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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in in Renewable Energy Systems Modeling

Deadline: 15.12.2020

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.


The Department of Technology Systems (ITS) is a newly established department at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo. ITS has taken over the activities at UNIK from January 2017. The Institute is located in the Kjeller Research Park, which is one of the largest research and development centers in Norway. ITS collaborates with the research institutes at Kjeller, and with industry, while it is also tightly integrated with complementary activities at UiO in Oslo. The department has two sections: section for energy systems and section for autonomous systems and sensor technologies. An important goal of ITS is to provide wider opportunities at UiO within applied technologies.

About the position

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in in Renewable Energy Systems Modeling for a sustainable telescope in Chile.

Position as Postdoctoral Research Fellow available at the Department of Technology Systems (ITS).

The appointment is a fulltime position and is made for a period of (3) three years. Preferred starting date 01.03.2021.

Job description

Applications are invited for a 3-year Postdoctoral position in in Renewable Energy Systems Modeling for a sustainable telescope in Chile. The successful candidate will be based at the Department of Technology Systems (ITS), University of Oslo and be part of the Energy Systems Section. The work will be done in collaboration with scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Germany and Chile.

The main purpose of a postdoctoral fellowship is to provide the candidates with enhanced skills to pursue a scientific top position within or beyond academia. To promote a strategic career path, all postdoctoral research fellows are required to submit a professional development plan no later than one month after commencement of the postdoctoral period.

The PostDoc will study how to supply the entire energy needs of a new generation telescope to be built on the 5000m high Chajnator plateau (Chile) and the adjacent community of San Pedro in Chile with renewable energy. Due to its remote location, San Pedro is not connected to the Chilean national power grid. The project is supported by the EU-funded project called “Towards an Atacama Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (AtLAST)” (Horizon 2020, GA number 951815). This will be the first astronomical facility of this scale for which a full environmental sustainability study is implemented at the Design Study stage.

One of the most labour-intensive and thus expensive part of running an observatory is to maintain a reliable power supply, which has traditionally been done with diesel generators or gas turbines. Thus, implementing a renewable based energy system could not only be environmentally and climate friendly but also cost-efficient and more reliable.

Our aims under the project are:

a) To develop an energy system design which allows AtLAST to be fully powered and sustained by a renewable energy source, which requires several years of weather data. The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is the driest desert on Earth. In this region, climate models are subject to large biases, and precipitation is especially significantly overestimated. Therefore, we will combine past weather data (ERA5 global reanalysis data) and high spatial resolution satellite data (MODIS) to model the interannual variability of wind and solar energy generation with on-site measurements and possibly output from state-of-the-art high-resolution climate models.

b) To model the electricity demand load profile for the telescope and the town of San Pedro de Atacama.

c) To develop an energy systems using a) and b) as input data to determine the optimal system design, including location, sizing and choice of renewable technologies and integration options (e.g. storage systems and demand side measures). This will guarantee a consistent electricity supply for the telescope as well as possibly part of the local population who are off-grid and currently mainly relying on diesel power plants and generators. We will engage with local stakeholders to include their needs and expectations into the energy system design.

Specific tasks of the Postdoc will include:

  • Use of weather/climate data (e.g ERA5 and MODIS) to generate time series of renewable energy capacity factors
  • Interact with the site selection team at ESO to analyze the newly obtained weather (mostly vertical wind profile) data needed for the telescope construction, and suggest possible complementary meteorological measurements needed for renewable energy production
  • Modelling the electricity demand load profile for the telescope and the town of San Pedro de Atacama
  • Develop an energy system model for the telescope and adjacent communities (and possible the rest of Chile) to design highly renewable and weather/climate resilient future energy systems
  • With local stakeholders define scenarios of social acceptance and varying political support and use them in the model
  • Contribute to providing solutions to reaching Chile’s renewable energy target
  • Develop best practice guidelines for environmentally and climate positive telescope operation with a positive and inclusive impact on the nearby community and thereby contribute to reaching wider goals such as the Millennium Development Goals
  • Present findings at academic conferences and publish in scientific journals
  • Travelling to Chile and the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany will be necessary

The Postdoc will be working with associate professors Marianne Zeyringer and Sabrina Sartori at ITS as well as Carlos De Breuck (European Southern Observatory) and a PhD student employed in the project at ITS. The candidate will also collaborate with the international partners of the EU project.

For more information regarding the Energy Systems section, Department of Technology Systems, the European Southern Observatory and the AtLAST project, please see:

https://www.mn.uio.no/its/english/about/organisation/section-for-energy-systems/

https://titan.uio.no/universet/2020/astronomy-sets-new-records-with-this-revolutionary-telescope

http://www.eso.org

http://atlast-telescope.org

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition is to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree in Energy or Power Systems Modelling, Meteorology/Climate Sciences, Physics, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Engineering, or equivalent. The doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Only applicants with an approved doctoral thesis and public defense are eligible for appointment.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Programming skills (e.g. R, Python)
  • Experience processing and analysing data
  • Interest in sustainable energy and interdisciplinary research
  • Ability to write in a structured, clear and concise manner

When assessing applications, emphasis will be placed on (We don’t expect applicants to fulfill all points):

  • Experience with Energy/power system modelling
  • Experience working with weather and climate data (e.g. re-analysis)
  • Experience with GAMS or similar mathematical programming tools for quantitative modeling and programming skills in R and/or Python
  • Experience and interest in interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Creativity and pro-activeness
  • Spanish language skills
  • Experience in the local context (Chile, South-America)
  • Experience/Interest in working with local communities

We offer

  • Salary NOK 526 000 – 608 200 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (position code 1352)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Professionally stimulating working environment
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Postdoctoral development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Cover letter (statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • A complete list of publications and up to 5 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, the project description (whenever this is required in the call for applicants), and the quality of the project as well as the candidate’s motivation and personal suitability. Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

It is expected that the successful candidate will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of employment.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one Postdoctoral Fellow period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact information

For further information concerning the project please contact:

For technical questions regarding the recruitment system, please contact HR Adviser Therese Ringvold, e-mail: [email protected]

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