ENAC – PhD openings in non-visual effects of (day)light

The Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID) at EPFL has two PhD openings starting on September 1, 2020.


Within the broader objectives of the LIGHTCAP project – which stands for LIGHT, Cognition, Attention, Perception – supported by the Horizon 2020 ITN program which involves 8 universities with altogether 15 PhD openings (more information here), research conducted at LIPID will aim to determine how lighting conditions found in the built environment influence the neurophysiological behavior of its occupants, with a dedicated focus on daylighting aspects. We will put a special emphasis on alertness and circadian phase synchronization, and will explore how these co-called non-visual responses to light (attention and cognition, alertness, phase-shifting effects) complement visual comfort requirements.


The objectives of these PhD projects will be to investigate how lighting conditions found in the built environment influence the neurophysiological behavior of its occupants, with a dedicated focus on daylighting aspects and a special emphasis on alertness and circadian phase synchronization. The work will combine user experiments – mostly in real-life conditions and involving wearable technology – and computational modelling. A more extensive description of the overall LIGHTCAP project and its organizational framework can be found on the LIGHTCAP website.

The researchers will also closely interface with ongoing projects within the LIPID lab, notably pertaining to the spectral effectiveness of light for human health or the concept of ‘spectral diet’ for humans, and extend these concepts to real-life exposure within the built environment.


EPFL is one of the most dynamic university campuses in Europe and ranks among the top 20 universities worldwide and offers an exceptional working environment with very competitive salaries. LIPID offers a highly motivating, interdisciplinary scientific environment, with excellent research facilities. This project also offers the opportunity to collaborate with seven other universities and with the private sector, including secondments at TU Eindhoven and at the project’s industrial partners (ARUP, VELUX).


Candidates interested in interdisciplinary approaches and with prior knowledge and/or background in one or more of the following fields are sought: (day)lighting and photometry; biology / neuroscience; psychology; physics / mathematics / statistics; computational engineering / data science.

Experience in lab (with experimental equipment) and/or in field studies (with human subjects) is a plus. There is no limitation concerning the country of origin of the candidate but for this particular project, candidates should not have spent more than 12 months in Switzerland in the 3 years preceding their expected start date at EPFL (01.09.2020) and should have obtained their MSc degree (or equivalent) no more than 4 years ago.


In case of interest, or if you have questions, please contact Prof. Marilyne Andersen, Head of the LIPID laboratory, via email at [email protected] as soon as possible. Formal applications including a letter of motivation, a CV of the candidate, a transcript of records and the contact information of three references, should be sent via email (as a single pdf file) at the same address before April 15, 2020. All candidates will have to apply in parallel to one of the EPFL doctoral schools (e.g. EDNEEDCE or EDAR depending on their background) by the same deadline (April 15) to be eligible.