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PhD Position / Early Stage Researcher Tensions Between Affordability and Sustainability and the Implications for Vulnerable Groups

On October 1st, 2020, “RE-DWELL: Delivering affordable and sustainable housing in Europe”, a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) co-financed by the H2020 programme, has started its activities. For project ESR 11: Tensions between affordability and sustainability and the implications for vulnerable groups, we are looking for a PhD candidate. Please check out the project website here.

2 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


Research project
Given the current housing affordability and sustainability challenge that Europe is facing, it is of vital importance that housing becomes both more affordable and environmentally sustainable. Unfortunately, there often is a tension between affordability and sustainability ambitions, in newly built housing but also in the existing housing stock. Newly built highly sustainable housing is usually more expensive than housing that is developed through conventional building techniques. In the existing rental housing stock, investments in sustainability measures may be translated in higher rental prices, which can create affordability problems for tenants, even though energy costs tend to go down as a result of these measures. In the home ownership sector, housing affordability considerations often prevent investments in sustainability enhancing renovations. After all, such investments require high upfront payments and it may take a long time before the invested money is earned back.

This research project unravels the ways in which affordability and sustainability are potentially in conflict. It will map and compare the affordability and sustainability dimensions of housing policies and projects across Europe. Furthermore, it will identify good practices (case studies) demonstrating how to overcome this conflict. These good practices can take various forms and shapes, ranging from the provision of innovative affordable and sustainable housing concepts (e.g. tiny housing) to specific new financing arrangements (e.g. green mortgages). Specific attention will be paid to sustainable and affordable housing solutions for vulnerable groups (by income, gender, cultural background or health condition), since these people are most in need of affordable housing. Ultimately, the case study analysis should result in a set of more general policy recommendations.

The research will be based on a range of different research methods such as policy analysis, case study research, focus groups with professional stakeholders and interviews with vulnerable groups. The case studies are expected to come from various European countries. The planned secondments are intended to deepen the case studies.

The chairs Housing Institutions & Governance and Housing Management of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft have a track record in participating and (co)leading EC funded projects such as:



  • To conduct an individual research project, interlinked to the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • An international comparative statistical analysis of the potential tensions between affordability and sustainability indicators at both the macro (countries and regions) and the micro (individual households) level
  • A case study analysis of good practices (policies, projects) that have the potential to overcome the tensions between housing affordability and environmental sustainability, and that specifically focus on vulnerable groups
  • The formulation of a policy and research agenda with regard to sustainable and affordable housing for vulnerable groups
  • To participate in the network-wide activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences)
  • To carry out the training required by the PhD programme of the host university.

As part of the individual research project, ESRs will carry out secondments, each of 2 to 3 months, in the partner organisations.

ESRs are expected to have completed a doctoral thesis that can be defended at the host institution within or shortly after the project lifetime.

Specific requirements

  • Masters’ degree in a relevant discipline (social or spatial sciences, economics, architecture);
  • Sound knowledge of, and experience with, quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Prior experience with research on affordability and/or international comparative research is preferred;
  • An excellent command of English (C1 or C2).

Generic requirements

The candidates must fulfil the eligibility and mobility requirements of the Marie Curie ITN programme:

  • Eligibility - To be eligible for recruitment within an ITN project, you therefore must – at the date of recruitment – be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained, or in the country in which you are recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. You may therefore be required to provide documentation proving your eligibility for recruitment.
  • Mobility - You are therefore required to undertake transnational mobility in order to be eligible for recruitment in an ITN project. As such, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where you have been recruited "for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date". Holidays are not counted. Your employer is required to verify this fact, therefore you may be required to provide supporting documentation proving your place(s) of residence or work during the previous 3 years. Note that the mobility rule applies only to your first recruitment within the project, and not to other organisations to which you might be sent on secondment or at which you may subsequently also be recruited. Finally, the mobility rule is related to your residence or main activity and not to your nationality.

Please find here more information about the requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows in Innovative Training Networks (ITN).


The Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. At TU Delft in the Netherlands, salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. This means a salary as PhD of 2.395,- EURO gross per month in the first year, which will increase in annual steps to 2.920,- EURO gross per month in the third year (and to 3.061,- EURO gross per month in the 4th year).

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners.

According to the terms of the MCS programme the amount allocated to your contribution to the project of consists of:

  • Living Allowance 3528 euro per month
  • Mobility allowance 600 euro per month
  • Family allowance 250 euro per month (if applicable)

Please bear in mind the fact that these allowances-amounts are used to pay your gross salary, employers compulsory deductions and benefits for the full 3 years of the MSC programme. At the end of the first three years of your contract any possible difference between the amount paid in salary/wage taxes/compulsory employers-employees social contributions and the amount to be paid according to the Work Programme will be equalized at the end of the 3 years Early Stage researcher ITN MSC-grant.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please click here for more information.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. dr. ir. Marja Elsinga, email: M.G.Elsinga@tudelft.nl.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Paulien Stastra, HR advisor, email: hr-bk@tudelft.nl.