Princeton University Postdoctoral Research Associate positions in Energy Systems and Net-Zero Transitions

The Energy Systems Analysis Group at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment invites applications for postdoctoral or more senior research positions. Individuals with research interests in systems-level analysis of challenges to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for the U.S. economy by 2050 are encouraged to apply. Applicants should have a PhD in energy systems modelling and analysis or in a relevant engineering or natural science field. A Master’s degree in science or engineering, coupled with an MBA and other experience, would be considered.

The individuals will join Rapid Switch, an international multi-disciplinary research collaboration that seeks to identify pathways to accelerate decarbonization of energy systems by assessing barriers, bottlenecks, and unintended consequences that can arise during large-scale rapid energy-system transitions and seeking to define approaches for resolving these sector-by-sector and region-by-region.

The research to be conducted will build on Princeton’s Net-Zero America study (NZA). That study adopted a Rapid Switch framing and developed uniquely-granular sectoral, temporal, and spatial analyses to illustrate what different net-zero transitions by 2050 for the U.S. would look like ‘on the ground’. The study quantitatively elucidated important socio-technical, physical infrastructure, environmental, and capital mobilization challenges that are now helping to inform societal conversations of how best to overcome these.

One or more of the hired individuals will undertake sectoral case-study “deep dives” that model and map at fine resolution strategies for deploying technology and infrastructure at a scale and pace consistent with those identified in the NZA study. Case studies of interest include carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage “hubs”; decarbonizing specific industries, including chemicals, iron and steel, and others; regional hydrogen production and utilization clusters; and biomass-energy integration.

One or more of the individuals will focus on techno-economic analysis and business-case assessments for different low-carbon energy systems. An initial case study will be the design and assessment of different potential technological pathways to fully decarbonizing New Jersey’s public transit system. This study will include assessing risks and uncertainties of the different pathways and comparing their economic valuations. Other low-carbon energy systems will be the focus of subsequent work.

We seek candidates with interest and experience in applied, interdisciplinary research with strong energy-systems modelling and/or analysis skills. Candidates should also have enthusiasm for engaging with other researchers at Princeton carrying out disciplinary and interdisciplinary energy-system decarbonization studies. Candidates must have excellent English written and spoken communication skills.

We are interested in receiving applications from members of groups that historically have been underrepresented in science and engineering.

The appointment will be for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year, based on performance and availability of funding. Successful candidates may start as early as July 1, 2021. Depending on University travel and on-campus restrictions, it may be necessary to start remotely.

Interested applicants should apply online at and submit a CV, cover letter, and contact information for three references.

These positions are subject to the University’s background check policy.

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