Ph.D. Research in Energy Transition

The MAGPIE consortium, consisting of 4 ports (Lighthouse port Rotterdam, Fellow Ports DeltaPort (inland), Sines and HAROPA), 9 research institutes and universities, 32 private companies and 4 other institutes, forms a unique collaboration addressing the missing link between green energy supply and green energy use in port-related transport and the implementation of digitalisation, automation, and autonomy to increase transport efficiency. This project accelerates the introduction of green energy carriers combined with realisation of and logistic optimisation in ports through automation and autonomous operations. A living lab approach is applied in which technological and nontechnological innovations are developed or demonstrated. All results feed into the Master Plan for the future European green port, aiming at full decarbonisation by 2050 by providing solutions that can be implemented immediately to make significant steps in decarbonisation already by 2030.

We are seeking highly motivated students with demonstrated academic ability, those who possess a commitment to interdisciplinary research on significant information technology and management issues, and those who desire to pursue an academic research career in this field. You will be part of the Business Information Management (BIM) section within the Department of Technology & Operations Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

Applicants must have strong quantitative training, with preference given to candidates who have earned an MSc, MPhil or Research Master in economics, computer science, engineering, econometrics, statistics, or a related field. Successful candidates have proficiency with C++, Java, Python, or other programming languages.

As a Ph.D. student, you will gain the training and experience necessary to conduct independent research through course work in information systems, economics, econometrics, machine learning, optimization, and large-scale data analytics. You will work closely with the advisors to define, develop, and execute your own research. The Ph.D. dissertation will be defined by the student with inputs from the advisors, and thus requires creativity, self-direction, and a passion for scientific inquiry.

Keywords

Energy transition, Sector coupling, Multi-modal transportation, Port, Energy supply-demand matching, Green information systems, Energy informatics

Topic

Research Topics

The focus of this PhD project is to help other partners in this work package to deliver a roadmap to develop supply chains: electricity/batteries, and hydrogen. To establish a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to decarbonise the port's transport activities. This entails defining and evaluating long term energy scenarios regarding energy carriers, energy flows and use sectors. A time-dependent statistical model will be created in which the effects of choices will be simulated. With this input, a strategic decision support model for the energy system will be developed in which various energy scenarios can be evaluated, optimising the infrastructure and use of green energy in the port. Ultimately this will be implemented in the decision support and simulation tool which will be applied to the various green energy scenarios.

To conduct research, you will be able to take advantage of multiple industry and university collaborations (which is inherent by the nature of this consortium) as well as institutional databases, and software development support to gain access to large-scale data sets and have the opportunity to conduct real-world field experiments.

Organization

The BIM section of the Department of Technology & Operations Management at RSM is recognized worldwide and is multi- and interdisciplinary, publishing their research in top information systems and management journals. This makes the BIM section a lively, creative, and intellectually stimulating place to conduct research. The BIM section has a large, young and highly international faculty. The 14 full-time research-active faculty members have been educated at renowned institutions in Europe, the USA, and Asia. We have a strong research and teaching tradition and an international orientation both to the academic community and the business community.

BIM offers a high-profile MSc Business Information Management, one of Europe’s largest master programmes in Information Systems with 250+ new students each year. The programme delivers in-depth knowledge from theoretical and practical perspectives. Furthermore, a Master of Business Analytics & Management program was launched in 2020.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

Please visit our website for more information:

Erasmus Research Institute and Management: www.erim.eur.nl

Approach

This project is multi-disciplinary (information systems, operations, economics) and uses different research methodologies. We use and develop quantitative models based on operations research, econometrics, and machine learning.

Coursework. Core coursework is designed to build methodological skills, modelling competence, and substantive depth. The Ph.D. students will develop their knowledge and research skills by taking courses during the first and second year. The courses are offered by the Tinbergen Institute (http://www.tinbergen.nl), ERIM (https://www.erim.eur.nl/), and/or other research institutes. It is relevant to economics of information systems and business analytics in information systems, including, but not limited to microeconomics (individual choice, aggregate supply and demand, equilibrium), econometrics (endogenous variables, choice modeling), statistics and probability, Bayesian modelling, machine learning, and deep learning.

Research seminars. We organize weekly BIM research seminars (www.erim.eur.nl/research/events/research-seminars) that bring leading scholars to share their knowledge and insights on cutting-edge research that is emerging in other top schools around the world. Exposure to such network helps you jump-start your careers by providing in-depth view of mainstream research in the field, key methodological concerns, and emerging views among scholars and journal editors.

Research environment. Our interdisciplinary Ph.D. program provides an unparalleled source of training for doing cutting-edge research in Information Systems. In addition to strong technical training in quantitative methods, students will also be equipped with a deep appreciation and understanding of the behavioral mechanisms and processes that influence decision making via interactions with faculty studying topics related to individual decision making in experimental paradigms. Although you are likely to work primarily with field data, you will have access to the Erasmus Behavioral Lab, which provides all the necessary facilities to conduct world-class research on consumer behavior (cubicles, group labs, video-labs, eye tracking, EEG).

Required Profile

  • The candidates should have an interest in energy systems and decarbonization.
  • Preferred background: MSc. in Information Systems, Industrial engineering, Supply Chain Management, Econometrics, Applied Mathematics, Operations Research, Computer Science or Business Analytics;
  • Excellent study record; Programming experience;
  • International orientation and the capacity to speak and write in English fluently;
  • Backgroud in machine learning and/or optimization is advantageous.
  • Commitment and drive to execute excellent PhD Research.

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here: https://www.erim.eur.nl/doctoral-programme/phd-in-management/admissions/application/

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no section score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no section score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

Interested candidates are invited to visit the ERIM PhD in Management website (http://www.erim.eur.nl/doctoral-programme/) for information about application procedures and criteria. The application deadline is 1 December 2021. We encourage applicants to submit as early as possible as we will evaluate applications as they come in.

If you have any questions about the formal admission requirements, please contact the ERIM doctoral office: phd@erim.eur.nl or contact Dr. Yashar Ghiassi-Farrokhfal (y.ghiassi@rsm.nl).

Expected output

Scholar publications. The project aims to publish the results of the research in the top journals in information systems and operations management.You will develop research papers that can be published in top-tier information systems and management journals, such as Management Science, MIS Quarterly, and Information Systems Research. BIM faculty at RSM has a strong publication record in these journals. The final results of the Ph.D. are also published in a Ph.D. dissertation. Most BIM Ph.D. students will be able to publish multiple papers in these top journals.

Placement record. In the past five years, our graduates have accepted faculty positions at top business schools all around the world, including MIT, Northwestern University, George Washington University, Copenhagen Business School, IE Business School, University of Amsterdam, and VU Amsterdam.

Cooperation

In the project, we collaborate with multiple industry partners and knowledge institutes in the consortium. We expect that there will be extensive collaborations with TUDelft and the RSM-Supply chain group, both of which being in the same work package. Furthermore, to strengthen your international profile, we strongly encourage our Ph.D. students to go abroad for a research visit during their third or fourth year at one of the top universities for 3 to 6 months. Past destinations include MIT, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of California, Berkeley.