EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in

Energy Resilience and the Built Environment

EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in

Energy Resilience and the Built Environment

EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment

4-year UCL PhD studentship in Demand profiles and flexibility insights from smart meter data

UCL Energy Institute are seeking applications for a fully funded Studentship on topic in “Demand profiles and flexibility insights from smart meter data”

The electrification of heat and transport will lead to significant changes to the energy system and individual demand profiles. Modelling and trials have investigated the resultant electricity demand. However, the demand from a large sample of homes with electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps (HPs) independent of the conditions of trials has not been studied.

Supervisor: Dr Cliff Elwell and Professor Tadj Oreszczyn of UCL Energy Institute.

Funding: The studentship will cover UK course fees and an enhanced tax-free stipend of approx. £19,000 per year for 4 years along with a substantial budget for research, travel, and centre activities.

Fees: ERBE CDT has very limited funding for applicants requiring coverage of overseas fees. We advise all interested applicants to be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships

Dates: 4 years from September 2022


Context and Project description:

Rapid decarbonisation of our energy system is required to mitigate climate change. Energy demand from the built stock is an important component of the zero carbon transition; the domestic sector is the largest energy demand during the winter peak. Central to most plans to decarbonise the UK are the electrification of heat and transport, leading to significant increases in electricity demand from heat pumps (HPs) and for charging electric vehicles (EVs).

Matching electricity demand with supply is critical for energy security and avoiding power cuts, and may be achieved through flexible generation, storage and demand side response (DSR). With the rapid increase in relatively inflexible low carbon generation (wind, PV, nuclear), storage and DSR are expected to play a major role in balancing the grid on an hourly timescale. However, the real potential for DSR, changing demand in response to a signal, depends on the technologies installed, behaviours, the physical properties of a home and the heating system. This is not well characterised for homes that fall outside specific technology trials and therefore the true demand profiles and potential to adapt them are not well defined.

This PhD will address this exciting area by analysing smart meter data, survey data and energy performance certificate (EPC) data to provide insights into the demand from homes with HPs and EVs. Temperature monitoring may also be used to bring deeper insights into how and when heating is used, and to better understand the thermal performance of homes.

The successful candidate will work with internationally respected researchers, supported not only by their supervisors but also by the vibrant and skilled research teams undertaking cutting-edge research in this area. They will also join the wider ERBE cohort to benefit from high quality training and support throughout their PhD.


Studentship aims:

This project aims to analyse smart meter data, contextual survey information and EPC data, potentially including benchmark modelling, to investigate the difference between demand profiles for homes with conventional heating and vehicles to those with HPs and EVs. It will provide insights into the real demand from these technologies over different seasons and demographics. The flexibility to change consumption in response to a price signal (DSR) will be explored, building on UCL’s research into flexibility ratings, with a sub-set participating in internal temperature monitoring to derive more detailed insight.


Person specification:

This is an exciting and challenging project, suited to a candidate with a physical science, engineering or applied data analysis background and interested in an applied PhD in support of decarbonisation, and creating comfortable, healthy homes. An interest in collecting and analysing real data is beneficial. Experience or qualifications in a subject associated with the built environment are welcome, but not required – training and support will be provided to the successful candidate.

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master’s degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor’s degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master’s degree to be admitted.

Applicants must also meet the minimum language requirements of UCL.

Applicants should be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for UKRI funded studentships.


How to apply

Please submit a pre-application by email to the UCL ERBE Centre Manager (bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk) with Subject Reference: 4 year PhD studentship in Demand profiles and flexibility insights from smart meter data

The application should include all of the following:
1) A covering letter clearly stating why you are applying and how your interests and experience relate to this project, and your understanding of eligibility according to these guidelines: EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships
2) CV
3) Complete the CDT EPSRC fees background and EDI questionnaire via the linked Microsoft Forms.


Only shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.
• For the interview shortlisted candidates will be asked to show proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s), and proof of their fees eligibility.
• The interview panel will consist of consist of the project’s academic supervisors at UCL, and a representative of the ERBE CDT Academic management The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.
Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme for ERBE CDT.


Deadline for applications: Sunday, 15th May 2022 @ 23:59 (UK time)
Interviews week commencing: TBC


For further details about the admission process, please contact: bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk

For any further details regarding the project, contact Dr Cliff Elwell, clifford.elwell@ucl.ac.uk

You will be undertaking this project in UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus as part of the new EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE CDT). This is a collaboration between UCL, Loughborough University and Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI). For more information please see http://erbecdt.ac.uk

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