Two (plus one) PhD student positions - New networks of power: on the emergence, diffusion and impact of alternative electricity system architectures
Information about the department
The Department of Energy and Environment excels in research and education related to energy, environment and sustainable development ranging from a global perspective to industrial, building and product issues. The focus is on experimental and theoretical research on energy technology as well as on development, use and evaluation of methods and tools for analysis of technical systems. In total around 200 persons are active at the five divisions of the department.
Information about the research
The electricity system is on the verge of radical transition. The transition is driven by climate change concerns and a need for replacing old power plants and transmission capacity. Renewable energy
technologies offer electricity generation with low climate impact to increasingly competitive costs, and thus, investments in renewable energy is increasing rapidly. The European electricity system has until recently been based on large, mainly thermal power plants. Renewable electricity generation technologies, wind and solar power in particular, do not have the same scale advantages as thermal generation but offer advantages related to modularity and consumer empowerment. The transformation of the electricity generation system may thus open for competitive distributed generation. Advancements in information technology and requirements on reinvestments in the transmission grid further motivate investigating alternative electricity system architectures. Thus, analysis of new types of electricity systems, in terms of probability, functionality and impact is a topical field of research. The ultimate aim is to provide results and methodologies for a variety of stakeholders that may affect or be affected by the transition.
This term has been growing in use over the past decade or so and I wanted to spend a minute explaining how I like to use the term.
There are two important aspects. First, it refers to scholarship from several disciplines that is applied to solve problems that cannot be solved by the application of one discipline alone. Second, it refers to the adoption and development of concepts and methodologies developed in one discipline by other disciplines that are engaged in solving a problem. Thus there is a merging or synthesis of knowledge and techniques from many disciplines for the purpose of creatively solving a problem that has perplexed existing institutions. For me and for others, there is an added expectation that solving this problem will benefit the public good, not merely a private interest.
A key to transdisciplinary research – also known as transdisciplinary problem solving – is that the "knowledge experts" interact together as equals. No one discipline is superior; all are valued. Individual knowledge experts work together in an egalitarian, horizontal working team that communicates using dialogic principles grounded in fairness and equity.
Transdisciplinary research and problem solving is difficult and time-consuming. Participants need competence in their domain of expertise, but they also need to be receptive to ideas and techniques that are not part of their disciplinary tool kit. They need to be creative problem-solvers who are oriented toward serving the public good. Communicatively they need to be good listeners and effective speakers.
Transdisciplinary teams coordinate with non-academic partners and recognize that valuable knowledge can come from many different sources. Obstacles to transdisciplinary research among university personnel are: disciplinary arrogance, disciplinary blindness, reward structures that promote disciplinary silos, lack of time to commit to projects of indeterminate durations, and distance from the applied problem setting. Obstacles among applied practitioners are: operational silos, fear of unconventional solutions, hard-wired problem definitions.
Transdisciplinary thinking and projects offer the promise to break apart ossified ways of thinking about problems, and it offers news ways to conceptualize contemporary problems. It recognizes that academic disciplines have value that is largely shaped by conditions of the past and today’s critical problems need novel approaches.
Academic West at Western Washington University will be a hub for learning about the progress Germany has made with renewable energy beginning on April 20, 2015.
“RENEWABLES: Made in Germany” is a 26-poster display detailing the innovative renewable energy practices Germany has used over the past decade. The WWU Institute for Energy Studies will be hosting the display in Academic West beginning on April 20, 2015 until May 7, 2015. An opening reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. April 24.
The full-color posters are on loan from the Consulate General of Germany. Information on solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and renewable energy in buildings and remote areas will be on the displays.
Faculty from the Institute for Energy Studies will be at the opening reception to discuss modern renewable energy technologies, and explain the new courses and degrees in energy that will be coming to Western next fall. The Institute now offers a Bachelors in Arts in Energy Policy and Management, minors in Energy Science and Energy Policy, and an energy concentration in electrical engineering.
