Engineering Doctorate Studentship Developing a new evidence base for high thermal mass buildings

Closing Date: 11th August 2013                                                                     

Desired Start Date: 1st October 2013

Context and Background

An opportunity exists for a Research Engineer to lead a joint research venture between Aggregate Industries, PS Sustainability, Architectural Research and Consulting and Loughborough University as part of the prestigious four-year Engineering Doctorate programme, leading to the award ‘Doctor of Engineering’.

New evidence indicates thermal mass solutions, such as Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) walls, have a more significant effect on indoor temperatures and comfort conditions than is commonly predicted. It has also been found that the concrete core of the ICF wall is not as thermally isolated as might be conventionally expected. This is an important phenomenon to investigate as it suggests standard calculations and building design modelling software is based on inaccurate data and buildings may be over or under designed as a result. Hence, the need exists to investigate the physical behaviour of high thermal mass and derive lessons from new datasets to create a validated evidence base of robust information on low energy, high mass structures.  

Research Aim

The aim of this project is to develop and exploit a new evidence base for high thermal mass construction.

Research Objectives

  • Critically review existing knowledge of the physics of thermal mass in buildings and identify the design and construction ‘performance gap’;
  • Examine and quantify the monitored performance of high mass buildings;
  • Derive new interpretations about the behaviour of thermal mass elements;
  • Produce valid data results that can be applied in practice to help reduce energy consumption in buildings;
  • Deliver recommendations to industry that inform R&D and product development programmes.

Expected Outcomes

  • Validated data that informs the commercial proposition for new high mass products and construction methods.
  • Knowledge on the behaviour of high thermal mass that informs building design, and thereby improves comfort and reduce energy bills for occupants.
  • Scrutiny of previously unexploited datasets that can inform subsequent research within the area.
  • New construction techniques, building methodologies and/or product development ideas to achieve guaranteed levels of performance.   

Suitable Candidates

This EngD research project is open to graduates with a relevant degree in the built environment (building construction, architecture, building physics, building services engineering, building energy, materials etc.) and that are articulate, well qualified and highly motivated. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent. A lower qualification is acceptable only if supplemented with an appropriate postgraduate (MSc/MEng) qualification and relevant industrial experience.


The successful applicant will receive a minimum enhanced tax-free stipend of £19,000 p.a. and a training allowance. The stipend may be higher for experienced graduates. Due to Tier 4 visa restrictions on industry placements, this is only available to UK/EU applicants.

How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted with the relevant supporting documents (see how to apply) and should be made through Loughborough University’s Online Application Portal

The successful candidate will be required to work at aggregate industries in coalville, leicestershire, whilst also attending loughborough university as required.

For informal discussions about the research project please contact Prof Jacqui Glass at

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