PhD position in Control of Complex Converter-dominated Grids with Scalable Stability Certificates

Norwegian University of Science and Technology
January 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The Department of Electric Power Engineering has a vacancy for a

PhD position in Control of Complex Converter-dominated Grids with Scalable

Stability Certificates

This is NTNU

NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus in professional education. The university is located in three cities with headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 44,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.

About the job

The Department of Electric Power Engineering (IEL) at NTNU has a vacancy for a full-time 100% position as a Ph.D. candidate within the fields of nonlinear control, power electronics and power systems. The prospective candidate will work in the research group Power System Operation and Analysis (PSOA). The main supervisor of the PhD candidate will be Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Bergna-Diaz. In addition, co-supervisors from co-operating partners may be appointed.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The position reports to the Head of Department.

Duties of the position

Job description: The objective of the PhD education is to qualify for scientific research of high international standard. The PhD education has a nominal duration of three years of full-time study and includes required coursework or similar academic training comprising a minimum of 30 credits. The most important component of the PhD education is an independent scientific research project carried out under academic supervision, which results in the PhD thesis. The PhD degree is conferred based on these two elements and the doctoral examination, which consists of a trial lecture and a public defence of the scientific thesis.

The candidate is expected to fully complete the course work and the PhD thesis within the period of employment, which could be 3 or 4 years. The doctoral examination may take place after the period of employment. The option of 4-year employment would imply 1 year of duties as Teaching Assistant for the Department and may be offered to a candidate with clear motivation and ability for such work, if the Department sees the need. This will be clarified during and after any interview.

Project description: To achieve a sustainable future, humanity needs to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. From the technical side, this will require drastically scaling the integration of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, wave, etc.) interconnected to our power grids, while guaranteeing a safe, and reliable uninterrupted operation. Unfortunately, present-day industrial operational solutions simply cannot scale to accommodate this challenge, as they rely heavily on case-specific computationally intensive analyses, i.e., every minor change in the system threatens to invalidate previous designs. Therefore, if we are serious in meeting our ambitious targets, we need to rethink completely the way in which we operate these ever-growing renewable energy-dominated power grids. The research carried out in this PhD position will aim to challenge and rethink established power system operational conventions by moving away from data- driven and computationally intensive standard solutions and by instead adopting a new analytical (energy-based) and scalable perspective. This will allow for timely needed, safe and scalable ever-growing renewable energy grids.

More precisely, the aim of this project is to propose decentralized and robust grid control solutions with scalable large-signal stability certificates for power electronics-dominated complex grids; such as multi-terminal HVDC grids and/or microgrids. This means that as the system naturally expands by adding more power converter units for example, the stability certificate (Lyapunov function) of the overall interconnection should automatically expand with the system, giving rise to a plug-and-play stability feature suitable for this type of “organically-growing” infrastructure. On the other hand, these control proposals should still be able to replicate the main functionalities of the standard grid operating primary-control solutions that they aim to replace, such as droop control, current control, voltage control, synchronization, etc. Alternatively, the scalable control proposals can instead/also focus on replicating secondary-control distributed solutions via the introduction of communication links between neighboring converters while still maintaining scalable stability certificates and optimizing its operation.

Required selection criteria

Applicants must hold a MSc degree (or equivalent) within electric power engineering, preferably with experience on grid integration of power electronic converters to the grid, and “complex” converter-based grids such as (multi-terminal) hvdc grids and/or microgrids, including their modelling and operation. Alternatively, the applicant must hold a MSc degree within control engineering, preferably with experience in the fields of robust nonlinear control methods—e.g.: passivity - and/or distributed optimization and control. Experience within multiple of these fifields of study is highly appreciated. The applicants must be able to work independently, but also to collaborate with the other project participants and other colleagues at the department.

Applicants must have very good English language skills, written and spoken. Applicants from non-English speaking countries outside EU/EEA/Switzerland must provide preliminary documentation of English language proficiency, in terms of an approved test. The following tests can be used: TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Further assessment of both written and oral English language skills and the ability to communicate fluently will be conducted in the continued selection process and during any interviews for all applicants.

Other selection criteria:

  • Relevant (non-)scientific publications, e.g. in popular sciences, showing the ability to communicate fluently.
  • The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant

    Preferred selection criteria
  • Research experience.
  • Publications are appreciated--but not necessary, particularly for candidates in early stages of their career.
  • A master thesis relevant to the application call.
  • Good collaborative skills.
  • Personal characteristics
  • Inquisitive and self-motivated
  • Creativity and innovation in research
  • Scientific mindset
  • Ability to work across traditional disciplines and easily get in touch with other researchers
  • Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

    We offer
  • exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • an open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues
  • favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Salary and conditions

    As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

    The employment contract is for three years; however, there is a possibility for extension up to four years if selected for assistantship.

    Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Electric Power Engineering within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

    The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

    It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

    About the application

    The application must include:

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes personal motivation and relevance with respect to the requirements of this advertisement.
  • A draft research proposal (1-2 pages) for the PhD study, where you present your own ideas for the PhD-work and how it can be applied, based on the project description given in this advertisement. This proposal will be neither final nor binding for the project.
  • CV & certificates including information pertaining to the given qualifications.
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted and add contact details to your supervisor.
  • Testimonials and certificates. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement (https: // or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • Name and contact information of three references.
  • Other relevant publications or research work.
  • Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above. Incomplete application will not be assessed.

    If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

    We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

    In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

    NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

    General information

    Working at NTNU

    NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees' needs.

    NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.

    The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

    As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

    A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

    If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Gilbert Bergna-Diaz , email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Bodil Vuttudal Wold , e-mail:

    If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.

    Application deadline: 15.01.2023.

    NTNU - knowledge for a better world

    NTNU - knowledge for a better world

    The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

    Department of Electric Power Engineering

    The Department of Electric Power Engineering is one of the seven departments at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Our department is Norway's leading in the field, and our vision is to be at the centre of the digital, green shift. We have excellent collaboration with business and industry as well as other universities and research organizations internationally. This gives us outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary research with high relevance for the society, addressing industrial needs and global challenges.


    15th January 2023


    NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




    Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)



    Place of service

    NTNU Campus Trondheim

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