PhD Flexible Energy Communities: Coupling e-mobility and energy communities

Department

Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences

Organisation

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has had top priority for four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a centre of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behaviour, and the relationships between people and society. This includes the study of how people function under normal circumstances, of the problems encountered by individuals or groups, and how these can be resolved or prevented. The Department of Psychology is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in both Dutch and English to over 3,000 students, including the international Master programme Environmental Psychology (https://www.rug.nl/masters/environmental-psychology/).

Job description

The Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen offers a PhD position in the project “FlexECs: Flexible Energy Communities: Coupling e-mobility and energy communities”.

The project. FlexECs is an interdisciplinary project funded by Dutch Research Council (NWO) and investigates the opportunities and challenges for forming mobile energy communities (EC). In a more decentralized energy system ECs are pivotal to facilitate local shared energy production, consumption, selling and storing. However, the common assumption that ECs are bound to people living at relatively close proximity might limit their potential role and success. The core idea of this research project is to harness the social network structures of existing communities so that like-minded citizens living further apart could participate in ECs, too. FlexECs addresses this challenge by researching the synergies between ECs and electric mobility, essentially “mobile ECs”. Electrical vehicle (EV) batteries enable the transfer of energy from one location to another without being constrained by the fixed energy grid, expanding the scope of ECs. This could create more flexibility in the future design of ECs and accelerate the energy transition. Building from expertise across multiple disciplines, stakeholders, and existing ECs, this project will (1) co-create planning and evaluation tools for mobile ECs, taking into account heterogeneity in social, technical, legal, economic and spatial factors, and (2) introduce innovations via feasibility studies for implementation of mobile ECs in real-world projects involving researchers, as well as public and private stakeholders.

In total, 6 PhDs and 2 postdocs will work on the project. The current advertisement is for a PhD position that focuses on the psychological and social dimensions of ECs. Yet, interdisciplinary (i.e., collaboration with spatial sciences, economics, engineering) and transdisciplinary (i.e., collaboration with partners from practice and policy making) work are central aspects of the position. You will publish the results of your studies in international scientific journals, which will be part of your PhD thesis, and present your work at international conferences. You will be a member of the Environmental Psychology Group.

The Research Group. Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen has a national and international reputation for excellence. Research within the Environmental Psychology group focuses on a wide range of topics, including understanding which factors affect sustainable behaviours (such as energy use, car use, food consumption, and participation in environmental groups); understanding how people and groups cope with environmental and climate risks; understanding the effectiveness of strategies to promote sustainable behaviour; understanding the acceptability environmental policies and changes; and the effects of climate change and sustainable behaviour on wellbeing.

The research aims to contribute to theory development and practice, and is embedded in the research programme Interpersonal Behaviour. The Environmental Psychology group collaborates with scholars from different disciplines within and outside the University of Groningen, as well as with governments, NGOs, and various business organisations.

Requirements

We are looking for a PhD student who is highly motivated to work on this topic, and is particularly interested in conducting theory-based research with a high societal impact.

• You have completed a Master in Psychology with a focus on Environmental Psychology, or a scientific education which is closely related to this, or you expect to receive such a Master degree soon. You have a creative, critical and independent research attitude and you are open to different perspectives on this research topic. You can work independently, but can also collaborate with other members of the research group, as well as with partners from other disciplines and practice. You have good communication skills in English, both verbally and written (willingness to learn Dutch is also appreciated). We’re looking for candidates with demonstrable competences as conceptual capacity, presenting, monitoring, planning and organizing.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a temporary position of 1.0 FTE for a period of four years. You will first be appointed for a period of one year. After a positive result and development interview, the contract will be extended for the next three years.
• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year of the appointment, rising to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time position
• 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus on the annual gross income
• attractive secondary and market terms of employment
• job classification in the UFO job profile of PhD.

Intended starting date: 1 September 2022

Job Application

Applicants are requested to submit:

- a motivation letter (max. 2 pages) stating your motivation to apply for the position, your key qualities and interests that are relevant for the vacant position
- an up-to-date curriculum vitae
- a list of course grades
- contact information of two academic references.

You can apply for this position until 17 July 11:59 pm / before 18 July 2022 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university's website).

Interviews are currently scheduled for Thursday 21 and/or Friday 22 July 2022.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

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Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Thijs Bouman
t.bouman@rug.nl

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 222449

Digital application form