2023 - 2026
PhD position on “Acute dynamic physiological reaction and perception” at La Rochelle University, France
The Laboratory of Engineering Sciences for the Environment LaSIE (UMR CNRS 7356) - Sustainable Buildings and Cities (BVD) research group - at La Rochelle University, France is seeking a PhD Student (f/m/d) in the field of multi-sensory perception of indoor spaces
The position starts on 2nd May 2023 and is a full-time position funded for a period of three years.
La Rochelle University, founded in 1993, is one of the youngest Universities in France. Despite its short history, the University has recently launched the LUDI Institute with the ambition of becoming a global leader in higher education and research in the subject area of Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability. The LUDI Institute accommodates 440 permanent staff, and more than 230 PhD students, and delivers about 500 high-quality publications per year in international journals. The University has partnerships with 87 and 67 Universities in and outside Europe respectively and coordinates EU-CONEXUS, an alliance with four other European Universities which are receiving 5 million euros in the next three years to boost their cooperation in teaching, research and innovation towards the creation of a European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability.
The Laboratory of Engineering Sciences for the Environment LaSIE is one of the 10 research units of the LUDI Institute and is a joined laboratory with the prestigious French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The researchers of LaSIE can count on the aid of 13 technicians and engineers, plus 5 administrative assistants.
The Sustainable Buildings and Cities (BVD) research group is part of the LaSIE and focuses on problems of energy efficiency and energy flexibility in buildings, indoor environmental control, and urban microclimate that are addressed with both experimental and numerical approaches and at different temporal and spatial scales, from the material (microscopic scale) to the city level. Great research efforts are dedicated to the development of new envelope solutions, HVAC systems and urban layouts to optimize energy and environmental performances. An increasing number of the group’s projects include interdisciplinary aspects of human thermal comfort and occupant behaviour in buildings.
The position is part of the MSCA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions) DN (Doctoral Network) MuSIC (Multi-sensory Solutions for Increasing human-building resilience in face of Climate change). Climate change is leading to more frequent and severe extreme climate phenomena, affecting both vulnerable subpopulations like children, the elderly, and the poor, as well as healthy people and their well-being. To increase human-building resilience against climate change, active building solutions are often sought and promoted. However, they require a substantial energy use and thereby generate further environmental impact and/or lead to adverse effects like increased noise or pollutions. Also, these solutions protect from exposures rather than actually increasing human resilience. On the contrary, passive and hybrid solutions do not contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, but are often regarded as less robust and predictable and are affected by design challenges and potential rebound effects. For example, increased use of solar shading may affect lighting requirements, and night-time ventilation may influence indoor noise levels. With this multi-disciplinary multi-sectoral MSCA doctoral network, MuSIC will address these challenges within the context of the existing European building stock and will provide solutions from the human-centred viewpoint. 5 academic and 1 non-academic beneficiaries together with 2 academic and 3 non-academic associated partners will strive for educating the next generation of highly qualified young professionals able to provide future generations with more liveable and sustainable indoor and outdoor spaces in and management systems of cities by applying cutting-edge solutions, multi-sensory and multi-dimensional research and industrial development. 10 early-stage researchers will experience interdisciplinary and intersectoral training modules on science and technology as well as transferable skills and conduct individual R&D projects for improved understanding and predictability of human reactions and innovative human-centric building- and community-related solutions for increasing human-building resilience in the face of climate change.
The individual research project (IRP) no. 2 is titled “Acute dynamic physiological reaction and perception”. The objectives are to identify physiological (mainly skin and core body temperature but also heart rate) and perceptual reactions and how they relate under acute dynamic environmental conditions. In particular, the cross-modal effects of visual and air quality dynamic stimuli on human thermal perception will be investigated. A model of dynamic IEQ control will be created for developing innovative strategies for peak load reduction and load shaping in buildings.
To complement the experience and training in La Rochelle, the project includes planned secondments at University Hospital RWTH Aachen in Germany (Professor M. Schweiker at months M12-14) and Universidad de Murcia in Spain (Dr A.P. Ramallo-González at months M20-22).
