At the division of Applied Mechanics and Energy Conversion (TME) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven, and embedded in EnergyVille, a young research group led by prof. Erik Delarue is working on energy systems modeling (unit commitment, system planning, equilibrium modeling, renewables integration, energy policy and energy market design). In our Energy Systems Integration and Modeling (ESIM) research group, PhD students and postdocs are working on modeling and on applications towards energy and climate policies.
Our energy system is undergoing drastic changes in an aim towards decarbonization. We face rapidly increasing shares of intermittent renewable energy sources (RES) like wind and solar photovoltaics. This transition requires fundamental innovations to guarantee security of supply and system stability. The participation of low voltage flexibility can in this regard become an important provider of long-and short term system services.
We have a fully funded PhD position available, within the project “ALEXANDER - Accelerating low voltage flexibility participation in a grid safe manner”, granted by the federal Energy Transition Fund. 

The focus of this PhD within this project is on the identification and modelling of heterogeneous consumer preferences and potential non-rational decision making processes. With these models we aim to capture a.o. subjective, heterogeneous consumer preferences in the context of both individual and collective flexibility concepts or the adoption of distributed energy resources. The models support the development of a framework to assess both investment and flexibility provision of low-voltage flexibility providers. We aim to integrate the individual preference models into game-theoretic models, which are able to capture interactions within a collective flexibility organization (e.g. a community), while relying on innovative tools and principles from cooperative and non-cooperative game theory. Finally, we aim to assess the implications of emerging individual and collective behavior of low-voltage users on system balancing and adequacy.

The PhD candidate can start from existing energy systems models and dedicated expertise available in the research group, and will collaborate with other research group members. The PhD candidate will be supervised by prof. Erik Delarue & Dr. Kenneth Bruninx (ESIM), and by prof. Guido Pepermans (Faculty of Economics and Business)


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

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.

We offer:
  • A doctoral scholarships (fully funded) for four years (net monthly salary of about ~ €2,000), and a PhD degree in Engineering if successful
  • A highly specialized doctoral training, making the candidate expert in energy systems modeling
  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.)
  • The opportunity to participate in research collaborations and international conferences
  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.)

A targeted start date is to be agreed upon. This research is to be performed within the framework of EnergyVille, a research collaboration on sustainable energy between KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt.