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Human-Building Interaction in a Changing Climate (HBICC): Delivering Resilience in Performance, Wellbeing, Health and Safety [Self-Funded Students Only]

   Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

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  Dr J A Gwilliam, Dr P Eslambolchilar, Dr T Beach, Prof W Poortinga  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Buildings account for about one third of greenhouse gas emissions globally: exacerbated by poor maintenance, building systems inefficiencies and other human activities. Additionally, poorly maintained buildings become increasingly vulnerable to damage caused by the increasing severity of climate change hence becoming even more inefficient in managing energy, waste and quality of overall building. Poorly maintained buildings also pose safety risks to residents (e.g. fire). Multi-occupancy adds further complexity on decision making about occupant comfort and activities.

This PhD project is supervised by staff from Schools of Computer Science, Architecture, Engineering and Psychology would focus on the 3-way interaction between humans, the embedded systems in a building (e.g. IoT), and their digital twins (BIM), where, challenges remain to ensure this interaction is reliable (secure and private), efficient (enabling strong linkage between data), interactive (informative and responsive) and effective. Challenges that are magnified in the context of less developed countries while corresponding opportunities for enhancement are great. Your work would pursue one of the following multi-disciplinary aims:

(1) design secure and trustworthy data flows (qualitative and quantitative) between these three systems,

(2) deliver effective stakeholder interaction (occupants, owners, managers, government, industry, emergency services and general public) enabling understanding of HCI’s application in the built environment and,

(3) design and develop interaction between data flows, digital twins and stakeholders to reduce carbon footprints, enhance health and wellbeing and increase building safety.

For instance, the project will deliver interactive tools to access and to update records of building maintenance (and the quality of maintenance) and safety risk assessments- MOT equivalent for buildings- for relevant stakeholders in a secure manner, to inform families on how their individual or overall family lifestyle and activities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and to help them to make informed decisions on how to reduce emissions while looking after their health, comfort and safety, or to inform emergency services on significant hazards and risks during firefighting in buildings e.g. construction and design, use of the building and so on.

This project will address the one or more of following research questions (but not limited to):

• What is the best way to monitor a building lifecycle while capturing users’ activities and experiences?

• What is the best way to monitor occupants’ safety risk factors in a building?

• How to accurately and securely collect, store, access and modify (building and occupants) data?

• Which interactions between humans, embedded systems and the digital twins are more effective in making positive change in human behaviour, decision making and knowledge sharing for stakeholders and buildings in reducing carbon footprints, climate change adaptation and occupants’ wellbeing, health & safety?

Supervisory Team:

Dr Julie Gwilliam (Welsh School of Architecture), 

Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar (School of Computer Science and Informatics), 

Dr Tom Beach (School of Engineering), 

Prof Wouter Poortinga (School of Psychology), 

Academic Requirements:

A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject. Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to apply:

Please contact the supervisors of the project prior to submitting your application to discuss and develop an individual research proposal that builds on the information provided in this advert. Once you have developed the proposal with support from the supervisors, please submit your application following the instructions provided below

This project is accepting applications all year round, for self-funded candidates via 

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to and upload your Individual research proposal, as mentioned above in BOLD
  • Qualification certificates and Transcripts
  • Proof of Funding. For example, a letter of intent from your sponsor or confirmation of self-funded status (In the funding field of your application, insert Self-Funded)
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact 

Funding Notes

This project is offered for self-funded students only, or those with their own sponsorship or scholarship award.

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