ETH Zurich

Postdoctoral position – Accelerating the roll-out of net zero pathways for the Swiss and European energy system

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Postdoctoral position – Accelerating the roll-out of net zero pathways for the Swiss and European energy system

The Reliability and Risk Engineering group in the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering aims to identify and mitigate systemic risks in interdependent critical infrastructure networks by quantitatively defining reliability, resilience, and risk within these systems. With our modelling, we strive to inform policymakers in the transition to resilient, fair, and sustainable energy and critical infrastructure systems. We focus on engineered complex systems such as energy, communication and transport networks, which provide crucial services to our society.

Project background

There is an urgent need to create sustainable and resilient value chains to support and speed up the energy transition. However, Switzerland and the EU are highly dependent on imported critical devices and raw materials - especially in strategic sectors, such as renewable energy. The project SPEED2ZERO of the joint initiative of the ETH domain aims to develop toolboxes, action plans, and technology to enable a sustainable transformation to a net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) and biodiversity-positive Switzerland. Solutions will target immediate action conducive to halving GHG emissions by 2030, developing the required infrastructure, ensuring a resilient energy system, and securing biodiversity. In the context of this project, the Reliability and Risk Engineering group will research transition pathways for the Swiss and European energy systems that are compatible with climate targets (i.e., net-zero GHG emissions by 2050) and will analyse factors that can hinder the roll-out of net zero pathways. These include global industry production capacity of renewable devices, policy-driven adoption rates, and propose measures that can accelerate the Swiss energy system transition to 2030.

Job description

The goal of the project is to support the speedy roll-out of net zero pathways for the Swiss and European energy systems. To this aim, you will:

  • Identify the factors that hinder the roll-out of net zero pathways, including constraints on global production capacity and installation of renewable energy devices;
  • Model the global supply chain of renewable energy devices;
  • Analyse the compatibility of proposed transition pathways with current and projected global industrial production capacity;
  • Model for the deployment of transition pathway for Switzerland accounting for the effects of different policies, industrial capacity, and the energy exchange with other European countries;
  • Propose measures that can accelerate the Swiss energy system transition to 2030.

To address these points, you will have access to state-of-the-art computational capabilities, and you will be in contact with experts within ETH Zurich and worldwide.

Your profile

  • PhD in engineering or in a quantitative discipline (such as applied physics or mathematics) from an internationally recognized University;
  • Excellent academic track record. Ideally, you have a background in quantitative modelling, optimization, and programming (e.g., Matlab, Python, Julia, GAMS). Knowledge of mixed-integer linear programming solvers (e.g., CPLEX, Gurobi, MOSEK), of modelling environments (e.g., Yalmip, Pyomo, CVX, CVXPY), and of uncertainty quantification are a plus;
  • Highly motivated and self-organized. As a member of the Reliability and Risk Engineering group, you will be expected to help us maintain a positive team dynamic and a welcoming work environment;
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both verbally and written. Knowledge in German is welcome;
  • You should be able to combine strong individual research with teamwork within the project.

We offer

You will work in a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art computational infrastructure. We offer salaries according to Postdoctoral levels at ETH Zurich as well as other attractive working conditions. The position is available immediately by agreement and the project duration is 3 years (annual contracts).

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae including your educational history and a full list of publications;
  • Letter of motivation of max. 2 pages covering your past research experiences and future research interests, goals and how they would relate to and fit in with the project and the Reliability and Risk Engineering group’s research domain and activities;
  • Names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of at least two references, mentioning for each the professional relationship you have with them.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the opening is filled.

Further information about the Reliability and Risk Engineering group can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr Giovanni Sansavini via email sansavig@ethz.ch (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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