Early Stage Researcher in Energy Markets University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering United Kingdom

Early Stage Researcher in Energy Markets

Vacancy Ref: : 042127

Closing Date : 05-Jan-2018

Contact Person : Dr. Harry Van Der Weijde

Contact Number :

Contact Email : H.Vanderweijde@ed.ac.uk

The ENSYSTRA consortium is now recruiting 15 outstanding Early Stage researchers (ESRs) for the interdisciplinary ENSYSTRA training network. One of these positions, which focuses on energy market modelling, is available in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. This ESR will perform research on energy market design, using optimisation and equilibrium modelling techniques, follow the ENSYSTRA training programme consisting of annual summer schools and workshops, and participate in two industrial and one academic secondment abroad. The ESR will be registered as a PhD student in the School of Engineering, and will submit a PhD thesis at the end of the project.


The post will be taken up on the 1st of April 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and is for 3 years. Candidates should hold a good undergraduate degree in mathematics, economics, engineering, or a related discipline and meet PhD admissions requirements and EU mobility requirements. Experience in economic or electrical modelling, programming, and/or optimization and or equilibrium modelling is desirable.


1. Job Details

Job title: Early Stage Researcher in Energy Markets
School: School of Engineering
Unit: Institute for Energy Systems
Line manager: Dr Harry van der Weijde


2. Job Purpose

This Early Stage Researcher position will contribute to the ENSYSTRA project within the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, which is funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission , and study for a PhD degree in the School of Engineering

The researcher will work closely together with other researchers in the network, including social scientists, economists and engineers, both to make sure market models are informed by practice, and to help others quantify the effects of policies. Moreover, three secondments are planned. This includes two industrial secondments, at the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and Gasunie the Dutch gas network operator, to see how more market realism can be added to models used in industry and to find out which important questions industrial stakeholders need answers to, and an academic secondment at the University of Groningen.


3. Main Responsibilities


Undertake research on energy market design to support energy transitions. This will entail both independent research work and working in collaboration with other researchers on the ENSYSTRA project. The successful candidate will proactively engage with collaborating researchers to identify fruitful lines of research in this area, with a view to understanding, defining, and quantifying how market design can help or hinder decarbonisation. The results of this research will be written up as a PhD thesis (60% of time)

Attend and help organise the ENSYSTRA training programme, including annual summer schools and workshops organised at the ENSYSTRA partners in Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden (5% of time)

Dissemination of research findings through internal reports, conference proceedings, and journal publications (15% of time)

Undertake secondments at two international industrial partners and one academic partner in The Netherlands to inform and disseminate research (15% of time)

Meet all mandatory training events and milestones related to being a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh


4. Planning and Organising


• Work with the line manager to define and plan a programme of relevant research work and then to produce a PhD thesis and other publishable results within appropriate timescales
• Work independently to plan the schedule of tasks to ensure that work of the projects progresses according to agreed overall timetable
• Organise own time so that different aspects of the project can proceed in parallel giving due consideration to the needs of other members of the team
• Be proactive in interacting with project partners to share data and ideas
• Take a leadership role in regular project meetings to report and review progress, and to generate new ideas and lines of research
• Determine the aims, objectives and deadlines for short to medium term work plan, in discussion with the Line Manager (particularly for medium term planning).
• Contribute to long-term strategic planning and development of group activities, in discussion with the Line Manager and other researchers.


5. Problem Solving


• Be resourceful in overcoming problems encountered in the development of new approaches and the implementation of existing techniques in the normal course of the research.
• Define the methodology to solve the problems in the project.
• Work in close cooperation with the other project investigators, project partners, technical staff, and PhD students working on the project to resolve problems, as required.


6. Decision Making


• The post-holder should be able to organise his/her work schedule to ensure satisfactory progress and to meet the demands (where realistic) of other project partners, PhD students, etc. The successful candidate will play an important role as a member of the team in making daily decisions about their own plan of work and the allocation of time and resources.
• Manage day-to-day work load, making independent decisions about immediate priorities to meet short and medium term targets that have been agreed with Line Manager.


7. Key Contacts/Relationships

Frequent (daily to weekly) contact with other researchers in the project team and relevant research groups including academic staff, other postdoctoral researchers and PhD students.

Regular (weekly to monthly) contact with other researchers working on relevant problems in the University of Edinburgh.

Regular (typically monthly) contact with key stakeholders, likely to include industry.


