PhD position Power System Dynamic Modelling, Stability and Defense against Cascading Failures caused by Cyber Attacks

Updated: 23 days ago
Deadline: 24 Mar 2024

Digital twin for power system stability and resilience to cascading failures from Control Room of the Future.

TwinEU project, funded under Horizon Europe, is recruiting talented, enthusiastic, and ambitious PhD candidates to perform excellent research and achieve breakthroughs in the field of digital twins for power systems. The strategic goal of TwinEU is to leverage a unique set of competences from grid and market operators, technology providers and research centres to create a concept of Pan-European digital twin based on the federation of local digital twins and enable a reliable, resilient, and safe operation of the infrastructure while facilitating new business models that will accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources in Europe. The vision of TwinEU is to enable new technologies to foster an advanced concept of digital twining while determining the conditions for interoperability, data and model exchanges through standard interfaces and open APIs to external actors. The envisioned digital twin will build the capability to observe, test and activate a pan-European digital replica of the European energy infrastructure. Demonstrators will encompass key players at every level from transmission to distribution and market operators, while also testing the coordinated cross-area data exchange.

Within the TwinEU project, TU Delft is hiring a doctoral candidate on the subject: "Power system dynamic modelling, stability and defense against cascading failures caused by cyber attacks". In this PhD, you will contribute to the development of a digital twin of the European power grid and subsequently develop methods to increase the stability and resilience of the power grid. The proposed methods will enable power grid self-healing capabilities for preventing / stopping cascading failures.

Hence, the candidate is expected to posses a strong background in power system analysis and stability, modelling and simulation.

You will conduct research on (I) dynamic power system modelling to create a digital twin, (II) impact of disturbances like cyber attacks (at the physical power system layer) on power system stability that can cause cascading failures, and (III) development of self-healing capabilities of power grids to stop the propagation of cascading effects and prevent a blackout. First, a computational method will be developed, which uses a digital twin of the power grid to assess the impact of cyber attacks on power system stability and analyse how they can initiate cascading failures that may lead to a blackout. Then, you will develop a method using Wide Area Monitoring Systems (WAMS), AI and/or computational intelligence to enable self-healing grid capabilities and stop propagation of cascading failures. This will be achieved by a novel system for coordinated, self-healing emergency controls using Wide Area Monitoring, Protection and Control (WAMPAC), grid forming, and artificial intelligence / computational intelligence techniques. The digital twin and methods will be demonstrated in an state-of-the art experimental environment using our large RTDS infrastructure coupled with a dedicated digital substation and Control Room of the Future (CRoF).

We offer four-year PhD appointments, with an anticipated start date in July / August 2024.

You will be a member of the section Intelligent Electrical Power Grids, in Electrical Sustainable Energy (ESE) Department, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science.

Essential job requirements:

  • Demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary and intersectoral research, and specifically the interface between power systems, information and communication technologies, and cyber security.
  • Completed a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in a highly quantitative and analytical discipline (electrical engineering with an emphasis on power systems, applied mathematics, and/or computer science).
  • Excellent academic record (grades of B or higher).
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Very good command of English. The minimum requirement of a TOEFL overall band score of 100 (with scores of at least 21 for all sections) or IELTS overall band score of 7.0 (with scores of at least 6.5 for all sections: writing, reading, listening, speaking) applies to all candidates wanting to pursue a PhD at TU Delft.
  • Ability to read and critically analyse power systems / computer science / mathematics papers.
  • Strong knowledge of power system modelling, operation, stability and control.
  • Strong knowledge of mathematics including differential algebraic equations, discrete systems, and probability theory and statistics.
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated, and eager to learn.
  • You are keen to work with industry partners to link real-world challenges to fundamental research questions.
  • Demonstrable experience with computer modelling and simulation.
  • You enjoy programming and hold your code to a high standard.


  • Knowledge of computer networking and cyber security.
  • Experience with Python and machine learning libraries.
  • Experience with collaborative software development (e.g. open source).

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme  for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three scientific disciplines. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we all use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make completely sustainable and future-proof. At the same time, we are developing the chips and sensors of the future, whilst also setting the foundations for the software technologies to run on this new generation of equipment – which of course includes AI. Meanwhile we are pushing the limits of applied mathematics, for example mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. In other words: there is plenty of room at the faculty for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1000 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

About the department

The research in ESE Department is inspired by the technical, scientific, and societal challenges originating from the transition towards a more sustainable society and focuses on four areas:

  • DC Systems, Energy Conversion and Storage
  • Photovoltaic Materials and Devices
  • Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG)
  • High Voltage Technologies

IEPG group, headed by Professor Peter Palensky, works on the future of our power system. The goal is to generate, transmit and use electrical energy in a highly reliable, efficient, stable, clean, affordable, and safe way.

You will be jointly supervised by Dr. Alex Stefanov (Assistant Professor, daily supervisor) and Prof. Peter Palensky (head of IEPG group). You will join the Cyber Resilient Power Grids (CRPG) team led by Dr. Alex Stefanov that conducts research on cyber security and resilience of power grids.

You will benefit from extensive training in technical and transferrable skills. You will be expected to assist in teaching activities (student supervision, labs) related to your subject area.

You will have access to excellent research facilities including the RTDS infrastructure, digital substation, cyber-physical system simulators, Control Room of the Future (CRoF) and a cyber range.

The anticipated PhD start date is between 1 July 2024 and 1 August 2024.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Alex Stefanov ([email protected]).

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before March 24, 2024.

The applications for this post should be submitted through the application button in the recruitment system.

Please submit: (1) Application letter addressed to Dr. Alex Stefanov that explains your personal motivation in pursuing a PhD and fit to the job requirements, (2) curriculum vitae (CV) with a list of (academic and/or industry) references that we can contact, and (3) qualification evidence including MSc and BSc degrees and transcripts.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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