PhD Student in Arctic Construction and Building Practice

Friday 14 Jun 19

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Apply no later than 15 September 2019
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DTU Byg announces one or more 3-year PhD position(s) summer 2019, funded under the research project ABC - Arctic Building Practice. The project started in 2018 and, over a four-year period, will investigate arctic construction practice in a broad sense, based on Greenland. Read more about the project here.

The research project is carried out in collaboration with Aalborg University / Department of Planning, the National Building Research Institute, the School of Architecture KADK and Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland) as well as a number of Greenlandic private and public stakeholders.

The research project comprises five sub-projects:
  1. Building construction and climate
  2. Process
  3. Sustainability
  4. Urban planning and architecture
  5. Users

The PhD project is particularly related to Sub-project 1 – Building construction / design and climate (with particular focus on the climatic impact on the building envelope and indoor climate), as well as on Sub-project 2 - Process (i.e. client decisions, building design, logistics, construction management, etc.).

Why is this research important?

Greenlandic housing is relatively new, and the construction practice is constantly evolving. There are virtually no homes older than 60 years, and almost every decade has offered a new practice of building. Almost all residential buildings are standard projects. The development has been so fast that it has rarely been possible to gather experience and evaluate before the practice has moved in a new direction. This also applies to today's construction.


The project aims to investigate and evaluate typical newer buildings in order to achieve a better understanding of the relation between construction technology, the climatic impact, the risk of damage, the indoor climate, energy consumption and user behavior in a Greenlandic / Arctic context. The study includes both detached/semidetached  houses and multi-storey buildings.


This can enable optimization of future construction, with fewer errors, better economy and greater user satisfaction as some of the results. The results of the project will not only benefit Greenland, but also aim in other parts of the world that are affected by the same conditions, i.e. extreme climate and island operations. In pace with climate change, conflicts and refugee flows, areas with these characteristics are becoming increasingly common.

Project description

The aim is to assess which types of building envelope constructions are best suited for the arctic climate, in terms of durability, energy consumption and resulting indoor climate, as well as to identify causes of possible faults or insufficient functionality.

Data are collected from:
  • Approx. 15 residential buildings (standard projects) in Greenland (Nuuk and Sisimiut), where measuring equipment is mounted in the building envelope to continuously detecting moisture and temperature
  • Local weather stations
  • Interviews with the stakeholders in the construction industry: consultants, engineers, architects, contractors, authorities, owners etc.
  • The DTU test house, which is being built in Nuuk in 2019, and which is to be continuously documented through a measurement program on temperature, humidity and indoor climate.
  • The test pavilion - with various building envelope constructions -, to be built in Nuuk next to the test house
  • Assessment of older apartment buildings (standard projects) that have a need for a renovation.

Within the overall framework, there are several opportunities for PhD projects. Project description for the specific PhD project is agreed with the project manager of the ABC project. Applicants can - after agreement with the project manager - receive one month's prior appointment as a research assistant to formulate the details of the PhD project targeting the applicant’s profile.

  • Master's degree as a civil engineer or architect, or a similar degree with an academic level corresponding to the master's degree.
  • Background in building construction, including the building envelope, energy consumption and indoor climate
  • Preference will be given to applicants who are acquainted with the Arctic
  • Preference will be given to applicants who are acquainted with sustainable construction, and/or hygrothermal calculations
  • Work experience will likewise be prioritized.
  • The main language of the project is Danish, but scientific articles must be published in English
  • Applicants whose main language is not Danish can apply if they have basic knowledge in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, and follow Danish lessons during the course. The project will entail, among other things, interviews and dialogue with stakeholders in Greenland, who are not expected to be able to contribute in English.

The study will involve a number of travels to Greenland of 2-4 weeks duration.


The candidate is expected to be self-motivated and to publish the project results in international peer-reviewed journals.


Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by:

Professor arctic construction Eva B. Møller and associate professor Tove Lading at the section Building Design and Process.


We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.


You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information

Further information may be obtained from associate professor Tove Lading, tel.+45 4525 1738.


Please submit your online application no later than 15 September 2019.


Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.


Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.


All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


DTU Civil Engineering develops and utilizes science and technical knowledge for the benefit of society through a sustainable development of construction and the built environment. As part of a strong university, the Department provides research, study programmes, innovation and research-based consultancy of the highest quality in civil engineering. The Department develops new knowledge and solutions for the challenges facing the construction industry based on classic disciplines of building research, as well as the monitoring and decoding of physical phenomena; we combine theory and practice.


DTU Civil Engineering has a special role in researching, educating and developing new construction engineering solutions for Arctic settings, for the benefit of society in both Denmark and Greenland. The department has a scientific staff of about 80 persons, 60 PhD students, and a technical/administrative support staff of about 50 persons.

You can read more about the Building Design Section here:


DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.