PhD Position Zero Emission Building and Artificial Intelligence (ZEBAI) – TU Delft – Delft

  • Delft

TU Delft


TU Delft is a top-tier university and we have been growing in our investment in the field of Artificial intelligence. Within the University, the Management in the Built Environment (MBE) Department strives for a sustainable built environment in which the interests of the end user and other stakeholders are the starting point. MBE focuses on solutions for developing and managing buildings, portfolios and urban areas and training the next generation of managers in the built environment.

Within MBE, we are looking for a PhD candidate who is going to be involved in a Horizon Europe project entitled ‘ZEBAI’. ZEBAI is an ambitious integrative project in which a broad range of interdisciplinary teams collaborate to develop a new methodology that aims to change the way that Zero-emission buildings are designed, by integrating all interdependent analysis and partial alternative decision-making processes under a holistic approach that allows the evaluation of a design simultaneously taking into account: . For this purpose, we will require to develop a database of well-characterised materials and make an estimation of discrepancies between simulated and actual building performance. The methodology that will be used is artificial intelligence techniques to optimise the selection of materials and systems in different aspects of the building design. The AI-assisted methodology aims to make the design process more efficient and user-friendly while incorporating all environmental quality and cost-effectiveness objectives. This approach will enable the optimisation of new architectural designs towards scalable Zero Energy Building (ZEB) design in different climates, usages, and building patterns, with the ultimate goal of achieving a zero-emission building stock by 2050. During the project, we will test ZEBAI methodology in the Netherlands.

Specifically for the TU Delft PhD, you will contribute to developing and testing the ZEBAI methodology in the Netherlands. For this, we expect the PhD candidate to explore the representational value of data in integrating AI-assisted methodologies in the design phase of a future building. This involves exploring how AI can facilitate the deliberation process of a building design while reducing uncertainties about environmental quality and cost-effectiveness, and developing trustworthy algorithms at more systemic levels. S/he will contribute to the development of zero-emission building (ZEB) guidelines to increase awareness of best practices for reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable building practices. These guidelines will provide clear, actionable steps for stakeholders throughout the construction industry, serving as a roadmap for designing, constructing, and operating buildings that emit little to no carbon. By shifting the industry towards more sustainable practices, ZEB guidelines have the potential to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable low-carbon built environment.


You must have:

  • completed a relevant MSc degree in architecture and the built environment, industrial design, computer science or an applied sciences field relevant to the PhD research.
  • proficiency and the ability in expressing yourself verbally and in writing in English.
  • knowledge and interest in digital technologies appropriate to the built environment.
  • knowledge about the design work-flow in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction sector.
  • the ability to work in a team and take initiative.
  • experience with co-design process.

It is considered a plus if you also have:

  • an affinity with teaching and guiding students.
  • proficiency to express yourself in Dutch. Dutch speaking is not essential at this stage but it is important to demonstrate willingness to learn the Dutch language.
  • BIM/modelling knowledge.
  • interest in interdisciplinary research and contributing to the intellectual life of the MBE and AE+T departments.     


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core and we actively to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on ‘design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings.

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Additionele informatie

For more information about this vacancy, contact Aksel Ersoy, assistant professor, via email: .
For more information about the application process, contact Paulien Stastra, HR Advisor, via email: .

Are you our new PhD? Then apply as soon as possible via the application button “Apply now”.


Interested in this position? Please apply, no later than May 26th, and send the following documents: your CV, a letter with your motivation and a “proof of writing” (1500 words): a written attachment to the letter demonstrating your suitability, affinity with the subject, background or motivation. This can be a specially written vision on the subject, but also a summary of a relevant thesis, article, description of work experience.

The interviews will take place on June 12th 2024. We aim at a startdate between September 1st and ultimatetly October 15th 2024.

Please note:

  • You can only apply online. We will not consider applications sent by e-mail and/or post.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • A pre-Employment screening may be part of the selection procedure.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.