PhD Student

Last application date
Jan 15, 2022 00:00
EB21 - Department of Economics
Limited duration
Master degree in economics, business economics, or a related Master of Science degree
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The energy system is drastically changing in order to limit the temperature increase to well below 2°C, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement. Renewable sources, like solar and wind, are quickly decarbonizing the electricity supply, but they are challenging the system because their output is variable and uncertain. Preserving the security of energy supply at all times requires that electricity demand becomes much more responsive to system conditions and market prices.

This PhD project analyzes how residential energy consumers interact with ‘flexible’ assets, such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, batteries, and other household appliances like hot water reservoirs – all of which have a large technical potential to shift their electricity demand over time. In practice, however, households that own such flexile assets may not utilize their full technical potential. This hinders the overall process of making electricity demand more responsive to prices and system conditions and may thereby impede the decarbonization of the electricity sector. Therefore, this research project focuses on the behavior of consumers and their preferences about different dimensions of energy– like price, comfort, reliability, pollution, location, transparency, privacy, and ease of use.

Your research will draw from energy economics, behavioral economics, applied microeconomics and applied econometrics, using a combination of observational, experimental and survey data. Part of the project is in cooperation with energy cooperatives and involves analyzing the actual behavior of a group of test households, which makes it possible to compare users’ stated preferences with their revealed preferences. This PhD project aims for influential academic publications, while also making a contribution towards making electricity demand more price-responsive in the real world.
This position will be funded by research projects such as FlexSys (A flexible electricity system contributing to Security of Supply, which focuses on Exploiting the flexibility potential of electricity consumers).
The Department of Economics ( consists of around 30 full-time faculty, 10 post docs and 80 PhD students. Our research covers a broad span in micro, macro, econometrics, labour, banking, finance, international and environmental economics as well as a number of interdisciplinary topics. A wide range of methods are employed, both theoretical and empirical. We aim to publish our research in leading economic journals, but also have a strong focus on policy relevance and disseminating our research results to the general public.

Planned start date: March 1st 2022.

Job profile

  • You have a passion for scientific economics research, with a particular focus on energy and behavioral economics.
  • You are a curious team player with good problem-solving skills.
  • You already have some research experience (e.g., Master thesis, research internship) and can demonstrate basic programming and data analyses skills.
  • You have a good mastery of English 
  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in economics, business economics, or a related Master of Science degree

How to apply

If you are interested in this position, please send your application letter, curriculum vitae, and a transcript of grades to:
Marten Ovaere
Department of Economics
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
Ghent University