Portrait of Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou

Deputy Head of School
Programme Director: MSc Architecture and the Sustainable Environment
REF Coordinator


Professor of Sustainable Architecture, Marialena Nikolopoulou was educated as an architectural engineer and specialised in environmental design. After a short period in consultancy, she returned to the University of Cambridge for her PhD. 

Before joining Kent in 2011, where she founded the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable environment, she worked at the University of Bath, where she founded the EDEn Research Unit and the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources in Greece, where she developed and co-ordinated the EU-funded project, ‘RUROS’ on urban comfort.

Her research interests concentrate on environmental performance of buildings and urban spaces, thermal comfort in different operational contexts, along with occupant perception and use of space. 

Marialena has an international profile and is frequently invited as a speaker at conferences and workshops around the world. She has received awards from diverse bodies, including the 2001 prestigious Human Biometeorology Scientific Award from the International Society of Biometeorology, the RIBA Trust Research Award, and Best Paper Awards and Commendations in International Conferences. Her research has been funded by the EU, EPSRC, AHRC, TSB, HLF, RIBA, UK Science Bridges, WIMEK from The Netherlands as well as local government. 

She was Visiting Professor at Wageningen University, is a member of the EPSRC College of Peer Reviewers and is on the Steering Committee of the CIBSE Environmental Design Guide A. She is also Editor of the international peer-reviewed journal ‘Building and Environment’. 

A 2020 study published by Stanford University included Marialena among the top 100,000 researchers, and top 2% in the world.

Research interests

  • EPSRC “Urban albedo computation in high latitude locations: an experimental approach” with the universities of Brunel and Loughborough (2017-2021)
  • WIMEK Visiting Research Fellow, Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (2017-18)
  • AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund “Sensory Navigation in the Canterbury Journey” with Canterbury Cathedral (2016)
  • Heritage Lottery Funds via Thanet District Council “Exemplar Climate Change Project, for the sustainable refurbishment and extensive monitoring of a heritage townhouse in Dalby Square, Margate” (2015-2018).
  • Tianjin University Innovation Base, Ministry of Education of China “Low-carbon city and architecture” Innovation Base Introducing International Talents (2012-2017).
  • EPSRC “Digital Economy: Communities and Culture Network+” with the universities of Leeds, Sussex and Aberdeen (2012-2016)
  • E-iNet “Develop performance specifications for climate change adaptation strategies for the architectural brief and a detailed monitoring protocol for the monitoring and evaluation of the refurbished heritage townhouse in Margate” with Daedalus Environmental (2015)
  • AHRC Creative Exchange Lab (via Lancaster University) “Paths of Desire” (2015)
  • EPSRC “Mapping the lived experience of food bank clients and volunteers” Scoping study funded by the “Communities and Culture Network+” (2013-2014)
  • AHRC Communities, Cultures, Environments and Sustainability pilot “Eco-cultural production in a Changing World” (2013)
  • TSB "Building Performance Evaluation of the Jarman School of Arts" (2012-2014) with Hawkins/Brown architects and Arup M&E builders
  • EPSRC "Digital Economy: Communities and Culture Network+" (2012-2015), with the Universities of Leeds, Sussex and Aberdeen
  • EPSRC "Shades of Grey – Towards a Science of Interventions for Eliciting and Detecting Notable Behaviours" (2010-2013), with the Universities of Swansea, UCL, Bath, Essex, Leeds Metropolitan, UEL, Arts London, Nottingham and York
  • EPSRC "Integration of active and passive indoor thermal environment control systems to minimise the carbon footprint of airport buildings" (2009-2012), with the Universities of Brunel, City, Loughborough and De Montford
  • EPSRC "Coincident Probabilistic climate change weather data for a Sustainable built Environment" (2008-2011), with the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield, Bath, Herriot Watt and Northumbria
  • GWR "Developing low energy contemporary buildings for hot arid regions" Great Western Research co-funded by the South-West Regional Development Agency and Hoare Lea (2008-2011), with the Universities of Bath and UWE
  • EU URBAN-NET "The potential impact of climate change on heat stress in different building structures and cities across Europe" (2008-2009) with the Universities of Gothenburg and Freiburg
  • SET2 partnership "Personal perception of air pollution in the urban environment" UK-US Collaboration programme (2008) with the University of California San Diego
  • University of Bath "Monitoring comfort conditions in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering" (2008-2010)
  • External advisor to the project funded by FAPESP the Research Support Foundation for the State of São Paulo, Brazil "Thermal comfort in public open spaces: a methodology for medium cities in São Paulo State" (2007-2009)
  • British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (2007)
  • University of Bath Studentship "Outdoor thermal comfort in the hot dry climate" (2006-2009)
  • EURONETRES: "European Network on Education and Training in Renewable Energy Sources", UNESCO, Regional Bureau for Science in Europe (ROSTE). Working group "Solar Passive Systems for Sustainable Architecture" (2005-2007)
  • EU FP5 Steering Committee of the GREENCLUSTER network – European Network for the Green in the Urban Environment (2002-2005)
  • EU FP5 Project co-ordinator and overall PI: "RUROS: Rediscovering the Urban Realm and Open Spaces" (2001-2004), 12 teams across Europe


Module CodeModule TitleInformation
AR597Dissertation (BA Architecture)Tutor
AR829Monitoring and Modelling of Environmental PerformanceTutor
AR830Sustainable Design ProjectTutor
AR899Dissertation (MSc Architecture and Sustainable Environment)Tutor


PhD Supervision


  • Panel Member for evaluation of R&D in the built environment in Estonia, Estonian Research Council (2017)
  • Standing Review Board Member of Humanities and Social Sciences Panel of Research Grants Council, Hong Kong (from 2015)
  • Steering Committee of CIBSE Environmental Design Guide A (from 2015)
  • Panel Member of the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2014) for Hong Kong, University Grants Committee
  • Panel Member for the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (HQA) in Greece for the Evaluation of Architectural Engineering, Democritus University (2013)
  • Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College (from 2012)
  • Member of the DCLG Behavioural Research Network (2011-2013)
  • Peer reviews for EPSRC, MRC, EU Framework Programmes, research councils of Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Welsh Government, Israel, Qatar and Hong Kong.
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