Call for Application for PhD research on demand-side focused climate change mitigation modeling with the supervision of Prof. Diana Urge-Vorsatz

November 13, 2023

Special call of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, CEU with the supervision of Diana Urge-Vorsatz 
PhD position in demand-side focused climate change mitigation modeling

Deadline to apply for studies from 2024/25 at CEU Vienna is February 1, 2024. Successful candidates are granted a four-year scholarship. 


Many meta-assessments, among others the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, have pointed out that among the solutions to climate change those that focus on reducing the demand for energy, materials and natural resources, i.e. demand-side interventions such as building energy efficiency, urban planning enabling more active mobility, etc. – have substantially more co-benefits than most supply-side efforts, or interventions to remove GHGs from the atmosphere or modify solar radiation. Among others, our building sector still wastes approximately one-third of total EU final energy consumption, but efforts to focus on material efficiency, reuse, repurposing, retrofits, repair, etc., all have major societal as well as climate benefits.


Researchers of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, led by Prof. Diana Urge-Vorsatz have developed a highly detailed global building energy model, 3CSEP-HEB, of the world. This model can provide various insights into disruptive and highly ambitious mitigation scenarios related to buildings, for instance bringing total global thermal building energy demand by 70% despite a 200% growth in floorspace and service levels. A coupled module, the BISE, models building-integrated PV energy generation potential. It shows that globally buildings could generate close to the total present global power demand on an annual basis, thus the building stock in many locations could become net energy sources than users.

PhD applicants are invited to propose the use and expansion of the 3CSEP HEB and/or BISE models in any relevant area of climate change mitigation that it can provide unique insights for. These include but are not limited to: analysing the costs and benefits of a net zero or energy positive building future; modeling the impact of urban heat islands on urban building energy demand, modeling the impact of global warming on building energy use and measures to reduce this; embodied energy, carbon and other GHGs in the world’s building stock (construction materials) and scenarios to disruptively minimize this or turn buildings into provisional carbon sinks; the impact of bio-based construction materials and material efficiency replacing high-intensity construction materials; analysing socio-economic, lifestyle or degrowth scenarios relevant to co-habitation, community energy, household composition and trends, dwelling size and sufficiency; and the interaction of urban planning/urban form with urban building energy demand; PV power generation potential through utilizing optimally facing facades as well as the roofs; opportunities for demand response to minimize the gap between buildings generated and demanded power; implications for and opportunities for thermal and electric energy storage, sector coupling, to bridge the gap between building thermal energy demand and power generation potentials.

Education and skills required:

A broad range of disciplinary backgrounds can be very relevant, from architecture, mechanical or civil engineering, computer sciences, through economics, sociology, demography, geography to meteorology, electrical engineering, urban studies, among others. Programming skills, especially in python, are a strong advantage, and previous modeling experience is also helpful but not required. For general requirements both on the departmental and the CEU level please check the relevant websites:,,, .


Research proposals should elaborate on which novel climate change mitigation scenarios the applicant would construct and how the applicant would use and expand the 3CSEP-HEB or BISE models for calculating these. How will they benefit from their disciplinary background to develop (one of) these models in a most disruptive way to explore unique demand-side opportunities that both reduce emissions and improve well-being, while also meeting other societal goals?

Please indicate in your proposal that you apply for this special call and would like to work with Diana Urge-Vorsatz as potential supervisor.

Deadline to apply February 1, 2024 (23:59, Central European Time) through the online application portal of CEU. All applications must be complete with any applicable standard test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).

Applicants are automatically considered for the CEU Doctoral Scholarship including tuition waiver and a generous monthly stipend to help with housing and living expenses as well as health insurance. The CEU Doctoral Scholarship is awarded for a period of 48 months in total. Each student is responsible for securing accommodation for themselves. 

Please read our Doctoral Program Handbook for detailed programmatic information at the department of Environmental Sciences and Policy Department of CEU. 

For more information please check our site:
or get in contact:
Prof. Diana Urge-Vorsatz:
Tunde Szabolcs, PhD Program coordinator: