Partnerships Office

Current ICase PhD Student Vacancies


PhD Title: An exploration of the modelled and measured hygrothermal characteristics of structural thermal break products.

The studentship is with University of Salford and Farrat Isolevel Ltd

Academic Supervisor: Dr Richard Fitton

Academic Co-Supervisor: Professor Will Swan

Industrial Supervisor: Stephen Blundell

The studentship is fully funded and includes:

  • A fee waiver
  • A stipend of £15,823.89 p.a. for three and a half years
  • All bench fees and consumable costs
  • Funds specifically allocated for conference travel

Final date for applications: 31st May 2018

Interviews will be held on: 18th June 2018

The candidate must be in a position to register by September 2018


Farrat and the University of Salford are looking for a PhD candidate to work with them on developing a detailed hygrothermal understanding of a structural thermal break product as applied to buildings. The successful candidate will be expected to explore issues of thermal performance and thermal bridging, undertake modelling and experimental trials. The wider findings of the study will be used to inform industry as to the impact of thermal break products as well as informing future product design.


Farrat introduced a simple structural thermal break plate to the market in 2007 as an alternative to mechanical (modular) thermal break systems. The Farrat product has grown in popularity and now leads the UK market for this type of plate solution. It has recently gained British Board of Agrément Certification and is a certified thermal product under BRE’s scheme. Legislation and the drive for sustainability in the UK and indeed other parts of the world have led to an increase in applications for this product. This solution is no longer restricted to balcony applications but associated with many other construction applications within the façade, roof and sub-structure, encompassing both primary and secondary building elements.

Whilst the product is well understood and generally accepted by the industry, the design realm have difficulties in interpretation of the codified requirements of the building regulations and how to determine thermal performance associated with this type of product. Architects are very familiar with the process of specifying the performance of planar elements (façade roof and window) but are generally not comfortable in dealing with point thermal bridging. In our experience there is a lack of awareness and knowledge in this area within the construction industry and research is required in support of designers and our product, which has led to the development of this iCASE opportunity.

Project Aims

The project aims to develop a knowledge base that can be used to inform the industry as to the impact and performance of the thermal break product.

  • Improve the knowledge and understanding of point thermal bridging within the construction industry (Buildings)
  • Provide Farrat with technical know- how in support of the product, and by using this knowledge to facilitate business growth by assisting designers on their projects
  • Correlate the performance of the product by comparing the results using standard industry software  and compare them to physical modelling of the connections
  • Use both software and physical modelling to make improvements to the product and how it is applied within the building envelope construction  
  • To establish best practice (guidance) when using our structural thermal break products
  • To allow Farrat to promote this knowledge by disseminating across a number of platforms (technical helpdesk, web, technical papers, seminars, technical guides, industry journals etc.)

Buildings and Energy at the University of Salford

This PhD candidature will be undertaken with the Applied Buildings and Energy Research Group (ABERG) in the School of the Built Environment and will involve working in the Salford Energy House. This groups has undertaken major work in the areas of building fabric, controls and systems, with a specific focus on building physics and energy efficiency.

The candidate will be expected to develop high level research skills and as well as effectively communicate and apply findings in a commercial context.


We are looking for high quality candidates with an expertise in the following areas;

  • Cognate engineering, mathematical, computer sciences or science background
  • Highly numerate with experience of data analysis
  • Experience of a number of different modelling techniques
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and within teams

For full details of student requirements and specification please visit:

Funding Eligibility:

This studentship is only available to students with settled status in the UK, as classified by EPSRC eligibility. Please visit:

Enquiries: Informal enquiries may be made to Richard Fitton by email:

Curriculum vitae and supporting statement explaining their interest should be sent to