Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-08: Refreshing urban transit environments in the Euro-Mediterranean region: thermographic modelling and low-tech renovation of hubs

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    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Environmental science
    SociologyUrban sociology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


1. Content

The thesis concerns the bioclimatic rehabilitation of transit environments. It is positioned as a complement to the ecodesign projects focused on the energy performance of materials at UGE. It responds to the operational need to determine rapid, effective and financially accessible procedures for the mitigation of localised urban heat islands. It thus aims to recognise the scientific lead of the UGE team and its partners in the scientific field of thermo-urbanism.

It also responds to one of the essential challenges of sustainability studies, namely the challenge of integrating epistemic and disciplinary communities thanks to transversal paradigms (Mino and Kudo 2020).

2. Theoretical challenge: testing the conceptual robustness of a pivotal paradigm in urban sustainability science: refreshment

Refreshing is a transdisciplinary concept because :

- In the sense of thermodynamics, it refers to measures and models for the control of extreme temperature variations in cities (Hassani 2021).

- In the sense of urban planning, it covers a refurbishment perspective (renovation without transformation of the urban and built structure).

- In the common sense, refreshing means updating, hence the reconnection of reflreshed facilities with flows of knowledge, skills and legal-technical contexts.

The thesis questions the conceptual transversality of the notion and its capacity to make scientific, professional and national en-silo communities working together on operational projects.

3. Operational Goal in urban planning : revisiting a much-discussed urban model

The planning model of PEM (Pôle d'Echange Multimodal) was created two decades ago ((Cerema 2019). A PEM includes

- a multimodal platform facilitating the transfer and connection between collective modes (train, bus) and individual modes (car parks, soft mobility);

- a functional mix (transport, mobility services, housing and activities)

- a high density of buildings and an efficient road network.

PEM is a good idea for the transport functionality but is unsustainable in terms of urban planning

PEM has been identified as a solution for achieving very (often too) broad objectives: reclaiming town centres, taming traffic, reducing pollution. Several limitations have been identified: overcosts and over-quality due to urban marketing logic, excess of building density and elevation in connection with the difficulty of containing real estate speculation, walkability oriented patterns (to meet the needs of PRMs) leading to the creation of highly mineralised urban soils.

PEM appears systematically in the satellite cartography of urban heat islands because its materiality and morphology : soil textures and colors (ballast, rail, platforms), urban morphology (height of buildings and land use), architectural choices (blind walls, glass facades) (Depoues V, 2016).

4. Overcoming scientific obstacles and organisation of the thesis :

Four integrated tasks develop low tech planning in thermo-urbanism for PEM:

Task 1: Heat island fine-tune modelling and simulation :

The thesis overcomes a double problem

- input data. It replaces the use of approximative measurements of mean radiant temperature (long series, insufficiently localised measurements) by carrying out recurrent micro-climatic measurement campaigns.

- methods for calculating urban heat islands. It substitutes a calculation of distances between centroids based on the approximation of form factors with exact form factors that are valid for the entire urban scene. This can refine the modelling and show a calculation differential of + 3 °C (Alecian 2021).

Task 2: Benchmark: Euro-Mediterranean cross-expertise

- According to the IPCC, the Euro-Mediterranean zone, which includes France and Mediterranean countries will be exposed to heat waves three times longer, three times more intense and three times more frequent by 2050.

- PEM has been replicated in countries where France has exported high-speed rail: Spain (the world's leading country in terms of the length of high-speed track, the first country where SNCF has already penetrated the domestic market) and Morocco (the first African country to which France has shared rail technology and supported the construction of PEM).

For this reason, the thesis integrates 3 comparative sites in these countries and relies on the cross competences of U. Politec. Valencia (Tudorie et al 2020) and INAU.

Task 3: From the ICU Score to a situational perspective of transport user thermal comfort :

Research is based on theoretical models, urban planning is based on the ICU Score (Ilot de chaleur urbain), a very basic tool used for dialogue with local governments. In neither case does the user of transport appear directly (Walther and Goetschel 2018). Based on a Digital and Citizen research workshop of the Graduate School of the Labex Urban Futures, the PhD student perfects the tool in a participatory science process, thanks to an application allowing EMP users to measure and share, according to a situational approach, objective criteria of thermal comfort (according to season, weather, hour), individual criteria (age, occupation) and behavioural patterns.

Task 4: Toward a territorial label of refreshed PEMS

In connection with the EMC2B programme and SNCF Gares&Connexion's Place de la Gare programme, the thesis tackles the issue of the collective expertise of stakeholders. It determines the conditions for refreshment to become one of the pillars of Euro-Mediterranean low-tech urban energy innovation. The conditions for the creation of a label are evaluated from (1) the heuristic potential of urban refreshment re-semantization and (2) the capacities of transport and urban stakeholders in a networked innovation governance framework (Colombert M 2018).

International Mobility:

A 3-month secondment at University Politecnica de Valencia, Department of Urbanism (Spain) + 1 3-month secondment at INAU, Rabat (Maroc).

For more information, contact the PhD thesis supervisor.


More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.
  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Sociology: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent
    FRENCH: Basic


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 718020


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