effects of architectural features and calibrating simulation models, based on the survey data you've gathered
- using simulation models to test potential improvements to houses
- building full-size houses based on previous simulations, and testing the results
More than 1 billion people live in low-cost, low-standard housing, and many are concentrated in tropical areas of the world.
Over the last decades there has been a movement away from vernacular forms of housing, to more modern forms and materials of housing, often resulting in very hot conditions within the housing and subsequent health problems.
At the same time, there has been a strong movement toward passive design in high income countries, backed by sophisticated simulation techniques, though the use of these have been largely confined to high-end projects.
This proposed PhD project aims at using these simulation techniques to improve the design of low-income housing without incurring large costs for the householder. The initial stages will be field-based, monitoring the thermal conditions of a series of low-cost structures and surveying the occupants using established protocols.
The second stage is using the survey data to investigate the effects of architectural features and to calibrate simulation models. The third stage is to use the simulations to test potential improvements to the houses. The final stages are to build the previously simulated designs full-size, and test the results.
Fees and funding
Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).
2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start)
PhD and MPhil
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,500 p/a**
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,250 p/a**
International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*
International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*
PhD by Publication
External candidates: £4,407*
Members of staff: £1,720
All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
The project requires a candidate with suitable honours degree (or equivalent) in Civil or Mechanical Engineering, Physics or a related subject, and a desire to excel as a researcher together with disciplined work habits. A suitable MSc/MPhil/MEng degree is desirable. Training will be offered on simulation software including IES Virtual Environment and Energy+ and in appropriate surveying and analysis techniques. This project is suitable for both home/EU and or International students.
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Make an Enquiry
For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How to apply
Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Brett Martinson (email@example.com) (02392842916), Stephen Neale (Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org) (02392842915) or Prof Mark Gaterell (email@example.com), quoting both the project code ACES4801020 and the project title.
You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.