TU Delft

PhD Position Positive Tipping Points in Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions

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Faculty Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) makes an important contribution to solving the complex technical and social challenges that we face as a society. Challenges such as energy, climate, mobility, IT, water and cyber security. This requires a multidisciplinary approach that goes beyond technology. Our education and research are therefore at the intersection of technology, society and management. We combine insights from the engineering sciences with those from the humanities and social sciences. We develop robust models and designs, are internationally oriented, and have extensive networks in science and practice.

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Functie omschrijving

TIPPING+ is a Horizon 2020 funded project and TU Delft is part of a wider international consortium of 15 partners. The PhD student will benefit from the project's network and will also collaborate closely with researchers within the consortium.

Background of "TIPPING+"
TIPPING+ will explore the overarching question: why at one or several points in time do Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions (CCIR) flip into fundamentally different development trajectories and embrace clean-energy transformations? TIPPING+ will focus on the critical concept of Social-Ecological Tipping Points (SETPs) to inquire how a robust scientific understanding of the socioeconomic, psychological, cultural, gender and political processes leading to SETPs can be used to support clean-energy transitions in CCIR or prevent catastrophic or undesirable outcomes (e.g. populism and anti-democratic attitudes). TIPPING+ will carry out empirical analyses on both negative and positive tipping points. A main focus will also be on the participatory co-production of knowledge on the driving forces and deliberate tipping interventions for positive tipping points toward energy transitions.

A typology will be created based on at least 20 regional case studies in Europe, and other regions of the world with an early engagement of key practitioners examining: 1) New trends, changes and impacts of energy transitions on demographic structures and geographical distribution patterns in gender, migration and youth 2) Community, gender and psychological factors related to energy transitions 3) Policy interventions and governance factors 4) Economic transformations on employment, distributional welfare and energy and natural resources.

You will work on TIPPING+ for 3 years and support TUDelft’s role in the project as a work package lead on case studies and contribute to deliverables. Your activities in the 4th year will be more flexible and will be planned together at the beginning of the 3rd year of the PhD programme.

In addition, you will participate proactively in the TPM Energy Transition Lab. This lab has been recently establised within the faculty to connect social science energy researchers and to provide a safe environment for innovative research. Your role in this Lab will be decided upon in consultation with you, based on your talents and ambitions.

The MAS department consists of three sections: Organisation & Governance (OG), Policy Analysis (PA), and Systems Engineering (SE). The sections represent different cores of expertise organized as distinct groups within the department. You will be joining the Organisation and Governance section.
The Organiation & Governance section analyses decision-making between real-world stakeholders in environments with high complexity surrounding a technological systems. Based on that analysis, we develop governance approaches to deal with those complexities between stakeholders. We look at societal challenges surrounding energy, mobility, water, cyber and other systems through the lens of the interactions between stakeholders and provide ways forward for the technological contingencies of these environments.

Functie eisen

  • A master’s degree in social sciences or equivalent in the area of sustainability, innovation, energy, climate change, and/or policy analysis.

  • An interest in understanding energy systems and the impact of transitions on society

  • Experience in interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary research

  • Very good analytical and methodological skills;

  • Fluent in written and spoken English

  • Very good communication skills and interest in collaborating with stakeholders as well as conveying research outcomes to non-academic stakeholders

  • The ability to work independently and as a team player (i.e. willingness to interact well with your colleagues and partners within the consortium).

  • Experience and/or interest to work with an international group

  • The PhD candidates are expected to attend relevant courses and activities for further personal development. A plan for this will be developed at the start of the project.

  • You are expected to present your research at international conferences and publish your results in scientific journals and to finish your research with a PhD Thesis.


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Informeren en solliciteren

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Jenny Lieu, Assistant Professor, email: J.lieu-1@tudelft.nl.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Olivie Beek, HR Advisor, email: vacature-tbm@tudelft.nl.

Submit a CV, cover letter, 3 references and a writing sample from a paper or other kind of publication. Send your application by 15 August to vacature-tbm@tudelft.nl mentioning vacancy number TUD00313.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the application procedure.

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

Uren per week: 36-40 uur per week

Salaris: € 2.395,- tot € 3.061,- per maand


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