PhD Position in Operations Research – Optimization of Renewable Energy Procurement Strategies

University of Twente (UT)

14 Oct 2023
Job Information

University of Twente (UT)
Research Field
Cultural studies
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
10 Nov 2023 – 22:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Not Applicable
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Many firms have committed to procure a percentage of their annual electricity demand from renewable energy sources by a future date. Some have set more ambitious targets to meet every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption with carbon-free electricity at every hour of every day, which is necessary to achieve a fully decarbonized electricity grid. To meet such targets, firms can sign long-term agreements with renewable producers, buy renewable energy certificates from markets, employ demand response programs, or invest in and operate energy storage systems. The goal of this PhD project is to navigate the different energy procurement and management options available, and develop decision support tools to define and dynamically optimize energy procurement strategies to meet a renewable target while minimizing costs.

The successful applicant will join the Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems (IEBIS) section of the High-tech Business & Entrepreneurship Department (HBE) at the Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences (BMS).

Key takeaways

During the project, the PhD candidate will perform research on some of the following tasks:

  • Model the sources of uncertainties affecting the corporate renewable energy procurement, such as market prices, electricity supply and demand, and trends of renewable energy technologies. Understand to what extent these uncertainties prevent firms from committing to a target.
  • Study the various options available to companies to meet renewable energy procurement targets, including power purchase agreements, renewable energy certificates, energy storage systems, and demand response programs.
  • Define cost-effective strategies based on mathematical optimization models and algorithms to meet a target, and in particular, to match demand with renewable energy supply over time at the lowest energy cost.
  • Incorporate uncertainty into the decision-making models by developing stochastic optimization approaches based on stochastic programming and reinforcement learning.
  • Extend the approaches to account for and mitigate risks that can affect the fulfilment of a target, such as the production intermittency from renewable generators or peaks in consumption. Evaluate cost savings from fulfilling a target with a given probability rather than with certainty.

As a doctoral student, your key responsibilities will be to manage and carry out research projects within 48 months and write a PhD thesis. You will participate in research and training activities and disseminate research in the scientific community (international conferences) and non-scientific community by outreach and public engagement.

Furthermore, you will write articles for scientific peer-reviewed journals and progress reports and prepare results for publication and dissemination via public lectures, presentations, and the web.

You will also be responsible for taking courses per the research education and liaising with the other research staff, students, and partner institutions working in broad areas relevant to the research project.

Participation in other department duties, such as meetings, teaching, etc., is expected to cover a maximum scope of 20%.

Specific Requirements

We look for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:

  • A master’s degree in Operations Research, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Business Analytics, or a related discipline;
  • A strong quantitative background and experience with quantitative analytics techniques, in particular prescriptive analytics (operations research);
  • Knowledge of stochastic optimization methods (e.g., stochastic programming, robust optimization, or reinforcement learning) is an advantage;
  • Proficiency in coding with a language like Python, MATLAB, C++, Java, or similar – Prior experience with an optimization solver like Gurobi or CPLEX is a plus;
  • Motivation to work on sustainability challenges and renewable energy systems – Prior experience on these subjects is a plus;
  • A good team spirit and enjoys working in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment;
  • Able to carry out independent research and willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • Ability to collaborate with stakeholders from academia and industry;

Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English.

Additional Information

We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.

Additional comments

Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before November 10th, 2023, and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references;
  • An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).

Additional information on the position can be acquired via email from Dr. Alessio Trivella (a.tri[email protected] ) or Prof. Martijn Mes ([email protected] ).

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Universiteit Twente
Postal Code
Drienerlolaan 5

Where to apply



Drienerlolaan 5
Postal Code
7522 NB


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