PhD position Managing congestion in the electricity grid using mathematics and machine learning

at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Published January 23, 2023
Location Delft, Netherlands
Category Machine Learning  
Job Type Scholarship  



Electrical power is central to the energy transition – it is produced by wind turbines and solar panels, stored in batteries and consumed by heat pumps, hydrolysers and home appliances. Transporting this power requires large investments in electrical grids, as well as the development of intelligent control solutions. Data-driven models can identify risks of overloads and propose solutions to efficiently eliminate bottlenecks. By creating better insights in the risks under- and overinvestments can be prevented, and the grid can be operated safer and more efficient.

This 4-year PhD position is part of the AI for Energy Grids ICAI lab, a collaboration between 4 Dutch universities and the grid operator Alliander that maintains and operates the medium-low voltage grid in a large part of the Netherlands. In this lab, 5 PhDs will work on novel machine learning methods for energy grids, combining state-of-the-art knowledge from university research groups with Alliander’s grid expertise and data. You will be hired as a PhD researcher at Delft University of Technology and also spend two days a week at Alliander in order to have better access to data and domain knowledge.

You will have a multidisciplinary supervisory team. Daily supervisor Dr. Simon Tindemans and Prof. Han La Poutré are with the Intelligent Electrical Power Grids research group at TU Delft. Eric Cator is professor of applied stochastics at Radboud University. His group has a long-standing collaboration with Alliander and ample experience in applying statistical models and AI to power grids. Jacco Heres of Alliander will be the industry supervisor. Alliander is one of the frontrunners worldwide in applying smart algorithms and AI to distribution grid management; it is also one of the places where the limits of existing methods and available commercial software become apparent. Within the AI for Energy Grids lab you will have direct access to university scientists, industry experts and problem owners.

We are looking for a mathematically minded researcher who takes a principled approach to understanding data-driven methods. As part of your PhD project, you will develop a novel decision support methodology that (1) integrates network models, operations, and measurements to learn spatiotemporal models of network usage and available flexibility options; (2) generates probabilistic forecasts of remaining network capacity and related uncertainty quantification; and (3) provides a risk-based ranking of mitigation options, including time-to-decide, and scales to large networks.


  • An MSc degree (completed at the start date) in a discipline that combines mathematics and algorithmic thinking (e.g. Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Systems & Control, (Applied) Mathematics, Stochastics, Operations Research).
  • Demonstrable knowledge of probability, statistics, statistical learning and/or machine learning methods.
  • An excellent academic record (typical grades of 8+ (Dutch) or A).
  • Excellent English skills. Holders of an MSc degree that was obtained outside the Netherlands are required to demonstrate this with a TOEFL score of 100 (min. 21 for each section) or IELTS of 7.0 (min. 6.5 for each section). Limited exceptions apply: see
  • A good intuition for probability and statistics and an ability to read and critically analyse papers in the mathematics/computer science domain.
  • You enjoy programming and strive to write code to a high standard.
  • An affinity with the energy transition and its technical underpinnings (operation and planning of energy infrastructure).

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


For information about this vacancy and the selection procedure, please contact Simon Tindemans, Assistant Professor, email: