PhD position in Personalized Comfort Systems

Updated: 12 days ago

Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.

Our Laboratory Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles develops novel smart fibers, textiles and membranes for body monitoring, drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. A special focus is to develop physical and numerical skin/body models for the analysis of the interactions between materials and the human skin/body to optimize the protection and ergonomics of wearable system and to ensuring comfort and well-being.

Your tasks

The personalized comfort systems (PCS) can reduce energy use in buildings by targeted microclimatization of the occupants rather than conditioning the entire space. This project aims to develop a holistic approach to the energy performance of a wide range of PCS types considering all 3 levels of human body comfort, local conditioning system in PCS, and building system. The aim of this proposed PhD project is to characterize the effectiveness of personal thermal comfort systems via a detailed analysis of heat transfer between the PCS and the human body using computational and experimental methods. This includes using high end thermal and monitoring full-body manikins in the climatic chambers as well as a selection of human thermoregulation and comfort models.

  • Simulation of asymmetric and heterogeneous thermal exposures of the occupant and his/her thermal response based on existing simulation tools and support of scientific literature 
  • Systematic experimental study using full body thermal manikin and HVAC monitoring manikin of various types of PCS including data analysis and data-driven model development
  • Designing and performing a human comfort trial to validate the manikin study findings
  • Writing and presenting scientific contributions (journal papers, conference presentations, thesis, outreach and info events)

Your profile
  • Completed MSc degree in mechanical, environmental or biomedical engineering or similar 
  • Experience in physics-based and data-driven modeling is considered as an advantage 
  • Good understanding of human thermal physiology and comfort and interest in experimental work
  • High interest in interdisciplinary research 
  • Excellent communication skills and fluency in English (both written and oral) are mandatory

Our offer

A project duration of 4 years is envisaged to carry out the above research tasks in the form of a PhD project in collaboration with EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. The candidate will perform his/her research at Empa in St. Gallen and will get the PhD degree from EPFL Lausanne (with Prof. Dolaana Khovalyg, Laboratory of Integrated Comfort Engineering). The desired starting date is 1st of October 2024 or upon mutual agreement. The PhD candidate will meet a friendly and supportive team helping with quick integration in the new environment and easing learning experience.

We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities - that's what counts.

SarahStüdli, Bereichspersonalleiterin / HR Partner

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