PhD candidate in Energy Efficiency

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
april 14, 2021
Job Type


We have a vacancy for a PhD candidate at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities (FME ZEN) was established at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Independent Institute for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation (SINTEF) supported by the Research Council of Norway (NFR) in 2016 to develop solutions for buildings and urban areas of the future, solutions that contribute to the zero-emission society can be realized. The work was organized in packages where multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary collaboration are crucial to finding the good solutions.

The package WP3 (Responsive and energy efficient buildings) is responsible for finding sustainable solutions for significant reduction in energy demand towards energy independency, including the use of renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources.

Background for the position and knowledge needs
A refurbished and improved building stock in the EU will help pave the way for a decarbonised and clean energy system, as the building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in Europe and is responsible for more than one third of the EU's emissions. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Currently, roughly 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, yet almost 85-95% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050. Renovation of both public and private buildings is an essential measure in this context, and has been singled out in the European Green Deal as a key initiative to drive energy efficiency in the sector and deliver on objectives.

European Commission, Published: 04.06.20, Last update: 18.01.21, Renovation wave | Energy (

'Existing buildings that are to be retrofitted, with their specific location and geometry, are facing technical obstacles that can be difficult to avoid within reasonable measures. Since in this case it is difficult to determine the quality of existing materials and components at the beginning of the building process, retrofitted buildings are more exposed to unpredictable costs along the way.

In addition, the pre-approved detailed solutions are often developed to be implemented in new constructions. These challenges often stop retrofitting projects from being started/completed.

The main goal of the project is to find sustainable retrofitting scenarios as well as optimized and detailed solutions based on specific selected cases, such as complex buildings with the office and university function, which can be considered as pilot ZEN projects related to the development of NTNU campus; sustainable solutions which in turn can be considered for other buildings and effectively increase the frequency of sustainable retrofitting projects in Norway.

The workplace of the PhD candidate will be at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (IBM) and the Building Technology (BT) group which is responsible for research and teaching within the design of sustainable and functional buildings, with special focus on material use and the building envelope
The PhD-position and the project “Sustainable solutions for retrofitting existing buildings towards zero emission neighborhoods” is connected to the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities, and the candidate will be a part of an established and interdisciplinary research community.

You will report to supervising associate professor.

Duties of the position

  • The PhD-candidate will work at finding optimal solutions and developing methods for evaluation the sustainability of solutions to be used for retrofitting existing buildings in terms of technical requirements and recommendations regarding all the relevant fields with a focus on optimization of the building envelope energy performance
  • Specific topics can include, but are not limited to: finding complete and optimal packages with technical solutions, including HVAC systems and systems for renewable and non-polluting energy production such as building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), that can improve existing buildings performance towards zero emission neighborhoods (ZEN)
  • The candidate may work in collaboration with parallel research groups and projects in the domain of developing materials, components and systems for energy optimalization towards zero emission neighborhoods (ZEN)

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Sustainable Architecture, Sustainable Energy or related fields with documented knowledge of Building Physics or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

We seek highly motivated candidates who have:

  • strong background in one or more of the mentioned areas, preferably with a research-oriented master thesis in a related field
  • documented skills/experience with design and 3D-modelling of complex buildings
  • documented skills/experience with energy calculating and simulating additionally
  • the successful applicant should be highly competent and with excellent English qualifications, both written and oral

Preferred selection criteria

  • skills/experience with evaluation of conditions related to heat, air and moisture transfer are considered as a plus
  • knowledge of Norwegian building technology is considered as a plus
  • knowledge of a Scandinavian language is considered as a plus

Personal characteristics

We seek highly motivated candidates who:

  • are creative and able to challenge the status quo as well as promote new initiatives
  • are good at anticipating problems and identifying logical solutions as well as contradictions and inconsistencies
  • can acquire new knowledge quickly and to use existing knowledge in new ways
  • can work independently and take responsibility for the results
  • can collaborate in a team with others with respect for established ethical lines for research and development wo

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Civil and Environmental Engineering ( within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas from both bachelor and master
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment
  • Copies of transcripts and reference letters should be submitted
  • Name and address of two referees

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Bozena Dorota Hrynyszyn, telephone +47 73559528, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Hege Johansen, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via (IDsearch 203654) with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).  It is important that you read this link:

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-105/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 25.04.2021

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