PhD scholarship in Carbon Emissions of Ships

Tuesday 24 Mar 20

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Apply no later than 1 May 2020
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DTU Management invites applications for a 3-year position as PhD student in the Operations Management Group. In the group, we focus on effective planning of resources and activities in production and service companies from the strategic to operational level. Particular attention is paid to quantitative methods, the use of information technology, and manufacturing philosophies such as Lean and Complexity Management. The Operations Management group covers a broad spectrum of industrial sectors, including maritime transport.

The PhD position is in Environmental Studies in the maritime sector with a focus on indicators for monitoring carbon emissions from ships. The existing indicators are either technical or operational in nature. Our objective with the project is to combine these approaches in order to develop an indicator that can effectively reflect all attributes of a ship’s energy efficiency. Emphasis will be placed on the effect of weather conditions on indicator values. We will also investigate the possibility of applying the devised indicator on a fleet of vessels in order to capture the network effect on ship performance and increase cost effectiveness in meeting the carbon reduction target set out by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Responsibilities and tasks
The overall objective of the PhD project will be to contribute to the policy debate on greening international shipping by developing a carbon intensity indicator that combines both technical and operational aspects of the energy efficiency of a ship. More specifically, you will be involved in analysing detailed technical and operational data of container ships in order to: 

  • estimate the effect of weather on fuel consumption;
  • design a weather-normalized indicator;
  • define typical operational cycles (in terms of cargo on board, speed, port time, etc.) for different ship sizes;
  • apply the normalized indicator on such typical cycles and assess its effectiveness as a ship benchmarking tool;
  • apply the indicator on a fleet of vessels to capture the network effect on ship performance; and
  • draw recommendations on investments and policy measures that meet the IMO targets at minimal cost for the ship operator/owner.
The application of the devised indicator on a fleet of vessels will initially cover the containership segment, where networks comprise a key operational feature. Other challenges include the handling of energy consumed by reefers, the need to reposition empty containers, etc. If successful, the concept can be applied easily to other segments of the shipping industry.

As a successful candidate, you will work in close collaboration with the supervisors, but will also be expected to carry out research tasks independently. In particular, you will be responsible for developing the methodological framework for the new indicator and analyzing the data provided by a leading Danish containership operator. 

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

A relevant background could be a degree in Naval architecture and marine engineering, Mechanical engineering, Industrial engineering or Mathematics and Computing. Good knowledge of and experience with statistics is a prerequisite. Knowledge/experience in programming and machine learning will be an advantage.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Assoc. Prof. Michael Barfod and Researcher George Panagakos.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

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Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assoc. Prof. Michael Bruhn Barfod, tel.: +45 4525 1540,
or Researcher George Panagakos, tel.: +45 4525 6514,

You can read more about DTU Management at   

Please submit your online application no later than 1 May 2020 (23:59 local time)
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • A short (1 page) research statement of how you would shape the project and how that matches your competences and qualifications
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Management conducts high-level research and teaching with a focus on sustainability, transport, innovation, and management science. Our goal is to create knowledge on the societal aspects of technology. We explore and create value in the areas of management science, innovation and design thinking, business analytics, systems and risk analyses, human behavior, regulation, and policy analysis. The department offers teaching from introductory to advanced courses/projects at BSc, MSc, and PhD level. The Department has a staff of approximately 350.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.