KU Leuven

PhD Position on Modeling of Energy Systems: Consumer Demand Flexibility in Electricity Use

2024-08-31 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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At the division of Applied Mechanics and Energy Conversion (TME) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven, and embedded in EnergyVille, a dynamic research group led by prof. Erik Delarue is working on the modeling of energy systems and markets (unit commitment, system planning, equilibrium modeling, renewables integration, energy policy and energy market design). In this Energy Systems Integration and Modeling (ESIM) research group, PhD students and postdocs are working on modeling and on applications towards energy and climate policies.
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This PhD position is part of the project “Consumer Demand Flexibility in Electricity Use” (CoDeF), granted under the call HORIZON-MSCA-2023-DN-01 (MSCA Doctoral Networks 2023)

The project CoDeF pursues the primary objective of training innovative and expert doctoral researchers with a combination of strong research skills and key transferable competencies to face the challenges presented by an emerging aspect of the clean energy transition, consumer energy flexibility. The network integrates the variety of disciplines needed to study consumer energy flexibility and will train participants in research and transferable skills to progress and deliver state of the art research in their fields.

Consumers and citizens will play an important role in the transition to net zero carbon energy through flexible energy use and matching demand to available renewable energy supply, thus reducing the need for fossil fuel generation and consumer energy bills.

The scientific research of the overall CoDeF project focuses on three objectives related to the increased participation of consumers in the provision of demand flexibility:

  • Incentives and behavior: how to incentivize consumer flexibility through behavioral change, demand response interventions, and markets.
  • Enabling frameworks: how to facilitate flexible consumer demand through enablers, such as control algorithms and smart grids, smart devices in the home, and institutional frameworks.
  • Impact assessment: evaluating the impact of consumer energy flexibility on emissions, the energy system and society.

Within this doctoral network, each doctoral candidate will carry out specialized research related to one of the objectives, in cooperation with their supervisors and interlinked with other researchers and associated partners of the consortium. Collectively, the doctoral network delivers multidisciplinary, integrated, innovative research outcomes for energy policy and society and a cohort of expert researchers equipped to realize the clean energy transition.

Specifically for this PhD position (KU Leuven), the objective is to study the impact of the interdependencies in investment decision making of both generation companies and residential consumers on CO2 reduction in the electrical power system. Towards this objective, we aim to develop and deploy an integrated (agent-based) model covering the electric power and the residential sector. This modelling framework will incorporate insights from the behavioral sciences to describe actors’ behavior.

Planned secondments during this PhD include a 6 months stay at UCD (Ireland) to focus on modelling consumers’ attitudes and preferences based on empirical data, and a 3 months stay at EMPA (Switzerland) to assess the impact of flexibility on demand reduction and security of supply.


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 markets, policy and modeling. Experience with Matlab/Python/GAMS/Julia is a plus. Candidates with a background in a.o. economics, operations research are also encouraged to apply. Applicants should also have good English communication skills.

The candidate should not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (e.g. work, studies) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the start of his/her assignment.


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. The PhD candidate can start from existing energy system models and dedicated expertise available in the research group, and will collaborate both with other research group members and other international partners of the CoDeF consortium.

We offer:

  • A full-time PhD scholarship with full social security (net monthly salary of about ~€2,500). The initial appointment is for 12 months, to be extended for subsequent years on the condition of positive evaluation by the doctoral commission
  • A PhD degree in Engineering, if successful
  • A highly specialized doctoral training, making the candidate expert in energy systems modeling
  • The opportunity to participate in research collaborations and exchanges, facilitated by the CoDeF network
  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.)
  • The EU Researcher Allowances will be used to cover both the employee's as the employer's mandatory charges


A targeted start date is to be agreed upon.


Applicants should express their interest by sending an email to prof. Erik Delarue via the dedicated email address jad@kuleuven.be . 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.

Decision: as soon as a suitable candidate applies, so do not wait till the end date (indicated here below) to apply.

For more information please contact prof. Erik Delarue via jad@kuleuven.be .

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.


PhD Position on Modeling of Energy Systems: Consumer Demand Flexibility in Electricity Use
Oude Markt 13 Löwen, Belgien
2024-08-31 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-08-31 23:59 (CET)
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Über den Arbeitgeber

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Besuchen Sie die Arbeitgeberseite

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