Urban living labs and the role of users in the co-creation of sustainable housing

Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Back to Vacancies


Dr. Nadia Charalambous


Dr. Andreas Savvides, Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Dr. Gábor Csanádi, Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary


Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

Research project

Collaboration across sectors and between stakeholders, as well as citizen participation, plays an increasingly important role in the delivery of sustainable housing. New, innovative forms of collaborative governance are being developed and tested in cities to address sustainability challenges, such as the Urban Living Labs (ULLs). As a real-world laboratory case, ULLs offer opportunities to promote sustainability in cities, encompassing a process where individuals, groups and organisations share a common vision and play an active role in making decisions that affect them. Terms such as co-creation, participation, empowerment, public-private-people partnerships are often used to describe the collaborative aspects of ULLs, which are characterised by a) their experimental setting, b) the transdisciplinary knowledge that is co-created among diverse stakeholders and c) their transformative potential. The ULLs capacity to initiate change can help to address socio-economic and environmental challenges in housing.

The need to reflect on the role of citizens and other stakeholders in collaborative governance structures in general and in ULLs in particular, arises from a number of recent studies and will be addressed in this research with respect to a) governance structures, leadership and power distribution, b) levels of users involvement, c) means and methods by which users are involved in the design, implementation and evaluation activities and d) the relationship between the level of citizen participation and the transformative potential of their involvement.

The expected outcome of this research is a framework for the application of ULLs to affordable and sustainable housing. The framework aims to provide a comprehensive toolkit for a wide audience of housing actors, from architects and urban planners to community groups, NGOs, policy makers and local authorities.

->To conduct individual research project, interlinked with the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • Reviewing and evaluating the outputs and benefits of participatory practices in housing design
  • Developing principles to define and evaluate co-production processes, making them accessible and understandable to a wide audience of housing actors
  • Analysing and evaluating the role of users and governance structures as well as leadership and power relations in ULLs case studies
  • Implementing focus groups with local communities, NGOs, policy-makers for housing design to inform the ULLs framework
  • Examining shared collaborative platforms– mostly digital –created to facilitate the collaboration between citizens and other stakeholders
->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 two 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
->Professional degree in Architecture, Urban Planning or fields related to housing development, in particular, and, in general, to the built environment
->Masters’ degree in Architecture, Urban Planning, Housing Studies, or equivalent
->Sound knowledge of, and experience with, quantitative and qualitative research methods
->Excellent written, verbal and visual representation skills
->An excellent command of English (C1 or C2)
->It is desirable that candidates have professional experience in participatory design strategies for local development
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 University of Cyprus, established in 1989, is a vigorous community of scholars engaged in the generation and diffusion of knowledge. The main objectives of the university are twofold: the promotion of scholarship and education through teaching and research, and the enhancement of the cultural, social and economic development of Cyprus. High-calibre scholarly research is one of the main pillars of development of UCY and has been a central tenant in its mission statement since the University's establishment. In recent years, the University has become internationally recognized as a leading research institution for its contribution to the advancement of science and culture. This recognition has brought the University substantial external research funding as well as a number of highly prestigious chairs of excellence.

UCY comprises 9 faculties, 22 departments and 11 research units. The Department of Architecture leading this ESR project, and the department’s research labs, offer expertise on both the design and sustainability of housing as well as on the educational framework needed to address the design of sustainable housing environments, focusing on the synergistic relationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability.


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

->a living allowance (2,701 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

Dr. Nadia Charalambous (

More information

PhD programme at the Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus

Working at UCY

Back to Vacancies