PhD position Statistical Modelling of Energy Saving Measures (1.0 fte)

University of Groningen

Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences

The University of Groningen, The Netherlands, enjoys an international reputation as one of the leading research universities in Europe. It has a large international network and an excellent reputation for academic teaching in virtually every field. The University of Groningen is socially active and offers its 6,000 staff members and 30,000 students a stimulating environment for their talents and ambitions. Groningen is an ideal, safe student city with many social and cultural activities.

Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a center of knowledge focussing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behaviour, the relationships between people, and society as a whole. Within the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, psychological research is integrated in the Heymans Institute.

Psychometrics and Statistics
The Research Programme Psychometrics and Statistics is concerned with quantitative techniques for the analysis of empirical data. The focus is on techniques for the analysis of various types of data, such as hierarchically and non-hierarchically organised data, and test and questionnaire data. The techniques of interest include component and factor analysis techniques and their generalisations, item response theory, multilevel analysis, Bayesian statistics, and time series analysis.

Job description
ENPREGA (Energy Prestation Guarantee) is a collaboration between industry and academics funded by the government through the Topsector Urban Energy Programme. Within ENPREGA, mathematical-statistical models will be developed to estimate guaranteed minimal savings due to various fossil energy saving measures such as insulation, solar panels and heat recovery systems. These models assist industry being able to offer customers a guaranteed and assist customers in making informed decisions about taking measures to decrease energy consumption. The model will take into account house characteristics, household demographics, psychological variables such as attitudes and beliefs of inhabitants as well as general characteristics such as the weather. In total, up to 1,000 variables can play a role in the model.

A large scale field experiment will be set up by the applicant in co-operation with the industrial partners. Daily energy consumption data from these households will be monitored and will form the basis for further development, validation and optimisation of the model. Data reduction techniques will be employed to find the most influential variables in the model.

As end product, a model will be developed that provides information on the projected savings due to various measures, both on the short and on the long run, taking into account potential behaviour changes of the household. Implications for society of the effectiveness of various measures will be analysed. Results will be communicated through peer-reviewed publications and through meetings with the (industrial) partners in the ENPREGA consortium.

The core of the modelling combines aspects from computing science, mathematics, statistics, psychology, and actuarial science. Throughout the project, the applicant will be in regular contact with the industrial partners to make sure that the model includes the most recent developments.

We are looking for a PhD candidate who is highly motivated to work on this project, and is particularly interested in conducting theory-based research with a high societal relevance in the field. You have a creative, critical and independent research attitude. You can work independently, but can also collaborate in a team.

You have recently obtained either a master’s degree in Statistics, (Applied) Mathematics, Econometrics, Data Science, or related fields, with affinity with social science research or a master’s degree in the Behavioural and Social Sciences, with a very strong statistical and methodological component. You are statistically skilled, and have experience with advanced data analysis and programming. You have good communication skills in English, both verbally and written. You either have at least basic communication skills in Dutch, or are willing to train yourself to the A1 CEFR-level during the first year of employment.

Conditions of employment
Contract length: 48 months.
The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,191 gross per month in the first year of the appointment, rising to € 2,801 gross per month in the fourth year for a fulltime position. This temporary position lasts four years. You will first be appointed for a period of 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining part of the project. There is a possibility of an extension of the contract by up to one year when the candidate performs additional teaching duties. Intended starting date: 1 December 2016. Application Your application should include your motivation, curriculum vitae, individual mark sheets, and contact information of at least two academic references. You may apply for this position until 31 October / before 1 November 2016 Dutch local time by means of the application form. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.
Maximum salary: 2801.

Additional information
For additional information, please contact:
Dr. Casper Albers
+31 50 3638239,

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 216278

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