Current Vacancies

Full-time Funded PhD Studentship

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Low Carbon Building Research Group, School of Architecture

The Low Carbon Building (LCB) Research Group of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) and School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University are pleased to offer a three-year full-time PhD Studentship starting in January 2016. The studentship is funded by Oxford Brookes University to mark its 150th Anniversary and Bioregional Development Group, Cherwell District Council and A2Dominon, under the umbrella of the Eco-Bicester Living Lab (EBLL). EBLL is a unique cross-sector and cross-disciplinary initiative established by OISD and Bioregional, in which novel ideas related to sustainability are tested in the urban realm with the explicit goal of learning for continuous feedback and improvement.

The successful applicant will receive an annual bursary of £11,000 for three years (with no inflation increase) and the tuition fees will be paid by the University. The successful candidate will be based within the LCB Group, under the supervision of Professor Rajat Gupta (Director of OISD and LCB Group) and Bioregional.

Topic of research: Evaluating the actual performance of the NW Bicester Exemplar development against the aspirations set for an eco-town and one planet community

The first phase of NW Bicester ecotown development known as Elmsbrook is currently on site and involves construction of 393 highly energy-efficient homes, creating UK’s first true zero-carbon community. The scheme is expected to be a net provider of energy, generating more energy than it uses. The doctoral research study will be designed to address the overarching question: How effective is an exemplar development in meeting the design expectations of an eco-town and aspirations of one planet community? This is vital since there is a growing concern that many low carbon and sustainable solutions remain untested and unfamiliar, creating a gap between ‘design intent’ and ‘actual’ performance, with the result that even new low carbon housing is using up to three times the energy predicted by models. The underlying approach will be case-study based, adopting mixed-methods, drawing from building performance evaluation (BPE) techniques and carbon foot-printing methods. The research methodology will combine empirical quantitative data collection (comprising physical monitoring with carbon and ecological footprint analysis with interested residents) with qualitative methods (questionnaire survey and interviews to gather feedback from residents on their experiences, expectation and behaviours).

As a successful applicant, you will join an internationally leading research group and will be expected to contribute to the wider research activities of the LCB Group and Eco-Bicester Living lab.

For further information about the LCB group, please visit the Oxford Brooks University website and Professor Rajat Gupta’s web page

For information about Eco-Bicester Living Lab, please visit the website.

Eligibility: Applications are invited from Home/EU/International students. We are looking to recruit a candidate of the highest quality and who is capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants are expected to have completed a relevant Masters degree prior to the Studentship start date. The Studentship holder may also be required to complete supplementary research methods training in their first year of study. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate strong research capabilities and be fluent in spoken and written English.

The selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, suitability of research experience and skills, subject knowledge and references.

Deadline: The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Monday 23 November 2015

Interview date: Interviews will be held in the w/c 30November 2015

Start date: Week commencing 25 January 2016

How to apply: If you would like to apply you should request an application pack from Dr Bousmaha Baiche, quoting ‘Eco-Bicester Living Lab PhD studentship’ in the subject line.

As part of the application you must submit a maximum three page outline research proposal on the topic given above (instructions on how to prepare a research proposal can be found on the Oxford University Brooks website , together with a supporting statement of no more than 300 words summarising:

  • Your reasons for undertaking this project;
  • Preparation undertaken and previous research experience;
  • How this bursary will make a difference to your research.

For further information, please consult our website

Low Carbon Building (LCB) Research Group is a global leader in the fields of carbon counting; building performance evaluation (BPE); advanced low-carbon refurbishment, climate change adaptation and low carbon communities. The group’s carbon counting research has influenced policy development at both national and international levels. It has been responsible for development, testing and refinement of UNEP’s Global Common Carbon Metric protocol (currently developed into an ISO standard). The group has been heavily involved in projects funded by Innovate UK’s (formerly Technology Strategy Board)Building performance evaluation, Retrofit for the Future, Invest in Innovative Refurbishment, Future Cities Solutions and Localised energy systems competitions. Since 2010, the group has attracted £5million external research funding including a £1.14 million RCUK funded 4-year project on evaluating impacts, effectiveness and success of low carbon communities on localised energy behaviours (EVALOC). Professor Rajat Gupta is the Director of LCB group and also a Co-Director of the Eco-Bicester Living Lab. See the website.

Eco-Bicester Living lab partners include:

Bioregional champions a better, more sustainable way to live. Perhaps best known for being the charity behind the UK’s first mixed-use eco-village, BedZED in London, Bioregional works with a network of forward-thinking businesses and communities from Australia to China on practical projects which demonstrate that a sustainable future is attractive and affordable. Bioregional has been working in Bicester since 2010. It was instrumental in the creation of Planning Policy Statement 1 for Eco Towns and has supported the delivery of a broad range of exemplary environmental features at NW Bicester, which has since been endorsed as a One Planet Community. Bioregional works closely with Cherwell District Council, the local planning authority, and A2Dominion on the planning of NW Bicester eco-town. NW Bicester eco-town work is led by Nicole Lazarus, who is also a Co-Director of Eco Bicester Living Lab. See the Bioregional website.

Cherwell District Council is the local authority for the area and has responsibility for planning in Bicester, including the new development at NW Bicester. In 2007 Cherwell District Council identified North West Bicester to the Government as a potential eco-town site. North West Bicester was later chosen as one of the Government’s four designated eco-town developments. See the Eco Bicester website .

A2Dominion is one of the country’s leading providers of high-quality housing. It provides over 35,000 homes across London and southern England, with thousands more in development. A2Dominion is the lead developer of the first, exemplar phase of 393 homes and provider of affordable homes for the overall scheme to create up to 6,400 homes in North West Bicester. See the NW Bicester website .