Robust Climate Change Projections for the Built Environment - Engineering - EPSRC DTP funded PhD Studentship Ref: 2965

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
Prof Mat Collins

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Project Description
EPSRC PhD funding is available to study the most recent climate change projections and investigate the potential impacts on the built environment.

It is well known that climate change will have a significant impact on UK building design and energy use. The predicted changes in temperature will be large enough to cause significant discomfort in our buildings. To plan for these changes we will need robust predictions of the future climate suitable for use in building simulation models. There has been much interest in creating such predictions but these have generally been based on very low resolution climate data, considered a subset of climatic variables and often the level of uncertainty is high. Previous projections have provided projections up to the 2080s but these are at a relatively low temporal resolution and ignore the possibility of variability.

In this PhD we will produce a robust set of climate change predictions for use with risk assessments in the built environment. We will use the next set of climate change projections as the basis for this work. Existing methods for investigating the impacts of climate change will either need to be redeveloped or completely reimagined. We will study methodologies to produce climate data which is representative of the most recent science and evolve over time. This approach would allow us to investigate potential tipping points. For example, the point where a building would require air conditioning to maintain thermal comfort or the point at which natural ventilation may not be sufficient to prevent overheating. Sensitivity analysis will need to be used to determine what variables are significantly changing and whether these variables have a significant effect on building design.

The ideal candidate will have an interest in modelling climate change or in predicting the impacts of climate change. This project will suit a student with a statistics, mathematics, building physics or related background. The student will also collaborate with the met office with support from Mike Sanderson from the Applied Science team.

Entry Requirements
You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Maths, Physics, Engineering or Computer Science. Experience in climate change modelling or impact assessment 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.