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Postdoctoral Scholar, Deep Decarbonization Initiative (D2I)

Position overview

Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar Employee
Salary range: Commensurate with experience

Application Window

Open date: November 23rd, 2021

Next review date: Saturday, Jan 1, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, Jan 31, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

D2I is a cross-campus effort initiated by the UCSD School of Engineering (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), the UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It is led by Professor David G. Victor and Professor George Tynan. The candidate will be jointly advised by and work in collaboration with three professors from Economics and Political Science: David G. Victor, Josh Graff Zivin, and Teevrat Garg.

The Deep Decarbonization Initiative (D2I) at UC San Diego is building a new research program that looks empirically at how humans and firms respond to transformation of the electric power grid. Visions of future highly electrified energy systems often assume that households and firms will be highly responsive in adjusting demand as the grid shifts to a much greater role for variable renewable resources. While such shifts are under way, and likely to accelerate with deep decarbonization, the ability of demand response to play the substantial role expected of it in those future grids is unknown. Demand response assumptions, such as for the charging of electric vehicles or the altering of building energy use and occupancy practices, are largely untested under conditions relevant to grids of the future. This new research program at D2I aims to help rectify that problem by working at the frontier of social science around human and organizational behavior while linking that research to real firms that have practical operational experience. We expect this research program will be data rich. Data for this analysis will be collected via rigorous, real-world experimentation across electric utility service territories and with a diversity of real utility customers.

D2I will hire at least one full-time postdoctoral scholar who would play a central role in leading and managing research in a wide range of topics related to demand response of the electric power system. (This hire will run in parallel with another new postdoctoral hire focused on demand response in buildings and electric vehicles on the UC San Diego campus.) The position will begin Q1 2022 (March 1, 2022) and will be for a term of two years (extendable). It will be physically located at UC San Diego. The successful candidate will help orchestrate two related activities:

  1. The first is a broad review of past demand response experimentation and performance, along with data collection and analysis of performance data;
  2. The second is design and implementation of new experimental trials, guided by lessons gleaned from the review, tuned toward demand response imperatives of a future decarbonizing grid.

In this position, the candidate will help develop the early stages of a research program that could grow very rapidly and include partnership with external institutions, including electric power utilities and other universities. The exact contours of the position will shape with the person hired; for some, the position could become a postdoctoral fellowship involving mostly investigator-initiated research and deep focus on the technical portions of the work along with some management. For others the job may become more management and orchestration of new research with, at the same time, deep engagement with the content of the research.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

Hold or will hold a PhD by the start of the appointment in economics, political science, sociology, public policy or engineering and demonstrated ability as an independent scholar capable of designing new research endeavors

Preferred qualifications

-Experience working with firms or authorities in the electric power industry, such as utilities, ISOs, regulators, or demand response measurement, reporting and verification companies, is a plus but not required.
-Soft skills, such as leadership, diplomacy, team building and the ability to liaise among partners with diverse interests is highly desired.
-Experience in the design of behavioral interventions, such as randomized controlled trials, is also a plus.
-We are interested more in an entrepreneurial and creative thinker and doer than finding a person who hails from a particular discipline or a unique set of academic letters after their name.
-Ability to move quickly and not break things is essential.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Cover Letter

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Applicants should summarize their past or potential contributions to diversity. See our Faculty Equity site for more information.

Reference requirements
  • 3 letters of reference required
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Campus Information

The University of California, San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, covered veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. For new University of California employees, the applicable deadline is eight weeks after their first date of employment.

The University of California prohibits smoking and tobacco use at all University controlled properties.

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Job location

La Jolla, CA