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02 Funded Phd Position at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

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Delft University of Technology invites online Application for 02 Fully Funded PhD Position. Eligible candidate may Apply as soon as possible.


Hiring Organization

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.


Title of the Position

PhD Aligning citizens with clean energy investment and renovation decisions- from transaction costs and behavioural perspective


View All Fully Funded PhD Positions Click Here


Description of Phd Position

We are hiring 2 doctoral candidates, who will work on the Human System of a larger NWA-ORC project- ALIGN4energy, together with a broad interdisciplinary consortium of universities, and public and private organizations. The 4-year project ALIGN4Energy, funded by the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO), aims to contribute to deploying clean energy technologies in residential homes rapidly and at scale. The ALIGN4energy consortium provides a total of 11 PhD positions aimed to simultaneously address the citizens, policy, and business perspectives of the residential energy transition. These 2 PhD positions offered by TU Delft will be hosted at the Department of Management in the Built Environment, at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. These two PhDs will be working on workpackage 1 on Human System of the ALIGN4energ project. 
The energy and the climate crisis reinforced the urgency of energy efficiency in residential buildings in Europe. To meet its climate targets, the Netherlands needs to decarbonize the residential sector. This requires that a large number of distributed actors (households, owners associations, social housing associations, and citizen collectives) invest in clean energy technologies rapidly and at scale. Yet citizens individually (homeowners, tenants) and collectively (housing associations, homeowners’ associations, etc) delay investment in energy-related home renovation due to high information, coordination and transaction costs. The complex decision-making process encountered by internal (cognitive biases) and external (transaction costs incurred with other stakeholders) challenges.
PhD 1 will focus on the owner-occupied housing sector and investigates how homeowners’ preferences, barriers, and biases prevent their investments as well as participation in home energy efficiency demand response. The candidate will not only focus on the individual decision making of homeowners but also explore the collective decision-making of homeowners associations (with only owner occupiers or mixed ownership including housing associations) and other stakeholders (i.e., service and clean energy project suppliers) play a role in influencing the individual decisions.


PhD 2 will focus on the social housing and privately rented housing sector and investigates the role of housing associations and institutional/ private landlords in leading the energy efficiency renovation of their existing housing stocks. How to activate the tenants in reaching to 70% agreement on the renovation proposal? How to deal with the split incentives between the landlords and tenants? What are the financial incentives to be tailored -made (considering cognitive biases & behavioural patterns of the target tenants) and hassles (transaction costs) to be removed or facilitated in the renovation decision and processes?
Both PhDs will take into consideration the institutional, market and behavioural barriers in each context, by exploring the hidden transaction costs incurred in the decision-making of key stakeholders for the clean energy investment and renovation process. Once inputs are collected, the 2 PhDs will systematically test interventions (e.g. information, nudges) to engage citizens in the decisions towards gas-free neighbourhoods and to support both individual and collective clean energy investments. The PhD project will align with inputs from other WPs of the ALIGN4energy project, to integrate the human-energy system models and learning algorithms to support clean energy investment decisions.


Qualifications/Requirements for Phd Position

We are looking for 2 PhD candidates who have prior knowledge of energy transition in the built environment and have gained a Master’s degree in energy economics, environmental science, behavioural economics or relevant field with prior knowledge on energy transition and housing challenges in the built environment. In a nutshell, the candidate should have a behavioural science, psychology, or sociology training and preferably understand institutional economics, in particular transaction costs theory, to feel comfortable with the topic. The novel integrated theoretical framework will be based on a transdisciplinary approach informed by the latest insights from behavioural economics, transaction cost theory, social psychology, and policy appraisal but also by the knowledge of the societal partners. Therefore, it is also important that the candidate will have good communication skills, preferably can speak Dutch to conduct the data collections and also join the consortium meetings. More details, as below:
  • a Master’s degree in Energy Economics, Behavioural Economics, Econometrics, Social Psychology, Sociology, Environmental Studies or a related discipline with a strong behavioural science focus.
  • affinity with and interest in behavioural economics/social psychology, behavioural interventions and prior experience with experimental behavioural science research.
  • strong background and/or strong interest in quantitative economics/statistical data analysis, including analysis of survey data and field experimental data (randomized controlled trials / RCTs), experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • prior knowledge of sustainable renovation processes of housing, energy transition in the built environment.
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English proven by a minimum score of 100 in TOEFL or IELTS of 7.0 per sub-skill (writing, reading, listening, speaking). Candidates do not need to present the test results as part of their application. These results will be requested at a later stage during the selection procedure. For more information, see    
  • an understanding and communication in Dutch is a strong advantage!
  • the ability to work in a team, take initiative, be result-oriented, organized, and creative; good people/communication skills
  • You are independent, self-motivated, eager to learn, and willingness to work with partners to link real-world challenges to multidisciplinary research questions.
  • the possibility to start employment on 1 September 2022.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 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.


Deadline for Phd Position

Deadline for application is July 7, 2022 (local Dutch time: UTC+2). 


How to Apply for Phd Position

Application procedure
For information about the application procedure, please contact Queena Kun Qian, e-mail: [email protected] or Henk Visscher, e-mail: [email protected]
For information about the selection procedure, please contact Caro Coemans, HR Advisor,
email: [email protected]
To apply, please send a detailed CV including names and contact details of 2 references, a writing sample of previous work related to the PhD topic, detailed transcripts with all university grades, a motivation letter (max. 4 pages) that should address your vision of the project and how you would fit for the advertised positions, proof of English language skills and executive summary of your MSc thesis, all compiled into a single pdf file (max 20 pages in total) by July 7, 2022.
Apply Online: Click here
In your application, please indicate your preference of working on which one of the two PhD projects and explain your choice. Please refer to vacancy number TUD02338. 


Please note:

  • You can only apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Applications will not be processed if all documents required are not compiled into a single pdf document. 
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.
Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Official Website

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