Research project description
Do you want to join our research efforts on developing 'a socio-technical approach for designing and implementing the heat transition in the built environment' (ARRIVE)?
The built environment is a key sector in need of transformation to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption.
An increasingly accepted notion to decarbonize energy sectors is the so-called 'system of systems' (SoS) approach, in which all energy carriers (e.g. heating, cooling, H2, water etc.) are integrated into one system and in which the electricity carrier serves as the backbone. A 'SoS' approach is especially relevant for buildings and their energy systems' transformation. Yet, transforming our energy systems in the built environment (and beyond) requires much more than technological changes. Technological innovations are intimately interwoven with social questions, for example relating to acceptance and ownership but also to access and justice.
As post doc on the ARRIVE project you will be contributing to knowledge and practice for making the much-needed energy transition in our homes and buildings more responsible, just and inclusive.Job description
Despite stressing the importance of the social embeddedness of technological innovations, a techno-economic focus seems to prevail when designing and implementing energy interventions. As a consequence, technological design, performance and impact are predominantly understood and evaluated under an economic lens, pushing social aspects into the background. Therefore, technical solutions -though cost efficient - often do not reach the majority of the users as they do not take the social and contextual aspects shaping users' energy needs and practices into consideration.
With your work you will contribute to addressing this tension, considering issues such as gender and inclusiveness, vulnerable households, energy literacy and control vs automation. Based on a selection of case studies (starting with the Netherlands) you will study and apply insights in ongoing energy interventions in buildings.
A second, related focus concerns questions of assessment and impact: you will develop indicators and a methodology aiming to measure the impact of a socio-technical approach to interventions in the built environment.
You will get the opportunity to also share your knowledge and increase your skills through being engaged in (a small number of) educational activities.
The Postdoc position is embedded in the Technology, Innovation & Society (TIS) group. The TIS group is part of the School of Innovation Sciences, one of the two schools of the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS). Research at TIS concerns how humans and societies bring about technological change, and how technological innovations change society. Researchers in the TIS group study these processes in a systemic, transdisciplinary, and transnational perspective. Many of the TIS research projects are strongly embedded in practical environments and involve co-creation and an action research approach.
This position and research project are made possible by the BEHeaT program initiated by the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES
). EIRES facilitates the collaborative development and swift deployment of new technologies and devices by bringing together TU/e researchers working on materials, systems, and processes for energy storage and conversion.
EIRES consists of collaborating research groups within TUe. These include over 140 researchers and more than 450 PhDs. EIRES brings these researchers together and creates new network connections between researchers and industry.
Within the focus area of energy transition in the built environment, a large-scale research program was recently launched. This program, BEHeaT, stands for B
ransition. The program is funded with TUe's own resources as well as contributions from industry. The research program has a pragmatic approach.
Within the BEHeaT program, research is conducted into the (further) development of various (new) materials, components and/or systems in relation to intelligent buildings, heat storage, heat networks and/or electricity grids. The focus is not only on physical materials, components and systems, but also on dynamic (predictive) models. We believe that in order to have impact, any research must take systems integration as its starting point. In addition, we believe that technology does not stand alone and should always be seen in relation to the (end) user. In this way, the impact of research results is increased.