UniversityEindhoven University of Technology
Faculty/DepartmentInnovation Sciences
Research GroupTechnology, Innovation & Society
Work packageWP3: Demand, storage & new market models

WP10: Integral transition models
Job TypePhD Positions
FTE1.0
Contract Length4 years
LocationEindhoven
Date off31/10/2020

The NEON project: 5 PhD positions to accelerate the energy transition.

Project description

NEON ‘lights the way to zero emission energy and mobility’. If you become a researcher within NEON you will be actively involved in solving the interrelated challenges of climate, energy and mobility. NEON does this in close collaboration with companies and policy makers. Key to NEON is an interdisciplinary approach combining social, economic and technological expertise. In addition to producing excellent science, NEON aims at a large societal impact. One of the ways this will done is by publishing an annual New Energy Outlook for the Netherlands, which analyses the current state of the renewable energy and smart mobility transitions and summarizes all the research done within the project over the past year.

At TU/e we are inviting applications to join the NEON team.

  • Vacancy A (1 PhD position) The NEON project: Energy demand and new market models
  • Vacancy B (1 PhD position) The NEON project: Technical standards to accelerate the energy transition
  • Vacancy C (2 PhD positions) The NEON project: Modeling the energy and mobility transition
  • Vacancy D (1 PhD position) The NEON project: Modeling Climate impacts

The NEON project

This Phd position is part of the NEON Research program. An interdisciplinary program with over 30 Phd positions, over 20 involved companies and 7 academic institutions. Lighting the way to zero emission energy and mobility by combining engineering, psychology, and social sciences into integrated models to explore, shape and predict these transitions.

NEON is a program aiming at a large societal impact. One of the ways this will done is by publishing an annual New Energy Outlook for the Netherlands, which analyses the current state of the renewable energy and smart mobility transitions and summarizes all the research done within the project over the past year.

Furthermore the project aims to get the most out of its PhDs by having a postdoc involved in job-crafting. Monthly coaching and co-creation workshops and a shared ‘innovation space’ where all researchers come together at least once a week to create a truly and well-integrated multidisciplinary team, all working towards the shared goal of accelerating the sustainability transition.

Job description

Vacancy C (2 PhD positions) The NEON project: Modeling the energy and mobility transition

This project aims to develop the core NEON models. Using agent-based simulation and other modelling approaches you will develop a methodology that turns the inputs of NEON researchers and stakeholders in energy and mobility into integral, quantified and potentially disruptive scenarios. These models will be used to, together with stakeholders, find scenarios that can successfully address energy, mobility and climate challenges. Creating these models entails several modeling and conceptual challenges, from creating digital twins of specific neighbourhoods to forecasting the role of emerging or novel technologies in the future energy system to creating interfaces that allow stakeholders and policymakers to meaningfully interact with the models. For these positions we are looking for candidates with a background in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, or Energy sciences.

 

Vacancy A (1 PhD position) Energy demand and new market models

This project aims to develop an inclusive framework for different market models in order to be able to explore the impacts of the different options in terms of energy, costs and GHG reductions. Important challenges are how we can design new market models that foster the energy and mobility transition and that are at the same time inclusive and socially just; how we can design market models that allow users at different scales to actively participate in and contribute to the energy transition; how can we develop business cases for new products and services such as seasonal storage. The project combines design of market models and tariffs, experiments in living labs and simulation. For this position we are looking for students with a background in Economics, Energy science, or Innovation sciences.

 

Vacancy B (1 PhD position) Technical standards to accelerate the energy transition

This project aims to create better understanding on how the transition to sustainable energy and mobility can be supported and accelerated by the use of technical standards. The expectation is that the relevant solutions in these fields will not be isolated ones but will be based on connectivity and interoperability. This is best facilitated by the development and adoption appropriate technical standards. But if the market fails to develop these, we may see the rise monopolies in one or even more layers in the value chain, instead of a healthy market. Here, not only the availability of standards matters, but also their adoption, and the legal/political framework. In close collaboration with other researchers in the NEON project, and close consultation with stakeholders, the candidate will identify the need for standards in relevant areas. Using insights from the evolving literature as well as extensive data collection, the candidate will carry out three critical case studies on the development adoption, identify possible obstacles, and develop policy recommendations. As an example, a case study could focus on vehicle-to-vehicle communications, where two different standards have been developed, but where the car industry and others are very divided of which one is be used, and where European legislators are considering to make one of the standards mandatory (which is an unusual step, but deemed necessary by some to ensure interoperability). Other examples include DC power distribution) and WP6 (medium voltage chargers). Other contemporary examples include standards for (DC) power grids, for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power, smart charging and medium voltage chargers, and IoT in relation to mobility and energy. Intensive collaboration between the TU/e and stakeholder, standards bodies, and regulators, facilitate the candidate in carrying out this research. For this position we are looking for candidates with a background in Innovation studies, Innovation management, Economics, or Sustainable energy technologies. Candidates who worked on technical standards during their Master are especially welcomed to apply.

 

Vacancy D Modeling climate impacts

This project aims to evaluate the actual contribution of new technologies to the energy and mobility transition by evaluating their environmental performance? We anticipate that this will require a mixed method approach, combining quantitative assessments with more qualitative research.

The starting point is the impact (environmental, sustainability, e.g. LCA) of these technologies over their life cycle. The challenges will be to do this for emerging technologies and future context; to link this to the integrated NEON model on energy systems, to show critical trade-offs; and to link it to societal readiness. We envision that the environmental performance interacts with different enabling conditions of the energy and mobility transitions. These enabling conditions are, by IPCC (2018), defined as: multi-level governance, technological innovation, behavior change, finance, policy and institutional capacity. These enabling conditions need to reinforce each other to accelerate the systems transitions. How do LCA-results interact with these enabling conditions? What role could environmental performance assessments play in accelerating systems transitions? For this position we are looking for students with a background in Environmental Sciences, Sustainability Sciences or Sustainable Energy Technologies.

Organisation

The above PhD projects are embedded in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). TU/e is one of the world’s leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement). It is in particular well‐known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies).

Within the Department IE&IS you will be affiliated with the research group Technology, Innovation & Society (TIS). The TIS group of the School of Innovation Sciences is an ambitious, international group. Our research focuses on understanding the development and use of technology in a societal context. Our staff teaches in the BSc program ‘Sustainable Innovation’, and the MSc program ‘Innovation Sciences’, as well as in university-wide programs for engineering students.

The department of IE&IS has a strong national and international reputation for both basic research in the academic community and applied research with industry. You will have the opportunity to benefit from that environment and to contribute to the ongoing research.

Job requirements

The ideal advanced students for this program will have a strong, demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced study in technology- and policy-related fields, with a high level of accomplishment in their Master’s level study. More specifically, NEON PhD candidates:

  • hold a relevant Master’s degree (see details above).
  • have good communication skills and command of written and spoken English
  • are reliable, can work and deliver timely both independently and in a team, and have strong organisational skills and a pro-active work attitude

Working Conditions

  • You are part of the NEON ‘family’ of over 30 PhD students that support each other and work together. Physical and virtual facilities and activities and support are organised to facilitate this.
  • A full-time appointment for a period of 4 years at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). With an intermediate evaluation after nine months
  • Gross monthly salary from € 2.395 (gross in the first year) to € 3.061 per month (last year).
  • TU/e offers an additional 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • An attractive package of fringe benefits, including a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program), and excellent sport facilities.
  • You are part of the NEON family.

Furthermore, the project support its PhD students through job-crafting, monthly coaching and co-creation workshops and a shared ‘innovation space’ where all researchers come together at least once a week to create a truly and well-integrated multidisciplinary team, all working towards the shared goal of accelerating the sustainability transition.

Application procedure

Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):

  • Cover letter (max. 2 pages), in which you motivate your interest in this vacancy and explicitly describe your fit with this research project including a short description of your research ideas.
  • Indicate clearly to which vacancy you are applying. When you apply to multiple vacancies, please mention this in your letter and indicate your preference.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae
  • A list of grades from your master
  • A sample research document written by the candidate: a relevant (working) paper, or a master thesis
  • Name and contact information of two references
  • If your degree is not from an English-spoken program, a proof of proficiency in English needs to be included in your package (such as IELTS or TOEFL).

Note that incomplete applications will not be considered.

We ask candidates to apply before the deadline of 31/10/2020. A first round of interviews will take place around mid-November.

  • To apply For Vacancy A: Energy demand and new market models V39.4646 please click here and use the “apply now button”.
  • To apply for Vacancy B: Technical standards to accelerate the energy transition V39.4647 please click here and use the “apply now button”.
  • To apply for Vacancy C:  Modeling the energy and mobility transition V39.4648 please click here and use the “apply now button”.
  • To apply for Vacancy D: Modeling climate impacts V39.4649 please click here and use the “apply now button”.

Please note that a maximum of 5 documents can be uploaded, so if you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them. Please do not send us applications by e-mail.

Further information

For further information about the NEON research project, please contact program director Auke Hoekstra (a.e.hoekstra@tue.nl). For specific questions you can also contact: For vacancy B prof.dr.ir.ing. Rudi Bekkers (r.n.a.bekkers@tue.nl), vacancy A and vacancy C prof.dr. Floor Alkemade (f.alkemade@tue.nl), vacancy D prof.dr.ir. Heleen de Coninck (h.c.de.coninck@tue.nl).

Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Ms. Kim van Puijenbroek, the HR advisor (pz.ieis@tue.nl).

 

Further information about the Eindhoven University of Technology can be found at www.tue.nl.