Postdoctoral Researcher – Modeling the Circularity and Sustainability of Energy Systems
Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Location: Golden, CO
Type: PhD and Postdoc Positions
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is seeking a self-motivated systems thinker to begin a post-doc position by May 1, 2020. The post-doc will join a team of researchers in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC; www.nrel.gov/analysis) who perform environmental sustainability assessments of energy technologies. With objective, technology-neutral analysis, SEAC aims to increase understanding of energy policies, markets, resources, technologies, and infrastructure to address U.S. economic, security, and environmental priorities.
The focus of this position will be to support the development of a new Python framework that characterizes the economic and environmental impacts of transitioning to a circular energy economy. The work will include expanding current impact assessment and policy analysis methods, such as system dynamics, life cycle assessment (LCA), and equilibrium modeling, to develop an integrated framework capable of quantifying and visualizing temporally and geospatially explicit effects of increasing circularity within energy systems. The position will also include synthesizing quantitative results to provide insights about different circular economy scenarios.
The successful candidate will collaborate with senior engineers and analysts to develop and exercise models and tools for the creation of this framework. Specific job duties are expected to include:
- Developing new methods to quantify the impacts of increasing circularity within energy systems and to identify key variables, sensitivities, and uncertainties
- Writing Python code to support the development of methods and models
- Collecting and curating data to support model development
- Applying quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess and visualize results
- Writing and publishing results in journal articles, conference proceedings, and technical reports
- Presenting results at conferences and meetings
- Coordinating and collaborating with peers and colleagues within and outside of NREL
The assignment is initially for one year, but a longer-term may be available for strong candidates who demonstrate significant progress, initiative, and analytical and writing success.
Basic QualificationsMust be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.
PhD in a relevant, quantitative discipline such as engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, applied economics, or interdisciplinary fields such as industrial ecology and material flow analysis.
Additional Required Qualifications
- Background in systems thinking with demonstrated experience modeling problems from a systems perspective.
- Creative problem-solver with experience developing or troubleshooting difficult models.
- Robust analytical skills and demonstrated ability to apply theoretical concepts to a real-world situation.
- Experience coding in Python. Applicants with experience in other programming languages, who have also demonstrated their initiative and capability to quickly learn Python, may also qualify.
- Self-motivated learner with demonstrated ability to grasp new concepts quickly and to develop new skills and models as needed.
- Demonstrated interest in sustainability, renewable energy, or circular economy.
- Experience working independently and on teams.
- Prior knowledge of two, or more, of the following disciplines: systems engineering, economics, physics-based modeling, software development, sustainability, or renewable energy.
- Interdisciplinary curiosity and resourcefulness, including desire to broaden skills.
- Strong technical writing skills, including prior experience publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
- Proficient in Python.
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