University College London Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
The Francis Crick Institute Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Design-Led Building Performance for Primary Schools (Advert Reference: SF18-2/ABE/ALWAN)

  • Full or part time
    Dr Z Alwan
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Green building design has been a main driver for many new commercial projects in recent years and schools have been no exception, many requiring green benchmarking certification such as LEED or BREEAM. However, the drive for early stage environmental and energy consideration has not always translated to better performing school buildings. In addition, most projects do not consider design for well-being or user interaction within the internal environment.

How can school design be improved to deliver a better learning experience? Children’s learning experiences are different to adults’ in terms of light, acoustics and other visual perceptions which aid the learning activities. For example, studies have demonstrated that a good daylight factor rather than artificial lighting, and improved acoustic design can help the learning experience. What important aspects are therefore missing from the design process that could help to deliver better learning environments for young people?

The PhD work will focus on existing buildings and retrofitting potential of schools, in terms of improvement of school building performance and user satisfaction. Schools could be based in the UK, Europe or in an international context, and could cover some or all aspects from design and human interaction to BIM and digital specifications.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in architecture, engineering, construction, computing or technology discipline; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in social housing, sustainability, building performance, BIM. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18-2/ABE/ALWAN) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender quality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

Please note this PhD position is a self-funded project and does not include fees. Funding can be secured through the applicant by self funding or governmental or institutional backing. Northumbria University fee band 3 will apply.


Parnell, R., & Procter, L. (2011). Flexibility and place making for autonomy in learning. Educational and Child Psychology, 28(1), 77.

Edwards B. W. (2006). Environmental design and educational performance: with particular reference to ‘green’ schools in Hampshire and Essex. Research in Education. 76(1),14-32.

Julian Treasure TED talk

Alwan, Z. (2016). BIM performance framework for the maintenance and refurbishment of housing stock. Structural Survey 34 (3), 242-255.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.