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PhD in Governance of Artificial Intelligence in the Energy Transition

OrganizationYour PhD project is embedded in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology …

6 maanden geleden


de Rondom, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur



Your PhD project is embedded in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). TU/e is one of the world's leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement). It is in particular well‐known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies).

Within TU/e's Department IE&IS you will be affiliated with the research group Technology, Innovation & Society (TIS). The TIS group of the School of Innovation Sciences is an ambitious, international group. Our research focuses on understanding the development and use of technology in a societal context. Our staff teaches in the BSc program 'Sustainable Innovation', and the MSc program 'Innovation Sciences', as well as in university-wide programs for engineering students.

The department of IE&IS has a strong national and international reputation for both basic research in the academic community and applied research with industry. You will have the opportunity to profit from the benefits that such an environment has to offer and to contribute to the ongoing research.

PhD research project

The Dutch government wants a sustainable energy transition. Such a transition requires energy savings, a much greater use of renewable energy, and a further electrification of society. Due to the increasing integration of renewable energy into the energy supply, flexibility and efficiency are becoming increasingly important. Further digitization of the energy system can contribute to this. This brings two major developments together: the sustainable energy transition and the digital transition.

It is expected that through digitization the energy system can be made more responsive. We speak of smart energy networks (smart grids) and the emergence of the Internet of Energy (IoE). Artificial intelligence (AI) will play an important role in the IoE. The role of AI can be described as the brain behind the future IoE, the control center behind millions of sensors and the ability to analyze and use huge data flows. At present, the potential of AI is being investigated and tested in many areas, but not yet fully exploited. AI can for example be used to better predict production or energy demand.

The convergence of the digital transition and the desired energy transition raises all kinds of social and governance questions. The current governance system is not yet equipped for the developments mentioned. The challenge is to adjust the governance system in such a way that the well-known public goals from the energy domain - affordability, reliability, sustainability and safety - are achieved and, secondly, various public values that can come under pressure from digitization, like privacy, safety, autonomy and fair economic competition, will be safeguarded.

Within the research project, your focus will be on four interconnected topics:
  • How is the role of AI developing in the Dutch electricity supply? What is the state of affairs? What are expectations for the next 5 to 10 years?
  • Which actors and interests play a role in this?
  • Which social, ethical and legal questions are related to the use of AI in the electricity sector? And which governance questions arise because of this?
  • How does the democratic governance of the digitization of the electricity supply take shape?

Job description

You, as a successful applicant, will engage with the research project mainly by following a qualitative research approach.

In doing so you will:
  • mobilize theoretical insights and employ qualitative research methods for data gathering (including interviewing, observations and field visits) and analysis;
  • report your research findings at (international) conferences and workshops and in scientific journals;
  • present the results of the research in a PhD-dissertation, to be completed within four years;
  • be engaged in contributing to and supporting teaching activities at Bachelor and Master level (no more than 15% of your time).


Centrally, you want to put your brains and heart to work for understanding and contributing to impactful, responsible and democratic innovations for our world. You love to learn, analyze, write and make a difference. The ideal advanced student for this program will have a strong, demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced study in technology- and policy-related fields, with a high level of accomplishment in their Master's level study.

In addition, you

  • hold a Master's degree in public policy, innovation studies, political sciences, science and technology studies, or any other field related to science and technology policy and governance;
  • have advanced methodological skills and proven experience with qualitative and/or mixed methods designs;
  • have excellent communication skills and an excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English;
  • are reliable and you can work and deliver timely both independently and in a team;
  • are willing to conduct empirical field research and are able to engage with members of the energy community.


  • A full-time appointment for a period of 4 years at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). With an intermediate evaluation after nine months
  • Gross monthly salary from € 2.325 (gross in the first year) to € 2.972 per month (last year).
  • TU/e offers an additional 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • An attractive package of fringe benefits, including a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program), and excellent sport facilities.

Additional information

Application procedure

Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):
  • Cover letter (max. 2 pages), in which you motivate your interest in this vacancy and explicitly describe your fit with this research project.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae
  • A sample research document written by the candidate: a relevant (working) paper, or a master thesis
  • Name and contact information of two references
  • If your degree is not from an English-spoken program, a proof of proficiency in English needs to be included in your package (such as IELTS or TOEFL).

Note that incomplete applications will not be considered.

We ask candidates to apply before the deadline of September 16, 2019. Planned starting date is between the 1st of November 2019 and the 1st of February 2020.

To apply please use the 'apply for this job' button for this job. Please note that a maximum of 5 documents can be uploaded, so if you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them. Please do not send us applications by e-mail.

Further information

For further information about the research project, please contact dr.ir. Rinie van Est (q.c.v.est[at]tue.nl) or prof. dr. ir. Geert Verbong (g.p.j.verbong[at]tue.nl).

Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Ms. Kim van Puijenbroek, the HR advisor (pz.ieis[at]tue.nl).

Further information about the Eindhoven University of Technology can be found at www.tue.nl.