Probabilistic and Compliance Modelling of Building Energy Performance - Engineering - EPSRC DTP funded PhD Studentship Ref: 2921

About the award

This project is one of a number funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership to commence in September 2018. This project is in direct competition with others for funding; the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding.

The studentships will provide funding for a stipend which is currently £14,553 per annum for 2017-2018. It will provide research costs and UK/EU tuition fees at Research Council UK rates for 42 months (3.5 years) for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students.

Please note that of the total number of projects within the competition, up to 15 studentships will be filled.

Dr Matt Eames

Dr. Daniel Lash

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Project Description
Carbon emissions arising from direct combustion of fossil fuels in homes accounted for 13% of the UK total in 2013, with the majority of these emissions in the form of space heating (CCC 2014).  Reducing domestic energy consumption is tackled by considering the standards that new dwellings are constructed to, and through traditional efficiency improvement programmes for the existing dwelling stock.  There are significant barriers with both of these approaches; for new homes actual energy consumption is higher than would be expected in spite of improving standards, and for existing homes many of the “low hanging fruit” measures (loft and cavity wall insulation) have already been adopted leaving a policy gap regarding Hard To Treat (HTT) homes. 

A significant driver of increasing heating consumption has been the universal adoption of full central heating.  Previous research (Kelly et. al. 2013) has shown that efficiency measures are far less significant than behavioural/socio-demographic factors and intransmutable variables (external temperature, geographic location) regarding domestic heat loss.  This has been confirmed elsewhere where the heating set-point and duration were found to influence internal temperature far more than fabric efficiency (Firth et. al. 2012).  

The proposed desk based research will undertake probabilistic modelling (i.e. running many variation of the same model to obtain a range of results) of UK dwellings, to capture the variance in both dwelling type and efficiency, and the occupant groups and their behaviours.  The modelling will examine both simple steady state and dynamic models, both of which will be run in probabilistic modes.  This will be used to explore a range of novel non-intrusive technologies (i.e. smart heating controls, including room-by-room control) to establish the potential energy savings that may be possible.  Ultimately the aim is to design new, or modify existing buildings that are resilient and flexible to accommodate divergent occupants through using reliable, efficient and accurate building models.

The ideal candidate would be numerate, have an interest in building modelling and programming, and an understanding of buildings and building systems.  PhD funding is available which covers UK tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate of £14,553 per year.

Entry Requirements

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in maths, engineering or a building related degree. Experience in building modelling and programming is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests

The majority of the studentships are available for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK and are classed as UK/EU for tuition fee purposes.  If you have not resided in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, you are not eligible for a maintenance allowance so you would need an alternative source of funding for living costs. To be eligible for fees-only funding you must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU.  For information on EPSRC residency criteria click here.

Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are NOT eligible for funding. International students interested in studying at the University of Exeter should search our funding database for alternative options.


Application deadline:10th January 2018
Value:3.5 year studentship: UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate. Current rate of £14,553 per year.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Doctoral

How to apply

You will be required to upload the following documents:
•       CV
•       Letter of application outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to
        undertake the project.
•       Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained.  This should be an interim
        transcript if you are still studying.
•       If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your current
        proficiency in English.  For further details of the University’s English language requirements please see

The closing date for applications is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 10 January 2018.  Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter in late February 2018.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email:
Project-specific queries should be directed to the supervisor.

During the application process, the University may need to make certain disclosures of your personal data to third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates.  These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

• the selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;
• administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data (relating to disability and race/ethnicity) will not be disclosed without your explicit consent.