PhD Studentship: In Novel Flexibility Markets and Services for Whole Energy Systems

Funding amount:

£15,609 per year

Value of award

100% of home tuition fees paid and an annual stipend (living expenses) of £15,609.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2021 for 3 years.

Application closing date

9 May 2021.


Future energy systems will operate under increased uncertainty due to high levels of renewable electricity generation and decarbonisation-driven changes in energy demand. Traditional solutions to this uncertainty would cost billions of pounds, but flexibility (the ability to adapt to changes in conditions) from within the system could be more cost-effective option. However, flexibility is an emerging concept, and new markets and services will be required to appropriately value, procure, and deliver flexibility to a reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy system. This PhD will develop mathematical models of energy systems and flexibility markets to answer one or more of the following research questions:

  • How is flexibility procured within energy systems? How this will change in future, low carbon systems with very high penetrations of renewable energy?
  • How can the value of flexibility within a future energy system be quantified?
  • How do we design and model flexibility markets and services for future energy systems?
  • How can we ensure that different flexible technologies (e.g. energy storage, demand side response, generation, interconnection) can compete on a level playing field?

The research undertaken during the PhD can focus on one or more specific energy vectors (such as gas or electricity) and at any system level (transmission, distribution, microgrid). The specific aspects of flexibility under study could be exiting products within an energy system, such as frequency response and reserve, or hypothetical future markets, such as those currently being developed at distribution level or for inertia.

This studentship offers the opportunity to join a leading energy systems research group. The group has excellent links to industrial partners and other top universities in the UK and further afield.


NUACT Fellowship Scheme

Name of supervisor(s)

David Greenwood and Sara Walker.

Eligibility Criteria

This studentship is available to UK students.

A good first degree (2.1 or better) in Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, or another relevant subject.

Some knowledge or experience of energy systems or energy markets would be an advantage.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system here. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • insert the programme code 8060F in the programme of study section
  • select PhD Engineering (full time) – as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code ENG080 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG080 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach a short research proposal (up to 500 words) describing the specific research direction or problem you would like to investigate
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

You should also send your covering letter and CV to Dr David Greenwood


For further information please contact Dr David