PhD position in Complex Networks and Maximum Entropy Production Principle


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 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.

Job description

A fully funded 4-year PhD position is available in the group of Dr. Franco Ruzzenenti, in the area of Energy and Complexity studies at the Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society group, embedded in the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. The project will be co-supervised by professor Leonid M. Martyushev from the Institute of Industrial Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The maximum entropy production principle (MEPP) states that a nonequilibrium, either living or non-living, develops systems so as to maximize its entropy production under the existing constraints. This principle found many precursors and different formulations, from Lotka’s to Ziegler’s principle and many more applications, from crystal and hydrodynamic patterns to climatic and biological systems. However, the application of MEPP to complex network systems is still fragmented and tentative. In particular, the results of such works intertwine the specific features of the models and the general properties of network systems, which makes it difficult to understand the basic consequences of MEPP for arbitrary networks. Also in the literature there is no study of the features of networks temporal developing on the basis of MEPP in comparison with networks developing on the basis of other evolutionary rules. Such results are not only of theoretical interest, but can find applications both in predicting the development of economic and ecological systems, and in solving the most important problems existing in oncology and brain study.

Research project

The candidate will develop her/his own research project addressing the over-arching question of the defying a methodological framework for applying MEPP to complex networks, under the joint supervision of Dr Ruzzenenti and Professor Martyushev. She/he is also expected to develop her /his research availing by methodologies like: network theory; statistical mechanics of networks; I/O analysis; non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

The PhD candidate will be a member of the IREES group, which is located at the Energy Academy building on the Zernike Campus.


We are looking for:

● a motivated, practically skilful student with
● a BSc in Physics and an MSc degree in related subjects
● a strong interest in the energy-environmental issue
● a background in physics of complex systems physics or statistical physics will be considered an asset
● strong verbal and written communication skills (in English) are required.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer in accordance with the Collective 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
● for non-Dutch candidates a 30% tax reduction may apply
● 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. Preferred start date is January 2021. The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen Website under Human Resources:

Job Application

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

● a motivation letter with a project proposal addressing the main research question
● a curriculum vitae (including details of bachelor and master degree)
● contact details of two professional referees.

You may apply for this position until 18 October 2020 11.59pm/before 19 October 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click ¨Apply”below the advertisement on the Groningen University website).

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women 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:

Dr Franco Ruzzenenti

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220299

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

F. (Franco) Ruzzenenti, PhD

Digital application form