Adapting existing social housing to the needs of today's dwellers

School of Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain

Back to Vacancies


Dr. Leandro Madrazo


Dr. Karim Hadjri, Sheffield School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Prof. Flora Samuel, School of Architecture, University of Reading, UK


INCASOL, Barcelona, Spain

Housing Europe, Brussels, Belgium

Research project

The social housing stock in Europe −in its many spatial configurations, from large housing estates to buildings integrated in the urban fabric− must be continuously upgraded to adapt to the changing needs of inhabitants and to current energy efficiency standards. Many social housing projects have been built for family structures which are no longer predominant, in areas far from city centres, and with poor thermal insulation and inefficient heating and cooling. Today, there is a variety of households for which the built housing units may not be suitable, and as more people spend more time working at home, greater spatial flexibility is needed. In addition, the need to reduce traffic requires better connectivity of the housing estates located in the periphery to the public transport network, as well as a reduction in distances between home and workplace. Finally, since most buildings do not meet current energy efficiency standards, there is an urgent need to improve the insulation of the building envelopes and to foster the installation of distributed and interconnected energy systems.

The renovation of social housing must be addressed in a comprehensive and integrated manner, taking into account the multiple dimensions (spatial, social, economic) and actors involved (owners and residents, local authorities and private developers, housing cooperatives and financial investors, energy service providers and construction companies). Deep housing renovation programmes have social and economic implications, insofar as they can promote the participation of citizens and grassroots movements in the planning of renovation projects to support social cohesion, as well as foster professional training and development programmes for small enterprises. Likewise, building renovation can also help to promote the principles of the circular economy by reducing the need for new construction, using resource-efficient renovation techniques, reusing materials and adapting buildings for new uses.

->To conduct individual research project, interlinked to the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • Rehabilitation and renovation programmes of social housing building stock, at multiple scales which encompass planning, construction, social, financial and regulatory issues
  • Assessment of resource-efficient renovation techniques
  • Assessment frameworks for an integrated analysis of existing social housing stock
  • Matching dwellers’ needs with housing typologies
  • Flexible housing layouts for new ways of living
  • Energy efficiency measures involving the participation of local communities
->To participate in the network-wide activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences)
->To carry out the training required by the PhD programme of the host university.

As part of the individual research project, ESRs will carry out two secondments, each of 2 to 3 months, in the partner organisations.

ESRs are expected to have completed a doctoral thesis that can be defended at the host institution within or shortly thereafter the project lifetime.

Specific requirements
->Masters’ degree in Architecture, Urban Planning, Building Engineering, Civil Engineering, or equivalent
->Professional experience in housing renovation projects, at the urban and building scale in some the phases involved (design, construction, procurement, regulations, etc.) will be of advantage to candidates.
Generic requirements

The candidates must fulfil the eligibility and mobility requirements of the Marie Curie ITN programme:

To be eligible for recruitment within an ITN project, you therefore must – at the date of recruitment – be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained, or in the country in which you are recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. You may therefore be required to provide documentation proving your eligibility for recruitment.
You are therefore required to undertake transnational mobility in order to be eligible for recruitment in an ITN project. As such, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where you have been recruited "for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date"5. Holidays are not counted. Your employer is required to verify this fact, therefore you may be required to provide supporting documentation proving your place(s) of residence or work during the previous 3 years. Note that the mobility rule applies only to your first recruitment within the project, and not to other organisations to which you might be sent on secondment or at which you may subsequently also be recruited. Finally, the mobility rule is related to your residence or main activity and not to your nationality.

Please find here more information about the requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows in Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

About us

FUNITEC, a member institution of the Ramon Llull University, governs the La Salle Schools of Architecture, Engineering, Digital Arts and Business. Research in architecture is structured in three lines of work:1. The design and implementation of building and urban development tools, processes, and strategies to achieve a sustainable built environment 2. The rehabilitation of buildings and urban environments to adapt them to current demands, and 3. The improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings through passive design strategies and the application of ICT technologies.

The group ARC Engineering and Architecture La Salle has over 20 years’ experience in the fields of modular housing and building energy efficiency which have been carried out over national and international research projects. Some examples are the BARCODE HOUSING SYSTEM, the EECITIES platform developed in the FP7 SEMANCO project, the BAUKOM product catalogue compatible with BIM technologies and the ENERHAT and ENERPAT applications to assess the state of the residential building stock and implement rehabilitation measures.


The Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions which include:

->a living allowance (3,120 Euros per month)
->a monthly mobility allowance (600 Euros per month)
->a family allowance (if applicable, 500 Euros per month)

These allowances are used to cover the gross salary, employers’ compulsory deductions and benefits for the three years of the Marie Curie programme. The living allowance is a gross EU contribution to the salary costs of the full-time researcher. The family allowance is an estimated average that will be adapted to the specific conditions of the hired researcher. All three subsidies are subject to the deduction of compulsory social security contributions and income taxes in accordance with the regulations applicable in the country of the host institution. At the end of the three-year contract any possible difference between the gross amounts paid and the amount to be paid according to the programme will be equalized.

Enrolment fees in the PhD programme of the host institution will be covered by the programme during the 36-month period.


Please use this form to provide the following information:

->personal data
->confirmation of compliance with the eligibility and mobility requirements

And the required documentation:

->letter of motivation (maximum 2 pages)
->CV in EUROPASS format
->certificate of English proficiency
->transcripts of your academic degrees (translated into English, by a sworn translator; including ranking of degree classification)
->a research proposal in line with the ESR project (maximum 6 pages), for each ESR project you would like to apply (maximum three)
->if applicable, a professional portfolio
->two reference letters

Prof. Leandro Madrazo (

More information

PhD programme at School of Architecture La Salle

Back to Vacancies