PhD in Energy & Environmental

Project title: Passive Cooling in Cities: A Multi-scale Modelling Approach

First Supervisor:  Dr Zhiwen Luo, School of the Built Environment

Co-Supervisors: Prof Sue Grimmond, Dr Ting Sun, Department of Meteorology

Project Overview:   

Passive cooling (e.g.  Natural ventilation) is regarded as an important building technology to reduce energy consumption, overheating risk and promote sustainability in the built environment. However, passive cooling potential is highly restricted and influenced by outdoor climate at both meso- and urban-scale. For example, natural ventilation potential is predominately restricted in an urban area (e.g. London) by reduced wind speeds, elevated air temperature and air pollution within it. An accurate estimation of passive cooling potential in an urban area could assist climate-responsive architectural design during the conceptual design stage, for the purpose of minimizing carbon emissions and the delivery of healthy and comfortable living environment. In this PhD project, based on our previous work, we will develop an integrated building-urban thermal modeling tool to estimate the passive cooling potential in the cities, and in return, how those different passive cooling technologies (e.g., natural ventilation, thermal mass, reflective material) could impact on urban climate.

This fully funded PhD combines the fields of architectural environmental engineering and urban meteorology. It will continue the strong collaboration between School of the Built Environment (SBE) and Department of Meteorology (DoM) at the University of Reading. SBE was ranked 6th by research power in the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning Unit of assessment, and DoM was ranked 3rd by research power in the Earth and Environment Sciences sub-panel in REF2014 in the UK.


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or MSc Degree equivalent in engineering (e.g., mechanical engineering, architectural engineering, building physics),  physics, or meteorology, urban physics/climate, with strong knowledge in heat transfer and fluid mechanics.
  • The students should demonstrate strong programming skills using MATLAB, Python or other languages.
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students. International students may apply but must confirm that they are able to pay the difference between the home and international fee rate (approx. £15,000pa) themselves.


Funding Details:   

  • Starts Oct 2019
  • 4 year award
  • Tuition fees plus RUCK stipend £15,009 per annum


How to apply:   

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Energy & Environmental Engineering at

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote the reference ‘GS19-104’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) As the studentship is project-based, the applicant does not need to upload a project proposal. When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please omit this step.

Further Enquiries:  

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

For further details please contact Dr Zhiwen Luo 

  • Application deadline: Sep 30, 2019
  • University of Reading
  • School of the Built Environment (SBE) and Department of Meteorology (DoM)
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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