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Assessment of key technologies for the digitalization of Smart Grid solutions for Smart Cities

The Institute for Research in Technology (IIT) is a center within the ICAI School of Engineering at Comillas Pontifical University. Its main aim is to promote research and training among postgraduate students in different technological fields by means of participating in specific projects of interest for the Industry and the Administration.

The new European Commission President’s moon-shot ambition for Europe to become the "first climate-neutral continent" by 2050 sets the pace for an unprecedented mobilization of resources (financial, human, and technological). This new ‘European Green Deal’ agenda implies that the €260bn of additional annual investment needed to achieve the current 2030 climate and energy target represent only a fraction of the ultimate required investment. With cities expected to host 80% of Europeans by 2050, and representing 60-80% of the global energy consumption and CO2 emissions, it becomes clear where the focus of interventions is mostly needed.

The EU H2020 project RESPONSE (integRatEd Solutions for POsitive eNergy and reSilient CitiEs) aims indeed to support two Lighthouse Cities and six Fellow Cities across Europe in delivering positive energy blocks and districts. To be more precise, the project aims to achieve and demonstrate a local RES (Renewable Energy Systems) penetration of 11.2 GWh/y, energy savings of 3,090 MWh/y and an emission reduction of 9, 799 tons CO2 eq/y within the districts of the two Lighthouse cities. In order to achieve this goal, RESPONSE adopts an energy transition strategy, which includes 5 TAs (Transformation Axes), encompassing 10 ISs (Integrated Solutions). TA#1 focuses on transforming existing and new building stock into Energy Positive and Smart-ready. TA#2 focuses on the decarbonization of the electricity grid and the district heating/cooling systems, supporting fossil-based regions in transition and the development of energy communities. TA#3 proposes grid flexibility strategies and novel storage systems for optimizing energy flows, maximize self-consumption, and reduce grid stress. TA#4 links existing CIPs (City Information Platforms) with apps and other digital infrastructure to enable digitalisation of services and connected city ecosystems, integrating also smart e-Mobility to promote the decarbonisation of the mobility sector. TA#5 offers interdisciplinary citizen engagement and co-creation practices putting citizen at the forefront of shaping the cities they live in and towards the development of each city’s 2050 own bold city-vision. Special focus is given to creating resilient and safe cities increasing quality of life and lowering the impacts of climate change.

We are looking for a brilliant and motivated PhD student to pursue the doctoral thesis within the scope of the EU H2020 project RESPONSE (integRatEd Solutions for POsitive eNergy and reSilient CitiEs). The main contributions of the thesis will be along the lines of analysing the role and impact (benefits and costs) of certain key technologies for the digitalization of Smart Grids for Smart Cities (e.g., connectivity technologies and cybersecurity), analysing the scalability and replicability of specific solutions of Smart Grids for Smart Cities, and investigate methodologies and tools to translate the main findings of such analysis into recommendations for adapting future regulation to such novel scenarios.


- MSc on Electrical Engineering or Computer Science or a related field
- Good knowledge of Smart Grids for power distribution
- Good knowledge of Information and Communication Technologies for Smart Grids
- Outstanding analytical skills
- Excellent spoken and written English


- Carrying out top-notch research in a multidisciplinary environment within the scope of the EU H2020 project RESPONSE
- Working in a friendly and dynamic environment in the Institute for Research in Technology of Comillas Pontifical University, located right at the heart of Madrid
- Enjoying the unrivalled quality of life of the Madrid region
- An attractive 5-years contract starting by October 2020
- The initial salary amounts to 24216,62 € (gross) the first year. The PhD will take 5 years, where the contract is renewed yearly.


Curriculum vitae, academic record, cover letter, and two recommendation letters.


Dr. Gregorio López (,
Dr. Javier Matanza (,
Dr. Rafael Cossent ( )

Application deadline: 30th September 2020*

*Excellent applicants who expect to complete the MSc Thesis after the deadline are also welcome to apply detailing the situation (and expected delivery date) in the motivation letter.