PhD on Motivation & Performance of Employees Transitioning into Renewable Energy

Eindhoven University of Technology
May 15, 2024
Offerd Salary:€2,770
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PhD on Motivation & Performance of Employees Transitioning into Renewable




Irène Curie Fellowship



Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences



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Job description

Are you eager to find out how we can motivate and enable employees to perform well in the renewable energy sector? Do you have a keen interest in understanding the psychological dynamics of employees when they transition from working from on-site mechanics to remote technology? Are you (motivated to become) an academic expert on employee attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors in changing work environments? Do you have a background in (social, work, organizational, cognitive) psychology, innovation management, consumer behavior, marketing, organization science, or any closely related social science study? And would you enjoy designing surveys, setting up online experiments, and analyzing the resultant data using statistical analysis techniques? Then we are looking for you to support our research team in the prestigious project HybridLabs: Accelerating Dutch innovations in offshore renewables through data-driven hybrid labs, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Context The urgency to transform the energy system in the Netherlands and in Europe is clear, but the targets set to achieve the energy transition are huge. For example, the worldwide installed capacity of offshore wind energy needs a 30-fold increase compared to the current situation. Achieving such targets – in overseeable timeframes – will only be possible if radical innovations are made in the way we develop and deploy offshore renewables: floating wind energy structures. The HybridLabs project aims to accelerate the deployment of offshore renewable technologies for both electricity and hydrogen production, hence addressing the energy transition needs whilst also strengthening the offshore food and ecological transitions. In a large consortium with partners including other universities (e.g., TU Delft, Wageningen University and Research, University of Twente, University of Groningen), research institutions (e.g., MARIN, Deltares, TNO), SMEs, governmental bodies (e.g., Rijkswaterstaat), and large businesses (e.g., Heerema Engineering Solutions, CrossWind, Boskalis, Bluewater, Huisman), teams of researchers will work on the infrastructure (e.g., testing facilities and simulators), designing and testing innovations (e.g., sensing, control, and design strategies for floating installation techniques), and implementation (e.g., legal, logistic, and employee and societal readiness). The current PhD position will contribute to this latter, implementation, chapter of HybridLabs.

Job Description

A particularly pressing problem in the energy transition from fossil fuels to offshore renewables is the low availability of qualified personnel. Although some of these engineers will be trained in educational institutions, many others need to make the transition from fossil industry to renewables. This is not an easy transition, as new jobs require different skills, are typically located in other geographical areas, may have lower wages than fossil energy jobs, and employees may have a strong personal identification with their current organization or sector.

This PhD position contributes to the implementation chapter of HybridLabs and will focus on the overall mental transition of engineers with the aim to identify strategies that help fossil fuel workers to transition mentally to their new jobs in renewable energy. In addition, the project highlights the changed reality regarding the products on which they operate and examines the effects of differences in job design on employees' work attitudes and behaviors. Finally, the project investigates how smart technology can help employees in their work routines.

We are looking for someone who wants to become a specialist in the technological-behavioral challenges in transitioning employees from the fossil fuel sector to the rapidly expanding renewable energy sector. Think about employee motivation, identification, attitudes in the context of changing jobs, and the importance of job design and reskilling. Also the fact that these employees will operate remotely located structures through state-of-the- art technologies, such as digital twins, will be part of the project. You have to be able to cooperate with many stakeholders (a multitude of companies, study participants, colleagues), and open doors that might remain closed for others. Hence, you are a strong networker who is willing to go out, talk to and interview managers and employees in the energy sector, to get an in-depth understanding of the situation and their considerations for employment decisions and job performance. Although qualitative research methodology is relevant the largest part of this PhD project will be quantitative in nature. So, for example, so you will also be employing and analyzing surveys to investigate attitudes and behaviors of employees in the fossil fuel as well as renewable energy sector to see to what extent they identify with their current organization and what factors would need to change for them to ensure a smooth transition.

Important to know is that we seek someone who can really make the project their own. Someone who considers the current outline of the project a useful starting point, but who is willing to use their creative vision on how to move forward in this domain.


The PhD positions is located in the Innovation Technology & Marketing (ITEM) group (for more info https: // www. groups/innovation-technology-entrepreneurship-marketing ) in the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology . You will work closely with Dr. Jeroen Schepers and Dr. ir. Ad Kleingeld (of the Human Performance Management group; HPM: https: // www. engineering/human-performance-management)

You will benefit from the strong relationships with renewable energy companies and related stakeholders and research institutions of the consortium. The consortium collaborations will help ensure the practical relevance of the research, and will help you in data collection.

Job requirements
  • You have a Master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in (social, work, organizational, cognitive) psychology, innovation management, consumer behavior, marketing, organization science, or any closely related social science field.
  • You have a strong affinity with interdisciplinary research, as well as collaboration with industry.
  • You have strong analytical skills, and are proficient in multivariate statistics and quantitative modelling.
  • You are a strong conceptual thinker, able to model complex business situations in a theory-driven model or framework.
  • You are socially skilled, such that you easily connect with others.
  • You can work autonomously as well as in a team.
  • You do not easily give up when you face setbacks.
  • You like to take initiative and can work on a challenging topic that has both fundamental and applied research aspects.
  • Your verbal and written communication skills are very good as is your proficiency in English and your ability to collaborate in an international setting.
  • Anticipated starting date: 1 September 2024

    Conditions of employment
  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching and/or student supervision tasks.
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • You will receive a personal budget which can be used for research and teaching purposes (e.g., data collection, international conference travels, book purchases, etc).
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.
  • Information and application

    More information

    Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Jeroen Schepers, Associate Professor of Frontline Service and Innovation, [email protected] or +31 40 247 2170.

    Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact [email protected].

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    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications (when available) and the contact information of three references.
  • A digital copy of your MSc thesis or any other recent document that demonstrates your proficiency in English-language academic research.
  • We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.

    We do not accept applications sent by e-mail. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

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