Do you want to help bridge absolute sustainability targets and emerging technologies through industrialized construction platforms?
A unique partnership between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Home.Earth seeks a postdoc candidate to research methods for innovating industrialized construction platforms for sustainable housing in Europe.
The construction industry has been key in building our modern societies, and today’s increasing population and urbanization create global demand for construction. But in absolute measures, current construction practices are unsustainable as these contribute to the exceedance of absolute environmental boundaries and resource supply horizons.
At the same time, the current performance of the construction industry lags in productivity development compared to the economy as a whole. The industry demonstrates a low adaptation of innovative technologies and struggles to break the pattern of rising costs, structural delays and increasing challenges regarding a qualified workforce. Thus, the industry has recently been declared ripe for disruption. In response to the situation, companies invest in emerging technologies such as augmented reality, robotics, virtual design and construction, 3D printing, and automation. While these technologies are believed to be core forces in the disruption, promising the sector’s transformation, their connection to the broader sustainability agenda is missing.
To address the sustainability challenges of construction, it is paramount to connect the existing exploration of technologies and sustainability with long-term exploitations in products, processes and organizations. In other words, we must bridge ambitious sustainability targets and disruptive technologies through continuous innovation in practice.
Countless studies (in other industries) document that platform thinking is a core driver for continuous innovation and learning. And while its uptake in construction has been limited, emerging platform strategies offer delivery models that integrate and coordinate the fragmented industry. This suggests platform thinking represents a core strategy for addressing the existing shortcomings of the industry. In addition, the industrial mindset enables continuous innovation towards sustainability. However, platform development is not a trivial task. It requires long-term strategic planning and flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Here core-periphery strategies like Home.Earth represent a promising strategy by ensuring integration through digital systems. Recently massive investments in research and innovation in the UK have dramatically matured platform thinking in construction, creating a unique opportunity to bootstrap the innovation of sustainable construction platforms.
Through our partnership, we want to target this unique opportunity through a shared postdoc project.
The Postdoc project will be a core part of a larger building innovation program headed by Home.Earth. This program aims to identify, categorize and describe all available and upcoming new building products, technologies and processes that will help improve the environmental impact of real estate/housing.
The postdoc project at DTU and TU Delft will support the overall objectives of the Home.Earth program by developing:
- a framework for categorizing industrialized construction platforms according to absolute measures of sustainability
- guidelines for innovation, implementation and maturation of technologies in construction platforms
Responsibilities and qualifications
As the project’s success depends on the successful development of frameworks and guidelines integrating platform thinking, emerging technologies, sustainability, architecture and engineering, we are looking for a candidate with relevant research and industry experience. We see this experience as a strength in ensuring that the research remains application-oriented. We expect you to have a basic knowledge of relevant innovation and management theories from your educational background. In addition to strong theoretical knowledge and experience from the industry, we also expect you to be systematic and structured and able to work with complex tasks that can extend over a longer period. You will have wide interfaces with many stakeholders of the project. Therefore, it is important that you are accommodating and able to collaborate, engage and balance between several different disciplines.
To qualify for a position as postdoc, you must hold a PhD degree (or equivalent). However especially talented candidates are also encouraged to apply.
Furthermore, we would like you to:
- have completed a relevant master’s degree e.g. in civil engineering, design and innovation, construction management, project management or other areas with appropriate qualifications for the postdoc project
- have work experience working with industrialized construction platforms and projects
- be process-oriented, and manage to transform complex theoretical knowledge into application-oriented solutions that can be understood by non-academic users.
- have communication skills both in writing and in speech, as you must, among other things, publish articles, give lectures and pass on your knowledge to other stakeholders
- have English-language skills, as you will be in an English-speaking academic environment
- have good skills in processing and analysis of large amounts of data.
In other words, we expect you to bridge the gap between academic research and the construction/development industry by being business savvy and interested in the sustainable transition and the interplay between technology, circular economy, humans and business. You are passionate about conducting pioneering and forward-looking research. Applicants who do not meet all qualifications are still encouraged to apply.
