Assistant Professor: Self-Organizing Power Grids

Assistant Professor: Self-Organizing Power Grids

Published Deadline Location
16 Feb 26 Apr Delft

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Job description

Decarbonizing our society leads to massive changes in the energy sector. The future electricity system must be flexible, inclusive, digital, distributed, agile, and renewable, while the levels of reliability, safety, and affordability must be maintained if not improved, since also transport, heating, and industry will soon depend on this societal backbone. The power system and its scientific foundation are at a turning point: decarbonization and independence of foreign fossil fuel are new requirements that drive the development towards a more distributed architecture, stochastic renewable generation units, smart loads, inclusive markets and technology, complex ownership, and power assets connected via power electronics. New and unsolved phenomena such as swarm behaviour of smart power prosumers (consumers and producers) render existing, centralized, white-box methods for planning and operations inefficient: A scientific leap towards power grid self-organization is needed.

This Assistant Professor position is focused on self-organization and adaptability in energy systems. This involves research to develop the analytical and numerical foundations for autonomous power grid operation, prove the convergence and stability of swarm behaviour, and validate novel control strategies that quickly adapt to rapid changes in supply/demand. New effective market, contracting, and algorithmic mechanisms are needed to be derived for local/global supply/demand matching, balancing, and congestion management, also taking hierarchies of local/global markets into account, or societal issues like fairness.

Emergent behaviour of large fleets of autonomous power assets is complex. Independent members must work with and maybe share pareto fronts, probability distributions, risks, and other functions that describe the complex dependencies and uncertainties of such a system. This position aims at designing an intrinsically stable and freely scalable, potentially distributed power system based on 100% power electronic connected generation. The required internal principles of such a system, e.g., self-organizing controller interaction, are still unknown. You will investigate when does self-organization emerge, what levels and types of complexity are intrinsically safe, and how a particular architecture scales in a stable way.

The self-organizing power grids research involves the following aspects:

1. Design and analysis of self-organizing energy systems, investigating transactional vs. cooperative approaches:

  • Analytical design of mechanisms, frameworks, and rules
  • System design and behaviour: mechanism design (includes market mechanisms, game rules) with provable behaviour
  • Behaviour analysis: evolutionary / cooperative / non-cooperative game theory considering equilibria, strategies, stability, convergence, and dynamics.
  • Empirical/experimental design and emergent behaviour: (multiple) market places, collectives and networks
  • Simulations: computer experiments, digital twins, hardware in the loop experiments, computational economics/social sciences, network flows, agent-based approaches, integrated systems, holistic design

2. Combination of decentralized (self-organizing) and centralized (governed) organization: what can be self-organising? What should be centralized and/or controlled? How do these interact and co-exist?

  • Publicly governed subsystems vs. private subsystems and actors
  • Autonomous actors (and actions) vs. (sub)system responsible parties (operations, control, accounting, market operators).

This position is position is established within the Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG) group of the Electrical Sustainable Energy department.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You thrive on conducting ground breaking research geared to resolving challenges faced by society and industry. Using your communication and networking skills, you build relevant networks with industrial partners and collegues of various TU Delft faculties, and convince stakeholders of the value of your research proposals. You also enjoy mentoring and interacting with students.

We encourage applications from highly motivated scientists working in power systems, applied mathematics or distributed systems.

You also have:

  • A PhD degree and postdoctoral experience in electrical power grids, applied mathematics, distributed systems or a comparable field.
  • Strong mathematical modelling skills, experience in software development and the willingness to perform experimental work.
  • A team player personality, organizational and managerial skills to interact and cooperate effectively with staff and other research institutes and organizations, including industry.
  • A good command of spoken and written English, as you’ll be working in an internationally diverse community, and a good command of the Dutch language or the willingness to learn this.
  • Good teaching and presentation skills (didactic qualities), and to develop and pursue an ambitious research programme.

TU Delft creates equal opportunities and encourages women to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 12 - 18 months.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

  • Fulltime, salary scale 11-12: €4,332.00 - €6,737.00 per month gross (assistant professor position)

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. We expect you to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) within three years if you have less than five years of teaching experience. This is provided by the TU Delft UTQ programme.

TU Delft sets high standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. If you do not speak Dutch, we offer courses to learn the Dutch language.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service addresses the needs of new international employees and those of their partners and families. The Coming to Delft Service offers personalised assistance during the preparation of the relocation, finding housing and schools for children (if applicable). In addition, a Dual Career Programme for partners is offered. The Coming to Delft Service will do their best to help you settle in the Netherlands.


Delft University of Technology

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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three scientific disciplines. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we all use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make completely sustainable and future-proof. At the same time, we are developing the chips and sensors of the future, whilst also setting the foundations for the software technologies to run on this new generation of equipment – which of course includes AI. Meanwhile we are pushing the limits of applied mathematics, for example mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. In other words: there is plenty of room at the faculty for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1000 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • TUD05028


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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