PhD Position on Energy Systems Modeling – Incentives and Pricing in Energy Positive Districts

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


July 11, 2021


PhD Position on Energy Systems Modeling – Incentives and Pricing in Energy

Positive Districts

(ref. BAP-2021-464)

Last modification : Wednesday, June 9, 2021

At the division of Applied Mechanics and Energy Conversion (TME) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven, and embedded in EnergyVille, a young research group led by prof. Erik Delarue is working on energy systems modeling (unit commitment, system planning, equilibrium modeling, renewables integration, energy policy and energy market design). In our group, PhD students and post-docs are working on modeling and on applications towards energy and climate policies.

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Our energy system is changing heavily. In an effort towards decarbonization, we will need to move away from using unabated fossil fuels in electricity generation, heating/cooling and transport. As such, we will see increased interaction between energy vectors, increased levels of electrification, and increasing shares of renewable energy. Our “old” energy provision system could be seen as a top down, one-directional supply system. Energy vectors (electricity, transport fuels, gas for heating) were supplied on system level and brought to the end-consumer with proper transformation or conversion (low-voltage electricity, low-pressure gas, end-use oil products). In contrast, in our future energy system, local generation will play an increasingly important role, as well as locally deployed flexibility and inter-energy-carrier conversion and storage. Having in place such a system, and being able to operate it in an efficient manner obviously poses technical challenges.

We have a fully funded PhD position available, within the project “Energy Positive Districts - Identifying technically-feasible and effective solutions towards decarbonization under existing boundary conditions” (KU Leuven C2 project). The focus of this PhD within this project is on incentives and pricing, and the regulatory context. This envisaged work encompasses the development of a model framework focusing on incentives for investment behavior and operational decision making. Analysis will focus on the pricing discrepancy of energy carriers, the way of pricing energy vectors (e.g., energy, capacity, fixed) and the identification of alternative pricing schemes/improvements. The EU ETS reform and its implications are also to be considered. The PhD candidate can start from existing energy systems models and dedicated expertise available in the research group, and will collaborate with other research group members.


We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and communicative researchers with a Master of Science degree in Engineering or a related field, from a reputable institute. You should have obtained excellent study results.

Candidates should have a strong interest in energy, and especially in energy system operation and planning, as well as energy policy and modeling. Experience with Matlab/Python/GAMS/Julia is a plus. Candidates with a background in a.o. optimization, computer science, operations research are also encouraged to apply. Applicants should also have good English communication skills.


KU Leuven is among the top European universities. It is a key player in the field of energy research, also through the collaboration within EnergyVille.

We offer:

  • A doctoral scholarships (fully funded) for four years (net monthly salary of about ~ €2,000), and a PhD degree in Engineering if successful
  • A highly specialized doctoral training, making the candidate expert in energy systems modeling
  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.)
  • The opportunity to participate in research collaborations and international conferences
  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.)
  • A targeted start date is to be agreed upon. This research is to be performed within the framework of EnergyVille, a research collaboration on sustainable energy between KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt.


    Applicants should express their interest by sending an email to prof. Erik Delarue via the dedicated email address . The email should strictly contain the following information in the text body, in bullets:

    - Name

    - Master degree (Master specification, University + Country, Year obtained)

    - Master thesis (Title, Year, Supervisor)

    - A one paragraph (up to half an A4 page) statement explaining the motivation for applying for this vacancy at KU Leuven. In this regard we strongly encourage you to visit the research group's website (see link above) and have a look at some of the recent publications.

    Please also attach an academic CV to your email.

    Please do not directly apply in the online system as referred to below. This will be only necessary for selected candidates in a second stage.

    Note that if you do not receive a response to your email within two weeks, this means you have not been selected for the second stage.

    Do no unnecessarily wait with your application. This vacancy will close as soon as a suitable candidate has been found.

    Starting Date: targeted start is October 1, 2021. Later start is possible. For more information please contact prof. Erik Delarue via .

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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