2022 James Watt PhD Scholarship Program at Heriot-Watt University

Deadline: January 31, 2022.

It is well known that the Built Environment contributes around 40% of all carbon emissions globally, and that, of this, energy and water consumption make up a significant proportion. Many opportunities therefore exist to help rectify this position and to create meaningful outcomes to support decarbonisation of the construction sector.

This research focuses on the underlying physics of heat dissipation and water flow in buildings, and on the analysis of related demand patterns and associated data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques. Here, statistical and deep learning methods will be used to identify the optimum method to facilitate analysis so as to allow improved decision-making and define enhanced pathways to Net Zero energy and water usage within buildings. As well as developing and assessing appropriate techniques, the work will draw comparisons with engineering and simulation-based predictions of water and energy consumption. The focus of the research will be on consumption at the building scale, but we envisage a future interface with urban scale demand models.


  1. To be eligible, applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent experience).
  2. Additional criteria may apply so please check the specific project details before applying. Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant.
  3. They recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. They therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.    
  4. Applicants are expected to possess a Master’s degree in Engineering, Statistics, Data Science or related quantitative fields. 
  5. An understanding of how to apply deep learning techniques to engineering problems, experience of working with energy and water demand and/or a working knowledge of building performance patterns would be an advantage. 


Scholarships will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately £15,609 for the 36 month duration of the project and is available to applicants from the UK, EU and overseas.


  1. Please complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Construction and include the project reference, title and supervisor names on your application. If these details are not included your application may not be considered.  Please note that applicants may only submit ONE proposal.
  2. Please provide a supporting statement outlining how you would approach the research and upload this to the research proposal section of the online application. You will be required to upload a CV, a copy of your degree certificate(s) and relevant transcript(s). You may also upload an academic reference to further support your application.
  3. You must provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). They require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.


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