PhD Position in New Meanings of Value in the Built Environment

Are you eager on creating impact? Do you strive for knowledge development? Are you passionate about the built environment? Then this position might be exactly what you are looking for.


Job description

We are looking for a doctoral candidate for a fully funded position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE) to conduct individual research focused on understanding new meanings of value in the built environment.

In commercial property markets the focus is placed on assessing real estate as an investment asset. This type of thinking leads to discussions in industry and studies in academia centered around the identification of market and investment values, return and risk assessments, or financial portfolio management. Research demonstrates that this type of thinking limits investments that could yield in energy efficiency in buildings or broader sustainable and circular actions in real estate. Expenditures supporting these actions are often seen as affecting investment returns, creating tangible and hidden costs and risks to the investor and therefore lacking a compelling business case.

Traditional appraisal methods are too focused on determining property values based on physical building-specific features (e.g., size of the building, energy consumption, or number of rooms), taking a perspective of an exchange value of a building but ignoring intangible aspects that can create a different value for the customer. As value is traditionally understood as a monetary expression of customers’ willingness to pay, those intangible aspects of a tangible asset (building) should also be included in pricing and appraisal.

Therefore, a value-based pricing approach could be a potential way to encourage commercial real estate markets to move away from cost and competition to more value-based logics. A value-based approach is common for service and customer-experience driven economies where value is understood as subjective (and changing) to the user/buyer. However, this type of approach requires a different view to what we define as value and/or different approach to the overall valuation process. With this research, we aim at creating a framework that could serve as a tool for further development of new valuation/appraisal approaches for commercial real estate. To reach this, multiple steps need to be taken:

  • Untangling value understanding of commercial buildings to different stakeholders and trade-offs they are willing to make
  • Identifying the potential and limitations of value-based approach in comparison to traditional appraisal methods
  • Defining metrics that could capture previously identified value properties/attributes
  • Formulating suitable measures for improved commercial real estate value appraisal

This research would require knowledge and understanding of economic and business administration perspective, knowledge on commercial property markets and systems thinking in order to understand the complexity of the built environment and take a holistic approach towards it.

As part of the TU Delft, faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, department of Management in the Built Environment, we focus on rethinking, developing and applying new economic and financial value concepts for a future-proof built environment. We are constantly searching for adjustments in the system to enable flexibility and resilience of the built environment, creating benefits for people, industry and the society as a whole. As a PhD candidate, you will join our competent team with different backgrounds in economics, financial and civil engineering, management and architecture.



We are looking for a candidate with:

  • Graduated or expect to graduate within 3 months with an MSc in  Management (in the Built Environment), Architecture, Real Estate Management, (Real Estate) Economics, Finance, Business Administration, or other related field;
  • Excellent English language skills;
  • Dutch is a plus because we will conduct case studies and interviews with the Dutch practice;
  • Theoretical and practical skills in various research methodologies, preferably in qualitative research (e.g., interviews, focus groups and content, thematic, interpretative analysis) and soft systems modelling (e.g., agent-based modelling, scenario planning) and motivation to conduct academic research and obtain a PhD degree
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills;
  • Good academic writing skills, strong communication abilities, independent attitude paired with an ability to work in an interdisciplinary research team;
  • Being able to organise your work independently;
  • Curious and critical mind

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The 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.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built.


Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Vitalija Danivska ( For information about the application procedure, please contact Julia Kreuwel, HR advisor, via

The interviews are scheduled in the week of 6 November.


Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 29 October 2023 via the application button, your application should include:

  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Description of your scientific interests and plans (1-2 pages).

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.