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  Technology assessment and implementation for decarbonization of infrastructure aligned with the net zero regulations

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

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  Dr G Medero, Prof Tadhg O'Donovan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Heriot-Watt University, supported by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO), has developed the CleanTech initiative where companies with low carbon solutions demonstrate their technologies. This is an on-going initiative that this PhD research project will have full access to relevant data, related information, and technologies. This PhD project will focus on the built environment solutions, with already collected and on-going monitoring data, together, with the influence of the location in terms of functionality and performance, weather influence and the requirements and limitations due to local regulations. The project will take advantage of the different campuses locations of Heriot-Watt and develop a comparison study of the viability and impact of the technologies implementation in the different regions in terms of carbon emission, resource efficiency, circular models, and economic feasibility. Decarbonizing infrastructure is vital to deliver the net zero targets in the UK and globally, as the built environment alone is responsible for over 40% of the global emissions. The project will also investigate the sustainability and performance of technologies to select those to be implemented in a living lab infrastructure in Edinburgh campus. Part of this assessment will be the examination of local effect in terms of weather, regulations and policies, technology capabilities, market acceptance and how best to introduce the technologies in the context of each locality.


This project is open to all students, whether home, EU or overseas.

The successful candidate will have at least an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree in the relevant subject area and ideally a Masters Degree. We may also consider candidates who can demonstrate appropriate alternative learning such as experience gained in the workplace or professional qualifications.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.  

How to Apply

To apply you must complete our online application form.

Please select PhD Civil Engineering as the programme and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor name on your application form. Ensure that all fields marked as ‘required’ are complete.

Once have entered your personal details, click submit. You will be asked to upload your supporting documents. You must complete the section marked project proposal; provide a supporting statement (1-2 A4 pages) documenting your reasons for applying to this particular project, outlining your suitability and how you would approach the project. You must also upload your CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and an academic reference in the relevant section of the application form.

You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0, or a TOEFL certificate with an overall score of at least 85, including reading 20, listening 19, speaking 20 and writing 21. Alternatively, if you have received an English-taught Bachelors or Masters degree from one of the countries listed on the UK Government Guidance under ‘Who does not need to prove their knowledge of English’, and it was obtained less than two years from your intended start date, you should provide evidence of your award that clearly states it was delivered and assessed in English language.

The primary supervisor for this project is Gabi Medero and second supervisor is Tadhg O’Donovan. Please contact [Email Address Removed] for further information or an informal discussion.

Please contact [Email Address Removed] for technical support with your application.


The closing date for applications is 22 March 2024 and applicants must be available to start in September 2024.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

James Watt Scholarship
This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees (Home and Overseas) and provide an annual stipend (£19,237 in 2024-25) for 42 months. Thereafter, candidates will be expected to pay a continuing affiliation fee (currently £130) whilst they complete writing up their thesis.
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