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PhD student in building physics

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : jeudi 5 août 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR5008-LUCMER-001
Date of publication : Thursday, July 15, 2021
Scientific Responsible name : Lucie Merlier
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic


This thesis project belongs to the interdisciplinary project METEORS (health vulnerability and urban overheating: building energy modeling to the test of socio-cultural factors), 80 PRIME, CNRS.

Thesis topic :

The intensification of heat waves together with the development of urban heat island phenomena induce significant health risks in cities, as the exposure to urban overheating promotes heat stroke and decline in cardiovascular function.

In France, people spend most of their time indoors, a large part being at home. Hence, to assess the individual health risks associated with urban overheating, this project firstly focuses on overheating in buildings, using building energy simulation. One of the main related issue is the determination of the suited level of detail of the modeling in terms of spatial and temporal resolution, and extent. Indeed, the modeling must be able to provide relevant environmental information to study the reactions of human bodies to thermal stress, which requires a relevant understanding of the indoor thermal environment, which is also highly dependent on external conditions.

As the approach should also enable the reactions of human bodies to thermal stress to be studied, this thesis project aims as well at developing a coupling between the building energy model and a dynamic thermo-physiological model. The foreboded basic models will come from the latest building models developed at CETHIL and from a thermo-physiological model such as [1]. Such a model simulates the core and skin temperatures, in order to study the thermal sensations of people. Its adaptation to health issues has already been initiated at CETHIL.

Moreover, while reactions to heat and their effects on the health of citizens depend on both environmental and physiological factors, they are also conditioned, most often unconsciously, by socio-cultural factors. Thus, to test and complete the methodology for assessing individual risks in buildings during urban overheating periods based on the proposed coupled modeling approach, other health determinants and social representations of heat tolerance will be also studied. In particular, surveys on perceived health and on the behavior of inhabitants induced by socio-environmental conditions will be carried out.

To develop this methodology, the project proposes to focus on a specific and particularly sensitive population: the elderly. A comparative study between apartments in a retirement home, in traditional housing and in a shared residence will be carried out. Some typical housings will be more specifically studied at first, using building energy simulations, thermal measurements and reinforced surveys based on logbooks and on interviews. On this basis, the approach could then be extended more widely and will allow to question the impact of autonomy and people's ability to adapt and anticipate as well as the health consequences of periods of heat stress.

In addition to the various models already developed or in development at CETHIL, this exploratory project will also benefit from multidisciplinary studies already carried out by the project leaders on urban overheating and its effects through the EPOC project [2] and other work carried out within the framework of the LabEx IMU and the urban school of Lyon by the CETHIL in collaboration with EVS and the Metropolis of Lyon [3], as well as on studies carried out by the Metropolis of Lyon such as the Health and Environment diagnosis [4] or the energy barometer carried out over more than 2000 people and making it possible to observe the links between perceived heat stress and type of housing.

[1] M. El Kadri, “Modèle thermo- neurophysiologique du corps humain pour l'étude du confort thermique en conditions climatiques hétérogènes et instationnaires,” Université de La Rochelle, 2020.
[2] D. Soto et al., “Préfiguration d'une structure pluridisciplinaire de recherche-action dédiée à l'étude des climats urbains et de leurs effets sur le territoire de la Métropole de Lyon. Enseignements du projet EPOC.,” Pollut. atmosphérique, Clim. Santé, Société, no. N°231-232, pp. 183–194, 2016, doi: 10.4267/pollution-atmospherique.5821.
[3] F. Barone, “Etude de l'efficacité des stratégies de rafraichissement passives dans le logement au regard de critères sanitaires,” 2020.
[4] Grand-Lyon, “Diagnostic Santé Environnement des habitants de la Métropole de Lyon,” 2018.

Work Context

The project will mainly take place at CETHIL UMR 5008, a research laboratory of around 100 people, which studies heat transfers for different applications. The project will take place within the THEBE axis (thermals and energetics of buildings and their environment).
The doctoral school will be ED MEGA (Mechanics, energetics, civil engineering, acoustics)

The thesis will be carried out in partnership with the laboratory EVS UMR 5600 (environment, city, society), which develops interdisciplinary approaches to study the dynamics of change between environment, city and society.

Additional Information

The doctoral student will notably carry out the adaptations and coupling between the building and thermophysiological models. The doctoral student will also manage the setting up of measurement campaigns and preparing / carrying out / operating humanities surveys. In addition, he/she will participate in the animation of the IMU studio on urban overheating starting this summer.

A motivated, agile and autonomous candidate, with an engineering science profile (advanced skills in numerical modeling and building physics required), and also benefiting from good knowledge in human physiology as well as in humanities (in particular on methods for investigation and conduct of interviews) is sought. The candidate must also have significant research experience, know how to work in a team and good communication skills, in French and English.

Application: CV, cover letter, master marks, 2 pages summary of the research experience

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