INFORM - Investigating the National Implications For RadOn Concentrations Following Deep Energy-Efficient Retrofits; Multiple metric assessment approach

   Department of Experimental Physics

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About the Project

Post Title: Funded postgraduate research studentship in radon following energy-efficient retrofits dwellings

Application deadline: 26/05/2023

Project description

The INFORM project, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is an interdisciplinary study that will comprehensively assess the pre/post radon concentrations following deep energy-retrofits strategies and estimate the associated health and economic impacts of the proposed large-scale national renovation strategy. Currently, there is an international knowledge gap regarding the implications of deep energy-efficient retrofits on indoor radon concentrations, and there are no existing Irish data. This project is led by Maynooth University with collaborators at the University of Galway and University College Dublin. As a part of this team, the successful student will have regular meetings with these research collaborators, which gives a significant opportunity for experience in an interdisciplinary team.

Applications are invited for an MSc or a PhD student to join the INFORM project. The student will design a radon monitoring campaign to identify the main predictors of changes in radon indoors following energy retrofits. The student will need to engage with national agencies to recruit dwellings, engage with homeowners, and coordinate the distribution of radon detectors. In addition, the candidate will work alongside a separately-recruited postdoctoral researcher who will support the student during the project.

This student will be co-supervised by Dr James McGrath (Maynooth University) and Dr Miriam Byrne (University of Galway). The successful candidate will join an active research group spread across these two universities with experience and expertise in indoor air and environmental quality, building simulations, aerosol science and ventilation.

The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and have a demonstrable interest in fields related to indoor/outdoor air pollution, environmental engineering, radiation protection and/or physics.

In addition, the candidate must have the following qualifications/skills:

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours degree and/or Masters level in a Physical Science or Engineering or equivalent discipline
  • Be prepared to work in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Excellent verbal and written communication (English language) skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Willingness to learn approaches to understanding indoor air pollution, ventilation and energy status of buildings

The scholarship will provide an annual stipend (tax-free) of €18,500 and full tuition fees will

be covered for two years, with the potential for progression beyond this point being subject to review. The student will be based at the Department of Experimental Physics, Maynooth University.

The successful candidate will be offered opportunities for developing their career in several directions:

·     Management skills

Develop skills in environmental monitoring campaigns involving designing experiments, recruitment strategies and analysing results. This experience will help students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and scientific research skills.

·     Data Science and Statistical Expertise

Develop expertise in statistical analysis from analysing the datasets generated during data collection.

·     Radiological Protection

Exposure to radon measurement techniques, environmental monitoring strategies, radon mitigation approaches, radiation safety regulations and protocols.

·     Building Physics

In addition to specific training in radon and radiological protection, the student will learn building physics, ventilation and energy-retrofit strategies. 

·     Policy experience

Exposure to policy and health guidelines will be gained by contributing as a scientific advisor to public bodies

Expected start date: August/September 2023

For informal discussions, contact Dr James McGrath at [Email Address Removed]

Application Procedure: Applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae, two referees (at least one academic), and a personal statement (max 1-page) outlining their academic experience, interests, and motivation for pursuing a PhD.

Please include “INFORM - Student Studentship” in the subject of your e-mail. Those who are shortlisted will be contacted for an interview.

E-mail Address: [Email Address Removed]

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MU Department of Experimental Physics is strongly committed to promoting equality and diversity, and holds an Institute of Physics Juno Supporter award. 

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 About the Project