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GCDC: Global perspective on environmental heritage

Annual Tuition fees at the UKRI Home/EU rate (£4,260 in 2018/19) plus annual stipend at UKRI rates (£14,777 in 2018/19)

This scholarship competition is open to all new postgraduate research applicants.

GCDC scholars will receive the following for 3.5 years:
- Annual stipend at UKRI rates (these were £14,777 in 2018/19);
- Annual tuition fees at UKRI Home/EU rates (these were £4,260 in 2018/19);
- A minimum research training support grant of £3,500; and
- Specialised interdisciplinary GCDC cohort training activities

GCDC Project-led Studentship - Kent School of Architecture: Global perspective on environmental heritage: Sustainable design and architectural heritage in post-colonial Sudan

Historic buildings around the world have been shaped by climatic factors and such represent an embodiment of local environmental intelligence. In the preservation of historic building or design of new buildings historic environmental principles have received little consideration. The premise of this research project, however, is that the recovery of this intelligence could inform the development of modern environmental solutions, in particular in developing countries.

The city of Khartoum in Sudan is the site of a rich architectural heritage, covering colonial and indigenous buildings. These buildings represent significance examples of an architecture designed to be well-adapted to the hot arid climate of this regions. Rapid urbanisation,1 combined with the shunning of historic buildings in favour of western building techniques, however, pose a serious risk to this heritage and building traditions. The following of western architectural precedents, which involve the use of steel, glass and reinforced concrete, have increased reliance on mechanical air conditioning. This is a highly expensive and energy intensive solution. The latter is expensive and energy intensive. The premise underlying this project is that the development of new technologies building on historic principles can contribution to reducing reliance on energy intensive solutions. They were also built using inexpensive local materials and construction methods that do not require a highly skilled labour.

Project Aim
Working closely with stakeholders in industry, academic, government and NGOs, the proposed project aims to investigate how these traditional principles can be revived and adapted for use in modern housing in Sudan. In the first phase of this research project to objective is to gain a critical understanding of the construction and environmental principles underlying the design of colonial and vernacular buildings and to evaluate their effectiveness as low-tech solutions to the problem of environmental control. The research will be based on detailed case studies, focusing on selected colonial and vernacular buildings in Khartoum.

The objective of the second part of this project is to develop methodologies by which this knowledge can be directly utilised in the (a) rehabilitation of heritage buildings and to (b) revive traditional principles for application in the design of new and more sustainable types of housing. This aim is to create a model of practice that enables local architects and engineers to design low-tech solutions utilising
local material, traditional construction techniques and passive principles of environmental design. The team at Kent will collaboration closely with the local partners to investigate how this research can feed into Sudanese engineering practice, education and inform government policy or programmes.

The project will be led by the first supervisor:
Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt, who is an expert in sustainable architectural heritage and is currently conducting a research project within the UK Parliament
Marialena Nikolopolou, Professor of Sustainable Architecture, will act as second supervisor, offering her expertise in indoor thermal comfort

The studentship is offered by the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC). It is dedicated to doctoral research addressing the challenges of economic development and well-being faced by developing countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

Link to Kent’s GCDC:https://research.kent.ac.uk/researchservices/gcdc/


Person specification:
Applicants are required to meet the entry requirements for a PhD In Architecture: 
  • A minimum 2.1 honours degree, plus a Master’s degree or MArch in architecture or an appropriate subject, or equivalent track record and professional experience in architecture. 
  • The applicant is required to demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding the principles of environmental design. A masters in environmental design, sustainable engineering and building physics is not a requirement but desirable. 
  • The applicant is required to have had experience with working in Sudan as the project will require the PhD candidate to undertake fieldwork and
    local stakeholder engagement activities. 
  • The University of Kent requires all non-native speaker of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. For more information on English language requirements, please visit this page.

    The scholarship call is open to applicants from all nationalities.
    Applicants paying Overseas fees can still apply: some academic schools may be able to support applicants financially beyond the UKRI level.

How to apply

When applying, students should follow the University of Kent’s online application process.

As part of the process, students should include the following:
- specify the project they wish to apply for;
- explain reasons for study;
- provide details/evidence of qualifications;
- provide two academic references;
- provide other personal information and supporting documentation.


Applications are now closed

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