You may be interested in a post-doctoral research associate position currently available at the University of Manchester. The post will be based in the geography discipline, as well as the Centre for Urban Energy and Resilience. It involves working on the EVALUATE (Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions in Europe) project, funded by the European Research Council. More detailed information, including further particulars, can be found at: https://www.jobs.manchester.ac.uk/displayjob.aspx?jobid=9643
Stefan Bouzarovski | Professor of Geography | Director of the Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy | University of Manchester
Please forward this announcement of two fully funded PhD positions (full-time employment for four years) at Tema T - Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden, to potentially interested PhD candidates.
The candidates are expected to conduct research on socio-technical change processes in the fields of bioenergy and smart grids and should preferably have a background in sociology, political science, environmental studies, or other social science disciplines – and ideally at least basic knowledge in science and technology studies. Deadline for both applications is April 29.
Socio-technical configurations of regional biogas use, Ref: TEMA-2015-00043
The PhD project will analyse the development of biogas use in selected Swedish regions and within different sectors, such as public and private transport, households, agriculture, or industry. Of particular interest is the emergence of new socio-technical configurations around different forms of biogas use - new networks of actors, institutional structures, alignment of visions and expectations - and the potential impact this has on the transformation of regional energy systems. The project will be part of Linköping University’s "Biogas Research Centre". Interdisciplinary engagement with other research and implementation projects carried out at this centre will be expected from the PhD candidate.
‘Learning from smart grid pilot projects - a socio-technical perspective’, Ref: TEMA-2015-00031
The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the development of ‘smart grids’ and the transformation of the electricity system in Sweden from a social science and innovation studies perspective. Of particular interest is the learning taking place across smart grid pilot projects and the interrelation of these projects with the emergence of new institutional structures, policies and socio-technical configurations in the electricity system. The PhD research will be part of an interdisciplinary cooperation in the project ‘New networks of power: on the emergence, diffusion and impact of alternative electricity system architectures’ involving two further PhD students at Chalmers University. Moreover, the PhD candidate is expected to participate in the new interdisciplinary ‘energy systems PhD school’ involving several Swedish Universities.
‘Tema T – Technology and Social Change’ is a dynamic and internationally leading research environment focusing on the critical analysis of both, technology’s influence on society and different types of understandings constructed around technology in society. Our research deals with how social actors create and exploit technology, and how technical change is woven together with cultural patterns, daily life, politics and the economy. We employ currently more than 50 researchers at the unit including ca. 20 PhD students.
Call for two new PhD studentships at the Centre of Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED). September 2015 entry
We are pleased to announce that the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), based at SPRU, have two new, fully-funded PhD positions available to start in September 2015; Applications are invited for PhD projects that contribute to this diverse research programme.
We have identified three priority topics, namely:
· Delivering near-zero energy non-domestic buildings
· Car sharing - a low energy innovation catering to the needs of urban populations?
· Policy mixes for energy demand and innovation
We also welcome applications on other topics that are relevant to the Centre’s three research themes, namely:
· Emergence: Projects contributing to this theme will study emerging and promising low energy innovations with the aim of better understanding the mechanisms and processes involved and the conditions for success.
· Diffusion: Projects contributing to this theme will investigate the enablers and obstacles to diffusion of low-energy innovations, focusing on those that offer significant potential for demand reduction.
· Impact: Projects contributing to this theme will explore the historical or potential future energy savings from low-energy innovations, and investigate how expectations of impacts are constructed.
The doctoral researchers will work with Steve Sorrell, Florian Kern, Karoline Rogge and/or Noam Bergman at SPRU (Science & Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.
The application deadline is 31st May 2015. Applicants for this 3-year PhD should possess a good first degree (1st or 2:1) in a relevant subject. A Master’s degree is also normally required. The Studentship is available to British and EU citizens. For non-native English Speakers, a minimum score of 7.0 at IELTS is required.
directs research at the Energy Trans Lab