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  • Phd

Apply by: 2024-06-10

PhD position in “Economic Life Cycle Costing and Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Hydropower”

Published 2024-05-15


This is one of two PhD positions that are part of an international and multidisciplinary research project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme entitled “Innovative Storage Technology and Operations in Hydropower”. The overall project goal is to develop innovative and sustainable pumped storage technologies and control strategies to support the flexibility and resilience of the EU energy grid. This is achieved by enhancing the lifetime and recyclability of components and equipment, devising operation strategies for unconventional conditions (e.g. salt water or coal mine applications), and through sensor-based condition monitoring systems. Furthermore, digital tools for operational management are employed to consider the dynamics of renewable energy generation and demand as well as improving efficiency and reliability. These individual components are integrated in a cyber-physical platform for advanced decision support to promote a broader operating range and increased flexibility of EU hydropower generation and storage as part of Europe’s energy transition.

The specific focus of your PhD project is the analysis of costs caused by the innovations developed in the project along the value chain (production, use and maintenance, recycling). You get the chance to work with technological and operational hydropower experts from the early development stages of technologies to inform and influence the design processes. By means of economic life cycle costing analysis (LCC) you will determine capital expenditures (CAPEX), their relation to operational expenditures (OPEX), as well as “hidden” costs along the value chain. Further, you can develop ways to translate environmental/societal impacts determined by project partners into economic costs (monetization) to allow for a comparison and aggregation of internal costs and environmental/societal externalities. Finally, you will integrate the economic analysis into a broader life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) to identify synergies and trade-offs between technological, environmental, economic and societal aspects to support decision making in the development of hydropower technologies. The integration could be conducted through an absolute sustainability assessment that considers staying within planetary boundaries and meeting basic human needs (doughnut economics). You will work in close cooperation with a second PhD candidate whose focus is on environmental life cycle assessment.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, professional, and ambitious colleague, with the following profile.

  • You hold a Master’s degree in a field relevant to the PhD topic, such as (Environmental or Ecological) Economics, Engineering, or Environmental Sciences;
  • You have a strong background in life cycle costing, life cycle assessment, sustainability analysis, or other relevant fields;
  • Knowledge of monetary valuation, ecosystem services, hydropower and energy storage or other relevant technologies is an asset;
  • You have strong analytical skills;
  • You exhibit high levels of self-motivation while also being a team player;
  • You enjoy working in a multidisciplinary research setting with an international research team to achieve both scientific excellence and technological relevance;
  • You can prove your excellent command of the English language and strong (professional) communication skills.


You will be employed full-time for a period of 4 years. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • A full-time 4-year PhD-position;
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities;
  • A salary of € 2.770 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 3.539 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of the gross annual salary;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment;


The Chair of Multidisciplinary Water Management. Freshwater is essential to sustain life and economic development but it is also a vulnerable resource whose availability and quality varies around the globe. We need to understand the natural and socio-economic processes that affect water resources and develop solutions to water scarcity, flooding, and pollution while considering interactions with other aspects of sustainable development.

Our group studies the dynamics of water demand and availability as influenced by agricultural and industrial production, consumption and international trade as well as climate change, the energy transition, environmental policies, and offsetting strategies. The methods we use include water footprint and life cycle assessment, hydrological modelling, environmentally extended input-output analysis, integrated assessment, and policy evaluation.

We understand water related grand challenges as a shared responsibility in a wider environmental and socio-economic context. Hence, we engage different stakeholders and sectors to develop both science-based and actionable solutions. To support decision-making, we provide data, models, and tools and share our knowledge in academic teaching and science dissemination.


For additional information regarding this position, you can contact prof.dr.ir. Markus Berger, email m.berger@utwente.nl.

Please apply by uploading a motivation letter (1 page), your CV (max 2 pages), a writing sample (max 1 page e.g., an abstract of a publication or a summary of your master’s thesis) as well as relevant certificates until 10 June 2024 using the link below.

The first (online) job interview will take place on 18/19 June 2024.

We encourage Master students to apply even if they still have to graduate in the coming months.