8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job



• A first or 2:1 (or international equivalent) undergraduate degree in economics, mathematics, engineering or a clearly related area, with a focus on energy, or a closely related area
• If non-native speakers, being able to provide proof of English proficiency at the time of appointment, in the form of one out of:
o IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
o TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
o PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the “Communicative Skills” sections)
o CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
• Being able to provide proof of meeting EU mobility requirements. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
• Being able to provide proof of meeting EU ESR requirements. ESRs are those who are, at the time of recruitment, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of a research careers.
• Knowledge and understanding required for economic modelling of future electricity systems, including knowledge of microeconomics and optimisation.
• Capable of working collaboratively with researchers from different disciplines or technical background.
• Capable of working independently, exercising a high degree of initiative and demonstrating a pro-active and flexible approach to work.
• Ability to work under pressure and meet agreed milestones.
• Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships.
• Good time-keeping and time-management, with associated effective prioritisation of tasks.
• Good communication skills; oral, writing and presentation of data.
• Ability to contribute ideas and initiate new ways of working.



• Experience in programming using relevant commercially available or in-house software, such as GAMS, AIMMS, XPRESS, Matlab, Python or Julia.
• Experience in relevant modelling techniques, including optimisation and/or equilibrium modelling.
• Practical experience of engagement with industry.
• Ability to be adaptive and accepting of new ideas and a willingness to approach new challenges and adjusts plans to meet new priorities.


9. Dimensions


• Potential to help supervise up to Masters project students and contribute to teaching activities as part of the ESR training programme.
• Work collaboratively with other ESRs and RAs, industrial and academic partners, PhD students from the participating and related groups and researchers from other universities
• Responsibility for regular progress reporting to project partners
• Keep line manager up-to-date with progress
• Contribute to interactions between immediate group and broader communities working in the fields of energy market and system modelling.


Job Context


ENSYSTRA - the ENergy SYStems in TRAnsition Innovative Training Network is the unique interdisciplinary Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission, targeting solutions for integrated energy systems transition. The ENSYSTRA consortium consists of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.


ENSYSTRA will train 15 ESRs in all aspects of energy systems transition. PhD subjects range from energy systems modelling, scenario analysis, technology development, socio-technical cultures, participatory approaches, investment modelling, market design, and cross-border regulatory frameworks. All ESRs are part of the international ENSYSTRA training network and will benefit from targeted training in interdisciplinary energy systems transition through workshops, summer schools and subject specific courses.


Every ESR will work with one or more of the 23 ENSYSTRA partners from the energy sector. ESRs will be trained in the scientific, technical and business skills, and will become highly sought-after experts for front-runner businesses and other organisations that will shape the energy transition. ESRs will carry out research at a home university and intensively interact with other ESRs in ENSYSTRA through joint research and participation in workshops and summer schools.


The objective of this particular ESR is to explore how markets can be designed and operated to support North Sea and wider EU energy transitions. To do so, it will develop mathematical models that move away from traditional central optimisation-based approaches to include the complexities of real-world gas, electricity and other energy markets, including imperfect competition, barriers to trade, neighbouring jurisdictions with different market mechanisms, etc. These models are likely to be (partial) equilibrium models, which can be cast as mathematical problems with equilibrium constraints (MPECs) or similar problems. These models, in conjunction with more qualitative analysis, can then be used to identify market designs and other policies, at national, North Sea region and European levels, that could increase the efficiency of cross-European networks and decrease the costs of renewable integration. They will also be compared to other modelling approaches used by other researchers in the network, including agent-based and large-scale optimisation models.


Other vacancies in the network include

ESR 1: Modelling of Whole North Sea Energy System (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
ESR 2: Modelling Dispatchable Loads in Interlinked Power, Heat and Transport Models (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany)
SR 3: Modelling of Policies and Investments for a Large-scale Introduction of Variable Renewable Energy Power Production (Chalmers University, Sweden)
ESR 4: Spatial Modelling and Potentials of Energy Systems and Transport for the North Sea (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
ESR 5: Simulation of Sustainable Pathways of the EU-28 Energy System (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany)
ESR 6: Integrated bio-refinery and – CCU Technologies for Aquatic and Terrestrial Biomass (Aalborg University, Denmark)
ESR 7: Offshore Advanced Renewable Energy Technologies – Learning Curves and Roadmaps (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
ESR 8: Energy Efficient Production and Waste Heat Utilisation (University of Stavanger, Norway)
ESR 9: Development of a Real-time Optimization Solution for Dispatchable Energy Supply Units (University of Stavanger, Norway)
ESR 10: Energy Cultures and Agent Behaviour: Mapping the Drivers and Barriers to Acceptance (Aalborg University, Denmark)
ESR 11: Ownership Models, Participation, and Integrated Energy Systems. Between Large scale and Local Integration Fluctuating Renewable Energy Sources (Aalborg University, Denmark)
ESR 12: An Agent Based Approach to Model Investments in the Power Sector (Chalmers University, Sweden)
ESR 14: Policy Framework Interactions for Cross-border Cooperation in Energy System Transitions (University of Stavanger, Norway)
ESR 15: Transition Policies for Oil and Gas Incumbents (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)


