Job Postings

3-year post-doc position in energy modeling available at the University of Geneva, Switzerland


Group: The Energy Efficiency Group (https://www.unige.ch/efficience/en/) at the University of Geneva, led by Prof. Martin Patel, is looking to fill an open 3-year postdoc position in energy modeling, in the framework of an interdisciplinary research project financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The successful applicant will become member of the Department F.-A. Forel for Environmental and Aquatic Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and will be housed by the inter-faculty Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE, http://www.unige.ch/environnement) that is active in cross-disciplinary research in the domains of energy, climate change, surface waters and urban ecology as well as sustainability. The institute represents an enthusiastic, dynamic and international working environment. It offers an interdisciplinary Master program in Environmental Sciences (MUSE) with a track on Energy to which the successful candidates will contribute. The successful candidate will work in an interdisciplinary team with Dr. David Parra from the Energy Efficiency Group and Dr. Ulf Hahnel from the Consumer Decision and Sustainable Behavior Lab of the University of Geneva.

Project: The research project “Consumer-driven impacts on the grid: Peer effects on the diffusion of technologies and strategies to manage PV electricity and demand” brings together researchers from the University of Geneva, the UC Berkeley, the University College London (UCL), the University of Groningen, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology as well as industry partners such as with the Services Industriels de Genève (SIG), the local utility. The project team aims to (i) better understand the underpinnings of consumer preferences for PV systems and enabling technologies, e.g., electric vehicles and heat pumps, (ii) predict the diffusion of these technologies as well as their impacts on the grid infrastructure and (iii) infer evidence-based win-win situations for policy and industry. Two postdocs (one with background in psychology and one with background in engineering/physics/information systems) will be hired on the project and will work in close collaboration in order to comprehensively assess and integrate consumer preferences into state-of-the-art agent-based modeling (ABM).

The successful candidate will perform agent-based modeling (ABM) of consumer preferences towards technologies and strategies to manage PV electricity and demand. In parallel, she/he will develop optimization models for the various consumer preferences, e.g., autarky maximization and solar heating, already identified in the experimental empirical research (e.g., surveys). The objective of this task is to understand both consumer benefits and grid impacts, as well as their trade-offs. Finally, all the methods will be connected, in collaboration with the other post-doc from psychology, to test various policy mechanisms and other type of interventions, finally evaluating the aggregated impacts of consumer choices.

Working conditions: The Energy Efficiency group provides a stimulating research environment to work on some of today’s most pressing societal challenges. The successful candidate will benefit from a large interdisciplinary network including ISE and the Swiss Competence Center for Research in Heat and Electricity Storage (https://www.sccer-hae.ch). The postdoc will further benefit from excellent working conditions including a competitive salary (beginning at about CHF 81’000) and funding for travel and further education. Moreover, the project is equipped with additional financial resources for international collaboration. Geneva is located between the Alps, the Jura, and Lake Geneva, and is noted for its international character and high quality of life. Geneva consistently ranks among the most attractive cities worldwide to live.

Requirements: Applicants must have an excellent PhD in engineering, physics or a related field, excellent programming and statistical skills (ideally being an energy modeler), as well as a strong interest in interdisciplinary research in the topics of renewable and storage technologies. Previous experience with agent-based modeling is, in principle, required, as well as programming skills in Python and/or Matlab. Moreover, a proven track-record of publications as first author should be demonstrated as the candidate is expected to publish in top journals in the field. Furthermore, applicants should be willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment. Excellent oral and written skills in English are required. Knowledge in an official Swiss language is a plus. The successful candidate is expected to work independently, and drive an interdisciplinary collaboration with the support of the mentor and the rest of the team.

Application process: Interested applicants are asked to send one PDF document containing a cover letter outlining their motivation to conduct research in the context of this project and their CV with a description of scientific achievements, including a list of publications. Additional required documents are relevant certifications (or transcript of grades), the two most significant publications for the open position (i.e., journal publications and/or PhD thesis) and the names and contact information of three referees to david.parra@unige.ch. Review will begin on November 4. The recruitment process will continue until the position has been filled. The earliest starting date is January 1, 2020. For questions please email david.parra@unige.ch.

The job description of the postdoc position in engineering can be retrieved under:
https://www.unige.ch/fapse/decisionlab/files/9415/7104/7117/PostDoc_P2G_energy_final.pdf

The job description (psychology/consumer behavior) can be retrieved under:
https://www.unige.ch/fapse/decisionlab/files/2915/7104/7130/PostDoc_P2G_Psych_final.pdf

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