PhD position: Robust Energy Transition Pathways

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Moret group, hosted by the Energy & Process Systems Engineering (EPSE) laboratory within the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, is looking for a doctoral student working on robust energy systems modelling and strategic decision-making for the Swiss and European energy transition. The position is funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Ambizione grant, which connects several groups within and outside of ETH Zurich and focuses on developing methodologies to consider uncertainty in energy and engineering models. The research group is headed by Dr Stefano Moret, an SNSF Ambizione Principal Investigator and Group Leader at ETH Zurich, and the doctoral thesis will be co-supervised by Prof. André Bardow, head of the EPSE group.

The research of the Moret group develops along two main research axes: (i) the development of fast and concise whole-energy systems models and (ii) the consideration of uncertainty in energy systems planning and strategic decision-making. We develop advanced mathematical methods to embed uncertainty in energy systems optimization models and have a strong interest as well as a track record in applying our models to support strategic decision-making in industry and the public sector. The Moret group is hosted by and works closely with the EPSE laboratory, which is headed by Prof. André Bardow and generally focuses on sustainable energy systems and chemical production processes, developing methods to advance sustainable energy and chemical process systems from the molecular to the scale of the system.

Project background

Modern energy research has to deal with complex and integrated systems, characterized by large amounts of available data. Strategic energy planning problems are fundamental – and increasingly – uncertain, and models must inevitably rely on simplifying assumptions, inaccurate forecasts as well as limited or incomplete information. Recent research has shown that considering uncertainty can dramatically improve the resilience and robustness of decisions and plans drafted based on the outcomes of energy system models. Yet, for a range of reasons, spanning from methodological to practical limitations, uncertainty is to date very seldomly accounted for in energy research. This project will contribute to addressing these limitations, working towards the vision of a systematic consideration of uncertainty in energy systems and strategic decision-making models to enable a robust and timely energy transition.

Job description

You will work within a highly interdisciplinary project, at the intersection of energy modelling, engineering and operations research, where you will develop novel methods for modelling, optimization under uncertainty and data science for energy systems planning. More specifically, you will participate in 
(i) developing cutting-edge stochastic and robust methods to consider uncertainty in optimization models;
(ii) characterizing and accounting for the uncertainty associated with the planning of future energy systems;
(iii) modelling and assessing the impact of uncertainty in the Swiss and European energy transition, with unique opportunities for outreach and impact.

To this end, you will have access to state-of-the-art computational capabilities, and you will be in contact with leading experts at ETH Zurich and internationally.

Your profile

We are looking for a proactive and highly motivated candidate, with a MSc degree in a quantitative discipline (such as engineering, physics, or mathematics) from a recognized University. You have a strong background in quantitative modeling (mathematical modelling and optimization are an asset), energy systems and/or programming. Professional command of English (both written and spoken) is mandatory. Furthermore, you will need to enjoy working in a dynamic and international environment with other doctoral students and postdocs.

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae, max. 2 pages
  • Motivational Letter, max. 2 pages
  • Transcript of records (including detail of grades, where available)
  • Contact details of 2 referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal before 30 September 2022. We will not consider applications sent via email or postal services. We will get in touch with you after 2-3 weeks following the submission deadline.

Further information about the Moret group and Energy & Process Systems Engineering Laboratory can be found on the website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr Stefano Moret, morets@ethz.ch (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.