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Life cycle assessment and circular economy for built environment

Information about the research projects Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has become the standard for environmental performance assessment of the built environment. Currently, a clear and commonly accepted definition is lacking, making a quantitative assessment difficult for the built environment.This project aims to structure, harmonize, and combine LCA and Circular Economy (CE) for the application of new buildings and transportation systems.

The methodological approach is based on a structured literature review which is complemented by an analysis of real case studies. The application of common CE strategies to these case studies and assessments through LCA will allow reliable quantification of the environmental benefits and provide guidance for practitioners.

Furthermore, the project aims to improve the resource efficiency of material circularity in the built environment that is currently hampered by five divides that illustrate fragmentation and a lack of holistic perspective in the value chain; information, materials, actors, analytics, and market/services.

Through a co-creative research design that engages key actors in the value chain, methods to assess gains of improve resource-efficiency of solutions are developed and prototypes are proposed for optimizing the life cycle-wide management for sustainable cities.


  • You hold a Master's degree in civil engineering, transportation engineering, or environmental engineering/science(s), or you will have obtained it by the time you start working.
  • The position requires advanced expertise in LCA and the proven application of at least one LCA tool, e.g. OpenLCA, SimaPro, GaBi, circular economy, and collaboration skills.
  • Modelling experiences, STAN (subSTance flow ANalysis), Brightway or Python.
  • You have a good process knowledge of Building information modeling and resource recovery, and a good understanding of the construction process and transportation systems.
  • You have demonstrated excellent study results.
  • You are quality-oriented and conscientious.
  • You manage your time well and meet deadlines with an outcome-focused and problem-solving mentality. You are proactive and independent in your work.
  • You have outstanding oral and written communication skills in English and communicate clearly and honestly.
  • You have excellent social skills to collaborate in a constructive and respectful manner with colleagues and students.


How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you would be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Muhammad Shafique - Dr. Muhammad Shafique is currently a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel University London, Since May 2022. Prior to this, he was a Postdoc fellow in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering from the City University of Hong Kong and M.S in Smart City and Construction Engineering from the University of Science and Technology, Korea. Dr. Shafique’s research uses life cycle assessment, circular economy, and scenario modeling to identify the environmental problems of emerging products and systems. Historically, our society has taken a reactionary approach to the environment. By proactively understanding the environmental issues of technologies that are still under development, we can identify a greater number of optimal options and innovative solutions to avoid or reduce negative consequences. Shafique works on interdisciplinary topics including sustainable construction and transportation systems, green buildings, building information modeling (BIM), carbon-neutrality, sustainable design of energy systems, advanced fuels, sustainable and smart materials, machine learning, energy, environment & economics nexus, and climate change adaptation. One of his core areas of work includes developing an integrated modeling approach based on life cycle assessment and circular economy for sustainable construction and urban mobility. Looking forward, Dr. Shafique is determined to fight against climate change and reduce the carbon footprint of the civil and transportation industry as the key considerations while enabling a high level of sustainability and well-being for users. Shafique is always looking for talented and motivated Ph.D. students as well as new collaborators for research projects. To date, Dr. Shafique has published more than 40 papers in high-impact journals. In addition, Dr. Shafique is a peer reviewer for over 30 high-impact factor journals. Dr. Shafique is the Associate Editor of Frontiers in Energy Research; Frontiers in Sustainability and an Editorial Board Member of the Land, Buildings and Smart Cities (MDPI) journal. Shafique is at the top 2% most highly cited scientists for 2021and 2022 according to the Elsevier/Stanford list.