Environmental sustainability of future social housing

School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

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Prof. Karim Hadjri


Dr. Krzysztof Nawratek, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Dr. Begoña Serrano, School of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain


Sustainable Towns, Valencia, Spain.

South Yorkshire Housing Association Ltd, Sheffield, UK.

Research project

The world continues to suffer from significant environmental problems such as pollution, excessive waste and a reliance on fossil fuels, leading to climate change. There is urgent need to produce policies and guidelines to guide environmental sustainability, which will help achieve low-carbon construction and lifestyles. The built environment and housing in particular can play a major role in attaining environmental sustainability through recycling of building materials and energy efficient construction and housing.

The purpose of this project is to review current sustainability standards used for housing provision to establish environmental sustainability performance of existing low-carbon housing, and to identify the environmental sustainability building standards which will be required to meet low-carbon targets. The overall aim is to develop new guidelines for affordable sustainable homes.

Qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used to identify and develop environmental building standards. This will help establish current issues with achieving low-carbon social housing and the steps and approaches needed to reach the delivery of affordable and sustainable homes within the framework of social housing.

The project will have secondments at Sustainable Towns to analyse co-design processes in sustainable community development; and at South Yorkshire Housing Association to understand the needs of sustainable development initiatives and co-creation processes.

->To conduct individual research project, interlinked with the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • Reviewing current sustainability standards
  • Identifying environmental building standards
  • Analysis of co-design in sustainable community developments
  • Using qualitative and quantitative research tools to inform the development of guidelines
  • Development of a framework to achieve affordable low-carbon homes
  • Involvement of residents in the building lifecycle to reduce the energy performance gap
->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 3 months, at 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
->Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a relevant subject area
->Masters’ degree in Architecture, Building Engineering, Civil Engineering, or equivalent
->Experience with BIM software and energy simulation tools
->It is desirable that candidates have professional experience in housing design and construction with industrialized procedures
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 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 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 are applying to for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. 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 more information about the requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows in Innovative Training Networks here

About us

The Sheffield School of Architecture is a large, lively and diverse School with a strong social and ethical tradition, as befits a School within a Faculty of Social Sciences. The School has a strong reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching (joint first in the UK National Student Survey 2016). The Architect’s Journal Top 100 Survey rates us as one of the best UK Schools outside London, and we are the only School consistently within the top five as ranked across all the main UK league tables.

Research is currently carried out in three research groups: Space, Cultures and Politics; Design, Engagement and Practice; People, Environments and Performance. Each group brings together academic staff, researchers and postgraduate research students within common areas of interest. In addition, the School develops world class practice-based research within the work of staff and students through collaborative leadership and collegiate support. We have the first academic ‘Urban Room’ in the UK, via our LiveWorks, project which encourages engaged research in the community.


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

->a living allowance (4,571 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.


Applicants are requested to submit the following information and documentation through this form and through the form of the University of Sheffield.

->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. Karim Hadjri (

More information

PhD programme at the Sheffield School of Architecture

Working at University of Sheffield

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