Princeton ZERO Lab: multiple postdoc or associate research scholar positions in macro-energy systems

One or more current openings are available for postdoctoral research scholar or associate research scholar positions in the Princeton ZERO Lab.

Ideal applicants will have experience in optimization methods and applied energy system modeling, particularly macro-scale energy systems; techno-economic analysis; familiarity with algebraic modeling languages used for linear and mixed integer programming (e.g. Julia/JuMP, Python/Pyomo, AMPL, GAMS); and comfort working in a multidisciplinary and collaborative research environment. Exceptional candidates without prior maro-scale energy systems modeling or optimization experience may be considered if they have strong energy technology / engineering backgrounds, a proven ability to learn new skills, and a passion for the topic.

Individuals with expertise in energy systems and a PhD in relevant fields (including operations research, energy resources, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, systems engineering, computer science, and public policy) are encouraged to apply. All candidates must have strong, demonstrated research ability, excellent English written and spoken communication skills.

Appointments will be for one year, with annual renewal contingent on performance and funding (expected total term: 2-3 years for postdoctoral positions, longer for associate research scholars).

Associate research scholar appointments are available for researchers with 2-3 years of relevant prior postdoctoral experience, and postdocs in ZERO Lab have the opportunity to be promoted to this rank (with commensurate salary increases) after two years of experience in the group.

For the right qualified candidate, ZERO Lab is also looking to hire a more senior research director who will serve as a co-PI at ZERO Lab and help lead research activities in one or more of our program areas (see below). The ideal applicant for this role will have 4+ years of energy-systems analysis experience, including a demonstrated track record of effective project and team management.

The Zero-carbon Energy Systems Research and Optimization Laboratory ( ZERO Lab ) focuses on improving and applying optimization-based energy systems models to evaluate low-carbon energy technologies and generate insights to guide policy and planning decisions.

ZERO Lab’s work is organized in three main program areas:

1. Models and Methods: We work to improve optimization-based modeling tools and methods to understand complex macro-scale energy systems, including the open source GenX electricity system optimization model, the open source PowerGenome electricity data platform for parameterizing electricity system models in the United States context. We are also developing next-generation energy system models which aim to deliver unprecedented computational performance and novel tools for interactive decision support that illuminate complex trade-offs across important stakeholder priorities.

2. Technology Evaluation: The group applies macro-scale energy systems to evaluate novel low-carbon energy technologies, optimize their design, and identify key cost and performance improvements necessary for these technologies to scale for meaningful impact in future energy systems. Researchers in this program will engage closely with Department of Energy program leaders, private sector investors, major corporations, and technology developers from across the energy innovation ecosystem to provide practical insights to guide strategic planning, R&D priorities, market valuation, investment decisions, and policy engagement. This work is supported by grants from the Department of Energy and the newly formed Princeton Zero-Carbon Technology Consortium (founding members: GE, Google, ClearPath Foundation), which provides unrestricted funding to support ZERO Lab’s ongoing research to rigorously evaluate novel low-carbon energy technologies as well as the development and improvement of related models and methods to support this inquiry.

3. Energy Transitions: The group also uses energy systems models to generate decision-relevant insights to guide national and sub-national jurisdictions in transitioning to net-zero emissions energy systems. Examples include the landmark Princeton Net-Zero America study exploring U.S. economy-wide decarbonization; the REPEAT Project, which offers regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they’re proposed and enacted; studies on electricity decarbonization pathways in New Jersey and the PJM region; and several studies focused on deep decarbonization of the electricity system in California and the western United States.

Interested persons can apply at this posting:

https://puwebp.princeton.edu/AcadHire/apply/application.xhtml?listingId=23661

Note that while the above posting is specific to ZERO Lab’s growing zero-carbon technology evaluation efforts, applicants interested in one or more of the other program areas described above should also apply. Applicants can note their primary interests in their cover letter.

Interested parties can contact Prof. Jesse Jenkins at jessejenkins@princeton.edu with questions and should send an email to notify Prof. Jenkins after submitting application materials.

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