PhD Candidate: Decision Analytics for Hydropower Reservoir Management

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Trondheim, Norway 🇳🇴

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 42,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

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

Research collaboration in sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures. 

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project. In this position, the candidate is expected to cooperate with the other PhD students in the project SusHydro.

This is a 3-year PhD position with the possibility of an additional year with working duties at the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management – Section Managerial Economics, Finance and Operation Research. The position is resident at NTNUs campus in Trondheim. It is an educational position, which will provide promising research talents the opportunity for professional development towards a PhD-degree. The position is connected to the PhD program at the Faculty of Economics and Management and the faculty will be your employer.

The position is part of the SusHydro project at NTNU that seeks to find innovative and cross-sectoral solutions that shed light on a wider range of services that hydropower and water reservoirs can contribute and shed light on how synergies and conflicts between different sustainability goals can be identified and balanced. SusHydro will do this by putting together a team of experienced professionals and talented young researchers with a background in hydrology and water resource analysis, life cycle assessment, modeling of the energy system, economics, biology and social sciences. Solutions will be developed through case studies in Norway and areas of Africa with rich hydropower resources.

About the position

This position is within operations research. The SusHydro project will develop models and methods for coordinated hydropower reservoir operations, when several owners make possibly independent operational decisions. Operations are subject to uncertainty in electricity market prices and runoff/inflow, for which different owners may have distinct expectations.

We will study how jointly owned reservoirs are operated in practice and which characteristics of organizational structures and contracts that govern joint operations. ​We will analyze how the interests of the owners are and should be balanced with sustainability issues and interests of other stakeholders.

We intend to chart best practices, analyze operational properties of these, and develop analytical models to support improved performance regarding relevant sustainability goals including considerations of efficiency, climate change and economic value of flexibility.

In addition to new models, this requires advanced stochastic optimization techniques and data driven optimization. Machine learning and simulation techniques will play an important role in the project.

Required selection criteria

  • The PhD-position’s main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) in operations research or equivalent with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with a master’s degree in mathematical economics and applied mathematics may also be considered.
  • The position requires excellent English oral and writing skills.
  • Documentation of clear interests in and dedication to interdisciplinary research, which includes:
    • attendance to joint courses with other candidates recruited for the SusHydro project
    • contribution to organization of interdisciplinary meetings and social gatherings hosted or with the involvement of SusHydro
    • contribution to scientific articles by other candidates in SusHydro from a different scientific field
    • attendance to meetings with the hydropower sector, including those hosted by relevant NTNU research centres 

In addition, the following qualifications will contribute positively to the evaluation of the applicant:

  • Background and/or experience relevant to the project topic (see the project topic)
  • Documented experience with stochastic optimization
  • Good knowledge of digital tools like Matlab, Python, etc.
  • Documented experience with data analytics techniques (e.g. machine learning, optimization, statistics/econometrics)
  • Skills in a Scandinavian language
  • Industrial experience

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and 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  

Incomplete applications will not be considered. This also applies to applications from candidates originating from countries covered by ITAR or “Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

Primary residency in Trondheim is a prerequisite. The person appointed must live in a location enabling him/her to be present at and available to the institution.

Personal characteristics

Personal qualifications which we see contributing positively to the research team are independence, work capacity and enthusiasm. We are also looking for candidates with social skills benefiting the work environment for the PhD candidates and in general.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

We offer

Information about Working and living in Norway can be found at the following link:

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, at gross NOK 491 200,- per annum before tax. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years with the possibility of an additional year with working duties. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Faculty of Economics and Management, Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management (

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants.

After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

About the application

The application must include:

1)      Application letter concerning your motivation for completing a PhD

2)      A short project proposal (maximum 2 pages) describing thematically problems, theories, methods and means linked to one of the topics/areas that the positions target.

3)      A CV with information on education, previous research experience, together with authorized documentation of certificates and study records.

4)      Academic work (not master thesis).

5)      Names and contact details of three refererences

Joint work will be evaluated. If it is difficult to identify the contributions from individuals in a joint piece of work, applicants should enclose a short descriptive summary of what she/he contributed to the work.

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates.

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

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

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.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Stein-Erik Fleten, [email protected], tel. +47 46694793. If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Consultant Hilde Selli Egelie, e-mail: [email protected].

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

Application deadline: 07.01.2021





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development