PhD position in Climate-Energy Modelling (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage more than 32,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG) is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering ( ESRIG has formulated its mission: "Contribute to sustainable energy utilisation and resource exploitation in the coming century for more people". Translated into practice this implies performing excellent energy and sustainability research, both fundamental, applied, and reflective. The institute's character is balanced, with research varying from experimental (laboratory and field experiments) to model studies and research into societal interaction with scientific knowledge. Interdisciplinary approach has always been a constitutive element of research and teaching activity at ESRIG, to be achieved through the mutual understanding and cooperation of different groups, from the Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society (IREES) to the Centre for Isotope Research; from the unit of Combustion Technology to Ocean Ecosystems (OE).

Job description

Climate affects changes in energy demand (e.g. winter heating, summer cooling, isolation techniques) and with the emergence of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro) also increasingly decentralised energy production. This suggests that balancing energy production and demand will become increasingly complex, in particular under extreme (and coincident) climate conditions. An example of such extreme conditions concerns cold episodes in winter with a persistent high-pressure area over northeastern Europe, maximizing demand and minimizing renewable production (reduced wind, brief periods of sunlight). Climate will also change the energy supply because it partially depends on water availability (e.g. to cool energy plants in periods of extreme drought). Climate warming will considerably alter climate variability and extremes, meaning that the coming decades will see a transition of our energy system (i.e. trends in production types and demand) while the climate (extremes) under which the system should continue to function will also change rapidly.

Within this project, we aim to address this complex, multidisciplinary issue by combining state-of-the-art climate models assessing future changes in climate variability/extremes with sophisticated energy production/demand models. We will investigate changes in European weather/climate fluctuations on time scales of hours to years using regional climate/weather models embedded in global climate models. To quantify future energy demand/production changes we will employ an array of energy models, from basic to elaborate. We will also use the existing model data sets to provide a benchmark of future changes in climate and energy. Ultimately we will be able to evaluate the robustness of the future energy system to changes in climate variability and extremes.

This multidisciplinary project will bring together specialists in climate change, variability and extremes (ESRIG/OE, KNMI), energy research, water energy links (ESRIG/IREES), and energy transport/security (Vattenfall). The PhD candidate will be stationed at ESRIG (Groningen) but is expected to work on average 1-2 days per week at the Royal Netherland Meteorological Institute (KNMI) in De Bilt.

At ESRIG, you will further receive excellent training through innovative research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years. You are expected to contribute 10% of the overall workload to teaching.


We are looking for:

- a motivated, practically skillful candidate
- a candidate with a MSc degree in physics or a related subject and a strong interest in energy climate issues
- a candidate with a background in climate/energy modelling
- a candidate with experience in processing/analysing large data sets (this will be considered an asset)
- a candidate with strong verbal and written communication skills (in English), as well as the ability to work independently and in a (diverse) team.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,395 in the first year to a maximum of € 3,061 gross per month in the final year (PhD salary scale), based on a full-time position
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus.

The position is for four years. First, you will be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate whether a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering of the Faculty.

The starting date is flexible.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include (please merge all documents into one PDF file):

• a cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position (max. 1 page)
• a curriculum vitae, including details of bachelor and master degrees, list of work experience as well as other skills and a publication list, if applicable
• a detailed (max. 1 page) description of previous research experience, such as bachelor/master research projects; indicate exactly your contribution
• contact details of 2 academic references who can provide information on your suitability for the position.

You may apply for this position until 6 September 11:59pm / before 7 September 12:00 pm 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click "Apply" below the advertisement on the Groningen University website). Interviews are scheduled to take place in the second half of September 2020.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. R. Bintanja

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220257

Digital application form