As postdoc you will be 100% employed by DTU with an official six-month “secondment”/exchange planned at TU Delft. Throughout the project, you will be supervised by our team counting Carel van Houte and Kasper Guldager Jensen from Home.Earth, Daniel Hall, TU Delft and Christian Thuesen, DTU (check out our profiles below).
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and terms of employment
We are looking forward to receiving your expression of interest now. As we have been granted the funds for the Postdoc project, we will initiate interviews with potential applicants as soon as possible. We envisage the employment to start as quickly as possible e.g. April 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The period of employment is 12 months. The position is a full-time position.
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 January 2023 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
- Application (cover letter)
- Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD – in English)
- List of publications
- Name for potential reference contacts
Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
Who are we?
Home.Earth is a real estate investor, developer and operator founded by a diverse team of leaders from real estate, sustainability, private equity, and consulting. We have founded Home.Earth to be a pathfinder towards a new paradigm in which real estate contributes to solving – rather than accelerating – the challenges our society is facing today. Real estate and the urban environment have a profound impact on all of us. We spend 90% of our lives inside buildings. And by 2050 almost 70% of us will live in cities. The built environment enables life, community, and culture. But at the same time, it fosters loneliness and health issues. It counts for 40% of global CO2 emissions. It is the biggest living expense for most people. And nowhere is growing inequality more visible than in how we live.
Home.Earth is a research driven company that develops sustainable and inclusive homes and spaces with a focus on major cities in Europe – starting in Copenhagen. Structured as an evergreen real estate company, instead of a classic fund manager, we are able to take a long-term perspective to create long-lasting value for all stakeholders.
Carel van Houte, Co-founder Home.Earth
International specialist in modular design and construction in combination with manufacturing and turn-key delivery. Background in industrial design. Creator of the citizenM hotels modular building platform and managed the design and construction of an international portfolio of modular built hotels in Europe and the US. Carel has been part of the founding teams for 3 modular platforms (Modcon, NL 2007; Polcom, PL 2010; and Assembly OSM, USA 2020) and worked as advisor on modern methods of construction for Greystar, NREP, British Land, IHG and others.
Kasper Guldager Jensen, Co-founder Home.Earth
Architect. Co-author of the ‘Cradle to Cradle Manual’ and ‘Building a Circular Future’. Visiting professor in architecture in Munich, Delft, Seattle and Calgary. Kasper is also a circular economy advisor for the Danish Government and the City of Amsterdam, and recently was appointed Chairman for the development of European Standards for Circular Construction.
The TU Delft
The TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on ‘design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings. Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.
Daniel Hall, Delft University of Technology
Daniel Hall is an Assistant Professor for design and construction Management in the Department of Management in the Built Environment at TU Delft. The theme of his research is to enhance governance, industrialization, circularity, and innovation in the construction industry through a transformation from fragmented project delivery methods to new organizational and informational models that integrate the complex supply chain. He is the founder of the annual Industrialized Construction Forum held at Stanford University. Previously, he was assistant professor of innovative and industrial Construction at ETH Zurich. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (2017) in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) from Stanford University.
DTU Management conducts excellent research in the intersection between management, technology and economics. We develop solutions in close cooperation with companies and public authorities. Our research aims at strengthening welfare, productivity and sustainability within the society. A key element is the role of technology and its interaction with industry and individuals. The department offers a wide range of courses and programs at bachelor, master and PhD level across DTU’s study programs. The department has around 200 employees, 50% coming from abroad. You can read more about “the Department” at www.man.dtu.dk.
Christian Thuesen, Technical University of Denmark
Associate Professor in project and construction management at the Department of Technology, Management and Economics (Division for Management Science) and a recent Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley and Stanford. He has worked with projects for over 20 years as a lecturer, researcher, and consultant in various engineering settings, including construction and IT. This has sparked his fundamental research interest in the role of projects as vehicles for industrial and societal change and, more broadly, projects as part of today’s society – as a human condition. To pursue this agenda, he co-founded DTUs ProjectLab (www.doing-projects.org), which he currently directs. His current research develops a research agenda on transforming the construction industry towards sustainability, leveraging developing digital capabilities.
Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.