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Apply now for 2 new PhD studentships available in energy

15 March 2013


The UCL Energy Institute has two fully funded PhD studentships available for the next academic year (September 2013 start) for the following exciting energy related projects.

Funding: Enhanced stipend £18,000 per annum + UK/EU fees + substantial research budget
Funding body: EPSRC and EDF Energy R&D UK – 42 months
Start date: September 2013
Application deadline:  Tuesday 30th April 2013 12.00

Project 1

Measuring the impact, including rebound effects, of domestic energy efficiency retrofit in individual properties – UCL Energy Institute, Tadj Oreszczyn

The research project will examine the impact that individual retrofit measures have on energy use and comfort taking in UK dwellings. There is currently a gap between the energy saving of a particular energy efficiency technology  in an individual building and models such as SAP used to evaluate the effectiveness of energy technologies. There are several explanations for this gap including “comfort taking”/”rebound effects”, poor installation of technologies and poor empirical data. This project will look at the development of novel methods to measure and analyse the impact on energy and comfort of an energy efficiency intervention to try and determine the extent that any gap may be due to poor installation or comfort taking.

The project will build on previous work involving the analysis of existing or soon to be collected data sets from a large sample of dwellings that have undergone energy efficiency retrofits. In addition, the project will involve the study of uncertainty in energy, environment and building measurement and the development of novel algorithms to interpret environmental and energy data. This studentship is part funded by EDF R&D and will be located within the new £6m RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology at the UCL Energy Institute. This is an exciting opportunity to join one of the leading energy and building research establishments and spend time working with one of the leading energy utilities. Read full project details here including how to apply

Who we are looking for? Candidates should have a good first degree (first class or 2:1) in engineering, mathematics, physics or any other relevant subject.

Project 2

Intuitive User Toolbox for Visualising Home Energy Usage Data –  Based in UCL Computer Sciences, Dr Duncan Brumby,

With the roll out of Smart Meters to many homes around the country, end-users and utility companies will gain greater access to energy usage data. This opens up opportunities for original research to be conducted. For instance, as energy prices go up, customers will likely want to “see” and understand how they are consuming energy – but how should this data be presented to the user so that they can easily make sense of it?

We are looking for a student to develop a user toolbox that can be used to help end-users to better understand their energy usage patterns. There has been prior work in developing toolboxes for innovation and design that have been offered by companies looking to leverage their business client’s creativity. There has also been work developing a toolbox to remix Web Content. The aim of the current project is to develop a similar virtual toolbox for data manipulation and visualisation for home energy usage data.

A further direction that this project may take is in envisioning future services based on analyses of data collected from people’s homes. For instance, it might be possible for a utility company to inform a customer that their fridge is consuming twice the energy that it should be. But given that energy data collected by Smart Meters will only be shared with utility companies on an Opt-In basis, a critical challenge is to first understand how people can be motivated to share their personal data with utility companies. Read full project details here including how to apply.

Who we are looking for? Candidates should have a good first degree (1st or 2:1) in computer science, human-computer interaction, experimental psychology or closely related discipline. Candidates should have strong programming skills and have good knowledge of research methods and data analyse techniques. Relevant research experience is highly desirable, as are good communication and presentation skills.