Michelle Cui

Jia Cui

Research Fellow

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Staff Group(s)
Civil Engineering


Dr Jia (Michelle) Cui is a Research Fellow in Energy Efficient Buildings in the Sustainable Built Environment. She is working with Dr Anton Ianakiev in the REMOURBAN project, which is a major Future Cities demonstrator project supported by an EU Horizon 2020 investment of EU Lighthouse project scheme.

Her major responsibilities for this post include:

  • developing research objectives and proposals for individual or joint research in energy efficient buildings and the application and integration of technologies in the sustainable built environment
  • analysing and interpreting the results of this research and generate original ideas based on these outcomes
  • reviewing and interpreting results, produce research reports for publications, and present relevant information at conferences and to stakeholders
  • preparing, or assisting with the preparation of, proposals and funding applications for external bodies with the support of more senior colleagues
  • planning and managing her own and / or collaborative research and associated activity
  • communicating with internal and external contacts as necessary
  • attending and contributing to meetings, with an involvement in decision making regarding research plans, taught programmes and research seminars as appropriate
  • being involved in the assessment of student knowledge and supervision of projects
  • conducting teaching on the use of research methods and techniques.

Career overview

Prior to taking the Research Fellow post, Dr Jia (Michelle) Cui has been a part-time lecturer since 2012 at the faculty of Construction Management and the faculty of Civil Engineering, Nottingham Trent University, while she was still conducting her full-time PhD research. Examples of her teaching modules include ‘Numerical and Professional Skills for the Construction Industry’, ‘Civil Engineering Design Project’ and ‘Integration of Engineering Applications’. Teaching tasks include preparing teaching and assessment materials for and giving lectures and seminars. Teaching contents range from engineering mathematics to the applications of 2D/3D AutoCAD and BIM-associated Revit to certain extent.

Prior to embarking on her academic journey in the UK, she had worked with North China Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute for over seven years as an electrical and automation engineer. Many projects were financed by the loans and grants of World Bank, Asian Development Bank and some overseas governments. A municipal project, with the total investment up to several million pounds, features multidisciplinary cooperation among various specialties, effective team work, and time management. She was involved in several such major investment projects, in all or certain project execution phases, as a subject manager.

Research areas

Dr Jia (Michelle) Cui's PhD research was a multidisciplinary project aiming to investigate the post occupancy energy use and comfort in residential built environment. A cost-effective monitoring system and a mixed-method research approach were configured for and applied in two case study groups featuring distinctive built forms. One case study was conducted in the autonomous community, which features heavy-weight thermal mass and an energy use level close to Passivhaus standard, of the Hockerton Housing Project (HHP), Ltd. in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

The other case study was conducted, in partnership with Nottingham City Homes, in two conventionally-built and identically-retrofitted timber-frame social houses, which were home to two families composed of pensioners.

Dr Jia (Michelle) Cui's current research interests include but not limit to the following areas:

  • Building Performance Evaluation and Assessment
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Intelligent Building
  • Building and Energy Simulation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Sustainability and Environment
  • Computational Intelligence
  • Occupancy-related Built Environment
  • Renewable Energy and District Heating
  • Learning and Teaching Professional Development.

External activity

  • 2014 to present, Member, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Membership No. 8264232
  • 2006 to present, Qualification Certificate of Municipal Electrical and Automation Engineer, Approved & Authorized by Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (formally known as Ministry of Construction), The People's Republic of China
  • 2005 to present, Qualification Certificate of Translation Proficiency (Grade Two), Approved & Authorized by Ministry of Personnel, The People's Republic of China

Sponsors and collaborators

The 2009 to 2012 Vice-Chancellor's Studentship fully sponsored Dr. Jia (Michelle) Cui's PhD research, which is titled A study of energy-related occupancy activities in a sample of monitored domestic buildings in the UK; and her Postgraduate Diploma in Research Practice (with Commendation) at Nottingham Trent University.

Her MSc in Environmental management at University of Stirling was fully sponsored by the 2008 to 2009 Scottish International Scholarship.