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Message posted on 12/04/2019

Fully funded PhD Studentship: Human-centred control of low carbon heating: understanding user needs

(Apologies for cross posting)

Fully funded PhD Studentship at the UCL Energy Institute, University College London

Human-centred control of low carbon heating: understanding user needs

Application Deadline Friday 10 May 2019 at 12 noon

Most Home Heating Controls are designed for technology; they require humans to communicate with them in technological terms - temperature, time and occasionally space. Although the purpose of this technology is to provide comfort to the occupants, we know very little about what thermal comfort means to householders, what sensations and preferences matter to them, the scope for gauging these subjectively and objectively, whether these can be communicated to heating controls, and whether they can be translated into heating system actions and/or communications with householders. This PhD will establish the groundwork for Human-centred Comfort Controls, designed for householders in relevant terms that are meaningful to them.

This is an interdisciplinary project; applicants with first degrees in social, natural or applied sciences are welcome. The successful candidate will be keen to develop a strong understanding of both the social and physical factors affecting thermal comfort. Applicants should have some ability to analyse physical phenomena combined with the capacity to engage with and apply social science theories that challenge standard definitions of thermal comfort.

Start date: September 2019.
Supervisors: Michelle Shipworth and Cliff Elwell.
Sponsor: PassivSystems (
Training Environment: EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE CDT). See
Studentship: Home course fees and an enhanced tax-free stipend of approx. £18,000 per year for 4 years along with a substantial budget for research, travel, and centre activities.
Further information, including eligibility and how to apply:

All the best
Michelle Shipworth (SFHEA)
Lecturer in Energy and Social Sciences, UCL Energy Institute
Director of Ethics, UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0NN
+44 (0)20 3108 5991 (int. 55991)
mob: +44 77 8876 6481
Skype @MShipworth
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