4 PhD positions in the new PhD Programme in Science, Technology, and Policy for Sustainable Change at Politecnico di Milano
Politecnico di Milano just opened the 2022/2023 call for Ph.D applications starting on November 2022 (see HERE) that includes four 3-years scholarships under the new PhD Programme in Science, Technology, and Policy for Sustainable Change (STEP-CHANGE).
STEP-CHANGE prepares the future generation of scientific experts for addressing the challenge of global change and steering society towards a sustainable and inclusive transition, including accelerating the penetration of green technologies, fostering industry decarbonization, and designing sustainable policies from cross-sectoral perspectives. The programme stems from the cooperation of 11 departments and offers a multicultural and trans-disciplinary research environment with strong connections to international research centres and private companies. At the end of the program, PhD candidates are expected to possess the competencies and capacities required to support and inform the process of policy and strategy design for innovation-driven responses towards sustainable development.
Research in the STEP-CHANGE PhD Programme focuses on developing novel methodologies and advancing applications on interdisciplinary cross-cutting topics, including: planning and management of natural resources under change, global environmental change and socio-technical systems, industrial green transition pathways, multisector dynamics, impact assessment of technological changes, policy and decision-making processes, responsible research, ethics, and philosophy, artificial intelligence for global change, climate change techno-economic and financial risks, ecological and epidemiological responses to global change, pro-environmental behaviour of citizens, institutions, and firms, digital carbon footprint, green IT, digital sustainability, design for sustainable product-service systems, sustainable products life cycle design.
The STEP-CHANGE call includes 4 thematic scholarships that candidates have to select during the applications:
1. AFRICA INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT MODEL: TECHNOLOGY AND POLICY FOR A JUST ENERGY TRANSITION – Prof. Emanuela Colombo (website)
Quantitative assessment and reduction of the impact that modern industrial and productive systems have on the planet while assuring prosperity for the people is one of the major challenges in engineering and environmental sciences. This claim is quite evident in both the new Agenda 2030 and the climate-debate as well stated during COP26.
The claim is even more urgent for the African Continent, which is due to play a crucial role within sustainable development policies, climate change mitigation or/and adaptation actions and energy transition including raw materials). Africa needs to implement a sustainable transition to respond to the aspiration of the AU Agenda 2063; at the same time, to support the global implementation of the Paris Agreement, Europe and the world need Africa to proceed in the right pathways of he the energy transition to unveil the international impact of the EU Green Deal.
The position is focused on the development and application of robust, transparent, open and integrated models for assessing the energy, environmental and economic effects of decarbonization policies in the African context. In particular:
• Developing bottom-up energy system models and integrating them with top down meso-economic models.
• Definition of such models for set of countries within the African context and apply them to analyze future scenarios.
• Perform comparative assessment of the effects of different regional policies.Qualifications for this position include a M.Sc. in Energy, Computer Engineering, Operational Research or related fields. Strong numerical and computational skills are required as well as English language skills both in oral and written communication.
2. MACHINE LEARNING FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES CHARACTERIZATION, MODELLING, AND PREDICTION – Prof. Andrea Castelletti (website)
This position is funded by the Horizon 2020 project CLINT (https://www.climateintelligence.eu/) focusing on the development of an Artificial Intelligence framework composed of Machine Learning techniques and algorithms to process big climate datasets for improving Climate Science in the detection, causation, and attribution of Extreme Events including tropical cyclones, heatwaves and warm nights, droughts, and floods. CLINT involves 15 partners, including major climate centres in EU, data scientists, and experts of climate services.
The research activity will focus on:
– Developing feature extraction algorithms for supporting the detection of spatial and temporal patterns and evolutions of climatological fields (e.g., temperature) associated with extreme events, particularly, extreme droughts, heatwaves, and compound events.
– Validating the detected teleconnections with data-driven causal inference methods.
Qualifications for this position include a M.Sc. in Physics, Computer and/or Automation Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Mathematics or related fields. Strong numerical and computational skills are required as well as English language skills both in oral and written communication.
3. SPATIALLY-EXPLICIT MODELS FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE – Prof. Paco Melià (website)
This position is funded by the Horizon 2020 project SEAWISE (https://seawiseproject.org/), which aims to address the need to increase fisheries benefits while reducing ecosystem impacts under environmental change and increasing competition for space. SEAWISE involves a network of stakeholders, advisory bodies and scientists belonging to 24 research institutions across Europe.
Research activities will focus on:
– Developing dynamic metapopulation models for selected fish stocks in multi-species/multi-fleet fisheries contexts
– Designing management policies and assessing their performance under different environmental scenarios, including climate change
– Developing decision methods to prioritize management policies from a multi-criteria perspective encompassing biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic viability objectives.
Qualifications for this position include a Master’s degree in a quantitative discipline and strong computational skills. A background in ecological modelling is strongly advised.
4. DIGITALIZATION FOR CLIMATE-RESILIENT HOUSEHOLDS AND FOR CLIMATE MITIGATION STRATEGIES – Prof. Massimo Tavoni (website)
Duties include applying statistical and machine learning techniques to analyze large energy and environmental datasets coming from residential smart meters, weather and air quality stations, and decarbonization scenarios from climate-economy models. The selected candidate will work in a first class research team, who has ongoing research projects with international institutions and energy companies.
Competencies include capacity to handle data-intensive workflows, to perform exploratory analysis of large datasets, to know at least one programming language for scientific applications (e.g. Python, R, Julia), to code statistical and machine learning methods and run them also on a high-performance computing cluster, to clearly communicate and visualize data and results, to interact with a diverse team including environmental scientists, engineers and behavioural economists.
Requirements include a Master’s degree in a quantitative discipline, such as statistics, data science, computer science, mathematics, engineering, physics.