Research assistant in historical electricity system transitions

The ongoing energy and climate transitions involve a transformation of the electricity system, but there are several possible future electricity system configurations implying a technology choice with far-reaching implications for society. In this project you will get the chance to increase your knowledge on sustainability transitions and what governs the direction of technical change in a historical study of past selection processes. You will work in a dedicated group, well networked in academia and society.

Information about the division

The division of Environmental Systems Analysis specializes in research and teaching in the areas of Innovation and sustainability transitions, Industrial ecology and Environmental assessment.

Information about the position
We are recruiting a research assistant in the area of historical analysis of electricity system transitions. The work is positioned within the broad field of innovation and sustainability transition research and is part of the research program Resistance and Power: on smart grids for the many people funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation ( The project aims at investigating historical technology choice. The candidate will collect and analyse quantitative and qualitative data.

The electricity systems around the world are currently in a state of transition. The climate crisis drives a shift from fossil to wind and solar electricity as well as an increasing demand for electricity for transportation and industry. From a starting point of centralized generation and national distribution, solar, wind and energy storage technology now enable local generation and local use in small off-grid systems or distribution in various smart grid configurations. At the same time, the varying production of solar and wind power stimulate sharing of electricity in larger networks, super-grids, crossing national borders and creating continent wide configurations. The final outcome of this development is far from given. The process is highly dynamical and will depend on numerous technical, economic, political, and social factors. Understanding the present and the importance of different factors is difficult. Here, a historical analysis of past similar transitions can help and shed some light on the subject matter. This is the aim of this project.

The position is placed at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA) at the Department of Technology Management and Economics (TME). ESA conducts systems-oriented interdisciplinary research to find more sustainable technology solutions and to find ways to transform technology systems to better meet the environmental and resource constraints society faces. Our work is challenge-driven and cross-disciplinary, with a common systems-based approach. Our division has around 40 staff and faculty members, including engineering, social and natural science researchers. It is a dynamic and inclusive research environment with friendly atmosphere and cutting-edge research in multiple areas.

More information about the department and the division can be found at TME's web page: the department of Technology management and Economics.

Contract terms
The position is a full-time, fully funded, temporary employment of one year, during which you are expected to work according to the team's joint work plan and contribute to key deliverables.

You have finished or are about to finish a master's degree in Industrial ecology, Sustainable energy systems, Science and technology studies, Innovation and transition studies or similar. You have good communication skills in English. We also welcome candidates with a PhD in a relevant field.

We offer
Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20230386 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

Please follow the instructions for compiling an application for a research and teaching position at Chalmers.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
One page where you:
- Introduce yourself
- Describe your motivation for applying to this position and what attracts you about Chalmers
- Describe how you support your colleagues and bring about a good working environment
- Include names and full contact information of two references that we can contact

CV: (Please name the document as: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
- Your CV (please see the CV guidelines).
- Include a list of publications.

Research and teaching statement: (Please name the document as: Research statement, Family name, Ref. number)
One to three pages where you:
- Describe your previous research and teaching experience and focus
- State your future research and teaching goals and focus
- Describe how you complement our existing competences and how you could create synergies between our existing research groups

Required documents:
Certificate or Diploma verifying your MSc or doctoral degree  

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. 

Application deadline: 2023-07-31

For questions, please contact:
Björn Sandén, professor,, 031-7728612

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

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