The candidate interested in interdisciplinary and international work is expected to focus on the planning and implementation of a research project at the interface between engineering and physiology. Tasks include :
- Identification of relevant dynamic environmental (thermal, acoustic, lighting, and air quality) stimuli, development of an experimental protocol and definition of a physiological monitoring methodology ; ethical and data protection clearance
- Performing dynamic comfort experiments with human subjects focusing, in particular, on cross-modal effects of visual and air quality dynamic stimuli on thermal perception
- Creation and validation of a dynamic IEQ control model
The candidate is required to have an excellent master’s degree or equivalent with a focus on thermal/energy/building/mechanical engineering, bioengineering, physiology, or similar disciplines and NOT to have any kind of PhD degree. Previous research experience, although appreciated, is not mandatory. Good oral communication skills in English are compulsory. Willingness to travel internationally for the purpose of research, training and dissemination is mandatory.
Additional appreciated skills and competences are
- Experience in the design, implementation and statistical analysis of scientific studies with human subjects
- Knowledge regarding the interaction between humans and the environment with regard to the indoor thermal climate (priority), as well as visual and air quality conditions on physiological, psychological and/or behavioural reactions
- Outstanding research interest in interdisciplinary and internationally visible research
- Willingness to acquire appropriate French language skills for subject communication
- Independent and accurate work ethic, a strong sense of responsibility, the ability to integrate into a team and project management skills
Doctoral Candidates (DCs) appointments are full-time fixed term for 36 months. Candidates matching the required profile will be evaluated until a successful candidate is appointed. There are strict eligibility rules associated with the recruitment in MSCA Innovative Training Networks.
Career : At the time of recruitment, the DC must hold a Master degree giving access to PhD. A PhD degree in any field is not compatible with this DC position.
Mobility : Transnational mobility is an essential requirement of MSCA Doctoral Networks. At the time of recruitment, the DC must not have resided in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date and not have carried out in France his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.). Applicants must be aware that seconding periods are planned for this position as described above.
Language : A good knowledge of spoken and written English is required and will be evaluated during the selection process.
How to apply
The applicant shall provide the following documents in English :
- Filled out and signed application form that can be accessed at : https://tinyurl.com/AppFormMuSIC
- Detailed Curriculum Vitae (CV) highlighting, if any, research activities.
- Letter of motivation with a focus on the research topic and including expectations related to the Applicant’s role in the project.
- Copy of university diplomas and study certificates translated into English or French (please note that an official translation is NOT needed for the application, but it will be needed later for recruitment if the candidate is appointed).
- Academic transcript of marks/grades from the last year and penultimate year of study.
- Abstract of final thesis/dissertation from the last year of study (max 1 page).
- One recommendation/reference letter from a former training director or a former supervisor on the Applicant’s ambition of pursuing a doctoral project.
- Journal or conference scientific papers if they exist.
The documents shall be sent to Professor Christian Inard (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Marika Vellei (email@example.com). A confirmation message will be sent upon submission.
With the submission of the documents, applicants agree that the documents will be shared among all PIs of the MuSIC consortium and additional members of the respective search committees.
We accept applications until the 28th of February 2023.
For further information, please contact Professor Christian Inard (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Marika Vellei (email@example.com)
Evaluation and interview
The selection process will consist of an evaluation of CVs, motivation letters and other documents provided as well as at least one interview (additional interviews could be required). The documents will be evaluated according to their completeness, relevant expertise and knowledge, dedication to the topic of the project, university scores and demonstrated English language skills. The interview(s) will take place at the host institution or, for those candidates who are not able to travel to La Rochelle (France), by internet connection. During the interview, the motivation to complete PhD, mastering project topics, personality, English command and communication skills will be assessed as well as potentially the knowledge transfer capability, independent thinking and the level of maturity in dealing with scientific issues. The candidates will be ranked according to both their records and the interview(s). The candidate at the highest ranking position will be offered the position. If, for any reason, the selected candidate will decline the offer or will fail to comply with the requirements for enrolment in the position, the one following in the list will be selected.
Rights and responsibilities of researchers participating in Marie Skłodwska-Curie Actions
The European Charter for Researchers is a set of general principles and requirements which specify the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of both researchers and the employers and/or funders of researchers. The aim of the Charter is to ensure that the nature of the relationship between researchers and employers or funders is conducive to successful performance in generating, transferring, sharing and disseminating knowledge and technological development and to the career development of the researchers.
It is obligatory for applicants to read and understand the detailed information regarding the rights and responsibilities of researchers engaged in an MSCA Doctoral Network.
The European Charter for researchers can be accessed at : https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/european-charter
Employment contract and remuneration
The selected candidate will be appointed under a 36-months full-time employment contract.
The gross amount per year of the allowances includes the salary (47,491.2€), the mobility allowance (7,200€) and a family allowance, if eligible (7,920€). These gross amounts include all compulsory deductions under French national applicable legislation.