News & Events

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.

Doctoral Seminars on Sustainability Research in the Built Environment - DS2BE 2020

Share this Post:

Due to the Covid-19 containment measures, please check the latest status of the event at the organisers’ webpage.


DS²BE is a joint initiative of research groups working on sustainability issues at eight Belgian universities: Université libre de Bruxelles, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KU Leuven, UCLouvain, Université de Liège, UHasselt, UAntwerpen and UGent.


Conceived as a platform for PhD researchers whose work engages the built environment at different scales in the framework of sustainability, the DS²BE seminars provide an excellent opportunity for the doctoral students of the partner institutions to present their ongoing research. They will get feedback from a broad panel of sustainability experts, including invited specialists and peers, for furthering their research.

The call is also open to PhD researchers from Aachen, Eindhoven and Maastricht.

During the next DS²BE, which will be a two-day event on 7-8 September 2020 in Hasselt, we invite two types of presentations differentiated along the stage of the PhD research:

  • Short Presentation / Poster session - PhD researchers at the beginning of their research (1st -2nd year of PhD) are invited to make a presentation and exhibition of their work in the form of a poster (A0 size). Candidates for this session are required to submit a draft poster before the deadline and the consent of their Supervisor(s). Each presentation will be given 10 minutes; 5’ for a concise presentation followed by 5’ of feedback.
  • Long Presentation / Paper Session - PhD researchers at an advanced stage (3rd – 4th year of PhD) are invited to present a substantial part (case study, draft article or thesis chapter) of their research in the form of a full paper. Candidates for this session must submit an abstract of 300 words in English. Upon acceptance, they will be required to submit a full paper of 4000 words. The paper will be reviewed while providing written feedback to the PhD researcher via email. The paper will not be published to keep the paper confidential. This allows further development of the manuscript by the author after the seminar in order to be submitted as a journal paper or thesis chapter or even international conference paper. The added value of submitting a full paper is mainly related to the constructive feedback provided in a written format and the interactive feedback after presentation.


All posters and papers will be reviewed by the scientific committee, consisting of senior researchers from the partner institutions. A book of proceedings will be published containing the extended abstracts. To presenters, Certificates of Participation will be issued, which can be used to gain credits for PhD course work.


During the DS2BE 2020, we will have keynote speakers presentations to provide insights about “Positive impact creation for/in sustainable buildings and cities”. 

PhD candidates can provide submissions that concern topics, such as:

  • Sustainable Architecture - Resource Use and Sustainable Design, Energy efficiency and Sufficiency, Materials, Re-cycling / re-use, Building elements and envelope, History and Theory, Vernacular architecture, Bioclimatic design, Biomimetic and integrated design, Building Physics and thermal comfort, IEQ...
  • Sustainability Theory - Sustainability science, the 3 Pillars, Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, Resilience, Transition, Circularity, Systems and Complexity theories…
  • Sustainable Urbanism - Urban design, urban form, urban futures, Landscape and ecology, green infrastructure and ecosystem services, nature-based solutions, Land-use, Public space, Density, Housing, Infrastructure and transportation, Retrofitting and regeneration, and Research by Design….
  • Sustainability Analysis and Assessment - Sustainability / Environmental Assessment at building and neighborhood scales, and at the scale of city and regions; Methodologically oriented PhDs focusing on issues related to LCA (Life Cycle Analysis), I-O (Input-Output Analysis), MFA (Material Flow Analysis), simulation techniques, to exploring urban metabolism, industrial ecology, to environmental modeling, Scenario building (fore-casting and back-casting, etc.), and GIS-based land-use change modeling…

Aims and Rationale


Given the urgency of addressing climate change and sustainability issues related to the built environment, the recent proliferation of sustainability research in this regard, and after discussion with colleagues at various universities, we have evolved a consensus on taking the initiative of setting up doctoral seminars dedicated to sustainability research. Following are the main aims, objectives and rationale for this initiative:

  • To organize PhD Seminars as a platform for those PhD researchers whose work engages the built environment (at different scale, i.e. from the scale of materials, building elements, to urban form) in the framework of sustainability.
  • To provide a structured way of providing feedback to ongoing PhDs within partner universities’ research groups on sustainability, for which no such arrangement exists.
  • By opening it up with a few other partners (research groups working on SBE in other Universities), these seminars will allow PhD students to exchange viewpoints about different methodologies, modes of research, case studies, and results.  
  • PhDs will receive a valuable feedback not only from their (co)supervisors, peers, but also from experts from invited partner institutions as well.
  • Increase the visibility of Sustainability research at different scales in different universities across Belgium, and establish a platform for a productive dialogue on various issues related to working towards sustainable built environments.  
  • Networking for collaboration, combining synergies, and joint preparation for potential local, regional, National, and EU funded research projects.


The doctoral seminar takes place once a year during two days, co-organized by two universities. The location of the event changes every year. Before the event, a call for papers / presentations is launched. The candidates send in an extended abstract, along with their presentation, which is reviewed by the scientific committee. Distinction will be made between straters and more advanced PhD researchers. The selection committee is composed specifically in order to ensure an equal representation of disciplines, institutions and regions.


During the event several types of interaction take place:

  • Presentations - Plenary and thematic groups in which starters (short) and advanced (long) PhD researchers present their work to a group of participants and expert panel, followed by a short round of questions and discussion.​
  • Guest speakers - Eminent experts are invited to give lectures on specific aspects of sustainability in the built environment.
  • Social events and awards


Contact Email: Source Language:

Group roles and permissions

Use default roles and permissions