PhD Position Adaptability of Buildings and Occupants Health

PhD Position Adaptability of Buildings and Occupants Health

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 7 Apr Delft

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Challenge: Reduce overheating and indoor air pollution during heat waves
Change: Use of empirical studies on adaptability of existing buildings
Impact: Allow for healthier renovated homes

Job description

This PhD position offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to advanced research, addressing the challenges of climate change and human health related to the indoor environment. The department of Architectural Engineering and Technology at Delft University of Technology is looking for a highly motivated and talented candidate connecting building design, occupants health, and climate change. The PhD position is part of the Cool and Clean Buildings flagship of the Climate Action Program.

The Climate Action program is a TU Delft-wide initiative and functions as a platform for climate (related) research, education and innovation. We work closely with all eight faculties. Under the banner of the four overarching themes, additional researchers and PhD candidates are being recruited to work on climate solutions in the flagship research programmes. The TU Delft vision on Climate Action is deeply founded in preceding decades of university wide climate action research. The goal of the Climate action research programme is to build on current strengths and identify the areas where there is a need to strengthen our capacities to keep up our (inter)national reputation as climate action university. The Cool and Clean Buildings flagship focuses on healthy indoor conditions affected by climate change.

Occupants will be exposed to even higher outdoor temperatures, more intensive heatwaves, increasing heavy rainfalls, and air pollution because of climate change. These changing outdoor conditions increase the risk of overheating in buildings and accumulation of indoor air pollution. As increased indoor temperatures and air pollution affect occupants’ health, resulting in cardio-vascular diseases, mortality, respiratory, eyes and skin complaints, the importance to protect occupants against harmful effects of rising temperatures and increased air pollution indoors is paramount. Especially because occupants spend generally 90% of their time indoors.

Uncertainty in the extent of rising temperatures within 80 years, indicated by IPCC (2023), raises the question of how adaptable buildings can be designed that accommodate for unpredictability of indoor conditions on the long term. The increasing occurrence of heatwaves or other extreme events necessitate also understanding of the performance of building characteristics that allow for adaptability in relation to the occupants’ health during these (short term) events. New adaptive behaviour may evolve from new experiences and knowledge of occupants as well as from new technologies that limit energy use and increase health of the occupants. Because of behavioural changes of occupants and uncertainties in predictions of climate change, insight is needed of how buildings, in conjunction with new technologies, are adaptable to changing conditions and needs.

A critical issue in understanding adaptability of buildings is a gap in data of actual adaptations of building characteristics, despite existing models and strategies for adaptable design. You will investigate relations between adaptability of buildings, health, and indoor conditions, with a focus on (to be) renovated dwellings. Moreover, you will develop patterns of adaptable building characteristics related to health aspects affected by high levels of temperature and air pollution. Research techniques applied can comprise of building assessment (e.g. inspection, measurements, drawings) and human assessment (e.g. questioning, focus groups, physiological measurements).


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • You have a completed MSc degree in architecture, building engineering, civil engineering, or a related discipline.
  • You have a close affinity with doing field and lab studies.
  • You are able to work in a team, take initiative, are result oriented, organized and creative.
  • Experience in the construction industry is appreciated.
  • Good command of verbal and written Dutch is appreciated.
  • You have good command of verbal and written English.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on 'design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings.

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05077


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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