Postdoctoral Fellowship; Behavioral Aspects of Electricity Demand Response & Deep Decarbonization

The Deep Decarbonization Initiative (D2I) at UC San Diego is building a new research program that looks at how humans interact with the technological systems that will be deployed as economies shift to zero carbon emissions. This research is linked to related behavioral science research in economics and political science.

Through widespread installation of new devices on campus, the UC San Diego team has access to large amounts of data about energy systems and their use. These systems include electric vehicle (EV) charging networks and new kinds of office and residential buildings that allow for more user interaction with major energy loads such as air conditioning systems. To advance this program, D2I will hire at least one post-doctoral scholar for a term of likely two years (extendable) to work physically at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) in two domains. First, the successful scholar will pursue their own research agenda broadly in this area, drawing on one or more diverse areas of social science such as behavioral economics, psychology, political economy, and organizational sociology. Second, the scholar will work with D2I leadership along with key members of the UC San Diego faculty and facilities management to help stand up a larger research program—including behavioral experiments, joint funding applications, seminars, and conferences, and sharing of best practices. It is expected that the scholar will work closely with Teevrat Garg (Associate Professor of Economics, GPS), Josh Graff-Zivin (Professor, Economics and GPS), and David Victor (Professor of Innovation and Public Policy, GPS Engineering and Climate Science).

UC San Diego offers a unique environment for this research, for it is not only a leading research institution but it also has on campus state-of-the-art EV and building control systems that stand ready to provide massive amounts of data for well-designed behavioral research. It has one of the largest on-campus EV charging networks in the world; with support from the National Science Foundation, it is also far advanced in deploying decentralized, monitorable load controllers across a sample of the campus building system. The project already has on hand $39M from NSF along with a mandate to experiment with the equipment—experiments that can generate rich data streams. In addition, UCSD campus already has many funded EV charging networks, with still more funds already in train—also for projects that generate large amounts of data, along with a keen interest in understanding where and how policies and other incentives might alter charging behavior in ways that can help integrate EVs into electric grids in more capable ways. In addition, state and federal funding offer opportunities for research that examines important topics in Environmental Justice, such as access to and use of on-campus charging systems for people from disadvantaged communities.

The successful candidate will have a PhD and a proven track record as a scholar, with the ability to self-initiate and organize studies while also working in teams. Experience in the design of behavioral interventions, such as randomized controlled trials, is essential and will be heavily weighted. Experience working with organizations that have energy supply responsibilities is a plus but not essential. We are interested more in an entrepreneurial and creative thinker and doer than finding a person who hails from a particular discipline. Training in economics, political science, sociology, engineering & Public policy, or other fields are all appropriate.

The candidate will be jointly advised by and work in collaboration with three professors from Economics and Political Science: David G. Victor, Josh Graff Zivin, and Teevrat Garg. Funding for the position runs through the School of Engineering, but the position will be simultaneously housed in the School of Global Policy and Strategy alongside advising professors and D2I staff. Relevant disciplinary affiliations will be available to the candidate.

D2I is a cross-campus effort initiated by the UCSD School of Engineering (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), the UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It is led by Professor David G. Victor and Professor George Tynan.

Interested and qualified applicants should send their CV, cover letter and a research statement to