More detailed information about ENSYSTRA and the other 14 vacancies in the network can be found here . By submitting an application the candidate confirms agreement to share his/her application with the Selection Committee and the ENSYSTRA coordinator. If interested in more than one position, we encourage candidates to apply for the multiple positions of interest. Multiple applications will not influence the selection chance in any particular project. Please mention on every application all ESR projects to which an application is submitted.


Application Procedure


All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.


Closing date 05 January 2018 at 5pm GMT.


Eligibility to Work


In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).


To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.


For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website


If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, the University has the authority to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa) in accordance with current UK Visas and Immigration rules.


For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website


However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.


If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.


The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ‘tied to a UK sponsor’. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person’s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons).


You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK).


Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)


Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website.


Conditions of Employment


Pension Scheme


This role is grade ARC and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.


For further information please visit our Pensions website.




The post is on the ARC47/48 scale and attracts an annual salary of £27,053 (if opting for superannuation contributions) or £31,331 (if not opting for superannuation contributions) for 35 hours each week.


The role also attracts a mobility allowance paid monthly in addition to the salary. The amount is dependent on the successful applicant’s personal circumstances: £4,867 per annum (for those with no dependants) or £8,923 per annum (for those with dependants).


Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro rata to the Standard Working Week.


The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.


The School of Engineering

The integrated School of Engineering addresses diverse complex challenges across the entire field of engineering, at the micro- and macro/global scales. At the microscopic scale, its research supports the design and deployment of novel nanotechnology and devices for biological monitoring and medical diagnosis; at the macro/global scale, it optimises the security and sustainability of the built environment and develops engineering solutions to climate change issues. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the School’s joint submission with Heriot-Watt University was first in the UK in research power (662) with 94% of our research activity achieving world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) ratings. The School has a strong track record in producing more than 50 technology spin-outs and developing industry links that enable our graduates to build career-long relationships. In the last three years, the School has achieved an average of £18.5M pa in research funding awards.


Engineering has been taught at Edinburgh in one form or another since 1673. In 2002, the present School of Engineering was formed from the previously existing departments of Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Since then, the School has grown from strength to strength, growing rapidly in the last 5 years, now having the largest number of students among the seven Schools in the College of Science and Engineering, offering undergraduate degree programmes across all disciplines and taught Masters courses in niche areas. All of the undergraduate degree programmes are accredited by the relevant professional institutions.



Specifically, the School aims:

• To provide an environment that fosters outstanding learning and scholarship across Engineering;
• To produce graduates equipped for and inspired towards high personal and professional achievement;
• To enhance the scientific, cultural and economic well-being of society through the discipline of Engineering, contributing to wealth creation and the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally;
• To promote and perform research of the highest quality, motivated by both scientific curiosity and societal needs;
• To promote multi- and inter-disciplinary, flexible research, while continuing to reflect the needs of the major Engineering professions;
• To create efficient technology transfer to and from the School's research base.


Dimensions and Structure

The School is one of the largest in the University, comprising 125 academic staff, 1,700 undergraduate, 180 taught postgraduate and 480 postgraduate research students drawn from all over the world. The School is located on the University's King's Buildings site in South Edinburgh. Each member of academic staff teaches in an engineering discipline and is a member of a Research Institute:


Research Institutes

• Bioengineering
• Digital Communications
• Energy Systems
• Infrastructure and Environment
• Integrated Micro and Nano Systems
• Materials and Processes
• Multiscale Thermofluids


Teaching disciplines

• Chemical Engineering
• Civil & Environmental Engineering
• Electrical Engineering & Electronics
• Mechanical Engineering
• Engineering Mathematics (not a graduating discipline)


We aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working and recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students. The School has an active programme offering support and professional development for all staff; providing mentoring, training, and networking opportunities.


The School of Engineering holds a bronze Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education & research.


Further information, including details of undergraduate & postgraduate taught programmes:

College of Science and Engineering (http://www.ed.ac.uk/science-engineering)

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Dave Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University’s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King’s Buildings. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.


Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014


In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.

The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.


As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.


As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.


The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.


University Family Friendly Initiatives

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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