PhD Position Multi-Actor Behaviour in the Energy Transition at TU Delft, Netherlands 2022



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PhD Position Multi-Actor Behaviour in the Energy Transition at Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, TU Delft (Delft University of Technology), Netherlands 2022



Qualification Details

We are looking for a candidate with an MSc in (environmental) psychology or an adjacent field. The candidate should have proven experience in working in multidisciplinary settings. Some background in (mathematical) modelling is helpful, but more so is the ability and willingness to acquire this knowledge. The PhD candidate needs to be able to work independently and author research papers. As the ET Lab advocates transparency, teamwork, and open science, we expect candidates to support that. Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. There is a minimum English language requirement for PhD candidates of IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL IBT 100. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.  

Responsibilities/Job Description

Are you a behavioural scientist that wants to contribute to speeding up the energy transition? And do you think that this transition requires behavioural and social changes on different levels? Then apply to this unique position at Delft University of Technology Job description The TPM Energy Transition Lab is looking for a PhD candidate in environmental psychology. The candidate will be appointed to research how individual and group behaviour can accelerate the energy transition from a multi-actor perspective. The energy transition requires behavioural and social changes on a multi-actor level. For example, policymakers and engineers must design acceptable policies and technologies, and households and industries must adapt to the required changes at individual and group levels. These actors interact in systems. Behavioural change in such systems is challenging because of the actors' underlying intra- and interpersonal (psychological) processes, such as biases, preferences, roles, expectations, habits, and group dynamics. Psychological theories and methods can provide insight into those processes and aid the design of effective policy and technology interventions. More specifically, psychology can: (1) improve the scientific understanding of the behavioural and social structures of all actors involved and thus (2) increase the effectiveness of (group) decision-making processes and interventions that seek to support behavioural change. Furthermore, (3) it facilitates formalization and (computational) modelling decision-making processes. (4) it contributes to theory development on climate-relevant behaviour. Finally, (5) experimental and survey studies enable testing of underlying assumptions and the effectiveness of interventions. Integrating psychology in energy transition research comes with challenges. The key is to:

  • Find feasible approaches to select, confront, and integrate the most appropriate theories from neighbouring scientific disciplines,
  • Use these integrated theories to understand and explain multi-actor behaviour,
  • Capture this behaviour in logical models, and
  • Translate them into effective (mass) policies and technologies, considering the individual and the group level.
You will work with dr. Gerdien de Vries within the TPM Energy Transition Lab, an experimental lab at the Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management at Delft University of Technology. Established in early 2020, the ET Lab aims to perform innovative and interdisciplinary research on developing new approaches, methods and tools for fostering an effective, fair, and legitimate energy transition. The ET Lab studies behaviour and design in the energy transition from various perspectives and methods. It develops out-of-the-box, high-risk activities that strengthen the position of energy transition research at TU Delft. More information: TPM Energy Transition Lab Teaching: There are opportunities to teach and supervise students in collaboration with your supervisor.  

How to Apply?

Application Method: online_applicationRef. No. TUD02848

Application Procedure

If you are interested, please apply no later than 31 October 2022 via the application button. Please submit the following:

  • Your CV
  • Motivation Letter
  • Official list of all courses followed during your BSc and MSc studies with grades;
  • Abstract of your M.Sc. thesis or a paper that you have written, in which you demonstrate your writing (and scientific) skills.
  • Names and contact details of 2 references who may be contacted at a later stage in the selection procedure
  You can only apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post. A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure. Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

About the Department/Section/Group

Faculty Technology, Policy and Management With its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy, the Faculty of TPM makes an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. We combine insights from the engineering sciences, the social and the humanities. We develop robust models and designs, are internationally oriented and have an extensive network with knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments. Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.  

Note or Other details

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Contact Details

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Gerdien de Vries, Associate Professor / Director TPM Energy Transition Lab, email: [email protected] For information about the selection procedure, please contact Martine van de Vorst, HR Advisor email: [email protected].