Ghent University

PhD Student - Department of Information Technology

2023-12-31 (Europe/Brussels)
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About the employer

Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

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Last application date Dec 31, 2023 00:00

Department TW05 - Department of Information Technology

Contract Limited duration

Degree Master degree with a focus on computer science

Occupancy rate 100%

Vacancy type Research staff

Job description

2 PhD positions in Artificial Intelligence for energy applications

The “AI for Energy” team (AI4E), led by prof. Chris Develder and prof. Bert Claessens at the Internet and Data Lab (IDLab) at Ghent University - imec is looking for a qualified and motivated candidate to pursue a Ph.D. in data analytics and machine learning for smart grid applications.


Our research group currently is involved in research projects in the energy domain, including mostly smart grid applications. The focus of our AI4E team in these projects is on data analytics, as well as coordination algorithms for, e.g., demand response. A major objective of the applications we want to support is to accommodate large penetration of renewable sources (wind mills, solar panels, etc.) without requiring excessive investments in the power grid infrastructure. This involves characterizing and eventually predicting both power generation (from renewables) and consumption behavior (and its flexibility, e.g., what portion thereof can be shifted in time), using data analytics techniques, constructing generative models, applying machine learning, etc. The next step is to actively control power consumption, e.g., by developing algorithms for energy management systems (to steer power consumption and/or decide what to use local production for, e.g., push into the grid or local storage).
Your role in these projects will be to devise and evaluate cutting edge algorithms, implement them, evaluate them in case studies and report on the results in a well-structured manner. Additionally, depending on the project, this may also involve the design/implementation of software prototypes for simulation and proof-of-concept demonstrations (in lab settings, but also in live field trials). You will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with researchers and engineers from other universities, research institutes and/or companies. As you will be dealing with several aspects of designing and evaluating systems (mathematical models, machine learning, optimization techniques, software development, simulation, etc.), the function is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and further improve several of your mathematical and engineering skills.
Your profile:

  • Holder of a M.Sc. degree relevant to the position (i.e., with a focus on computer science) with first class performance as demonstrated through outstanding grades, M.Sc. thesis results and/or publications.
  • You have strong analytical skills, you are well organized, you are an excellent communicator, a team player.
  • You have a strong sense of responsibility and are also able to autonomously plan and perform research tasks. You respect the predetermined milestones in research projects.
  • Your English is fluent, both in speaking and writing.
  • Both young graduates and candidates with a short (industrial) experience are welcome
  • Knowledge of data analysis, machine learning, optimization techniques (e.g., ILP, heuristics), basic distributed software concepts.
  • A proven experience in software development (e.g., student projects or master thesis with an important software development component), with solid knowledge of Python. Experience with R is a plus.

Job profile

Job offer:

  • PhD positions to work on fundamental and applied research projects (4 years (1+3)):
    • Position I: funded by a research institute, on graph neural networks and generative models for energy applications;
    • Position II: industry-funded position on heat pump control and home energy management
  • Focus on data science (analytics, modeling, machine learning) for energy / smart grid related applications, as well as scalable/distributed algorithms to coordinate energy consumption and production (demand response, DR)
  • Challenging, creative and constructive environment
  • Unique opportunity to participate in European/national research projects and to cooperate with important ICT-oriented companies
  • Competitive salary
  • A variety of UGent benefits such as public transport or bicycle allowance, discounted rate at student restaurants, and more.
  • Starting date: as soon as possible

How to apply

Send your (i) CV, (ii) transcript of study results and (iii) motivation letter to, indicating “Application: PhD in AI for Energy 2023” in the subject. Please also include (iv) details for up to 3 references that we may contact.

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Job details

PhD Student - Department of Information Technology
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33 Ghent, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-12-31 00:00 (Europe/Brussels)
2023-12-31 00:00 (CET)
Job type
Save job

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About the employer

Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

Visit the employer page

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