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Advancing Sustainable Energy Systems and Universal Access (electricity, heat and clean cooking) business models, sustainability, regulatory and financial mechanisms in developing and emerging countries

Research grant for graduates in business, economics, or engineering willing to analyze the enabling integrated distribution framework to accelerate and scale up universal energy access in developing countries.
Significant progress towards universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services (Sustainable Development Goal 7) requires stakeholders to be incentivized to act in ways that collectively expand access and improve service reliability. The Instituto de Investigación Tecnológica, together with the MIT Energy Initiative, collaborate in the Universal Energy Access Laboratory (UEA Lab) research team, which aims at defining a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework that incentivizes good performance and attracts investment into low-access countries’ energy sectors.
The aim of this Research Assistant position (Investigador en Formación), which may lead to pursuing a PhD Thesis, is to identify and evaluate sustainable energy access technologies and business models (off-grid standalone systems, mini-grids off-grid and grid-connected, alongside grid extension), the sustainable regulatory and institutional framework, the sources of capital and financial mechanisms necessary for the development of projects and large-scale sustainable programs for power supply, modern heat and clean cooking.
The candidate will develop plans and models for the effective and efficient evolution of energy access implementation strategies, and qualitative and quantitatively will assess the implementation of national integrated electrification and clean cooking plans developed in many countries by the UEA Lab and Waya Energy (the start-up created by members of the UEA Lab to accelerate the research group’s support for companies, governments, regulators, large investors, development financial institutions, customers, investors, mini-grid developers, and solar kit providers in developing countries).
The student shall have access to relevant decision makers in IberoAmerica, Africa and Asia, allowing access to data to quantitatively assess key research issues on business, financial and regulatory approaches proposed within the research project.
This topic is very timely and will remain so in the African regulatory community for years to come. The end of this research line is, therefore, open.

Activities, duties and responsibilities:

• Getting familiar with the situation of energy access to electricity, heat and clean cooking in Africa, Asia and America, and the relevant literature on business models and financial mechanisms, including their institutional setting, and their regulation. A thorough literature review is to be conducted on these topics.
• Collaboration in the expansion of the conceptual integrated distribution framework, both for access to electricity, and to heat and clean cooking.
• Application of this framework to the strategies developed in ongoing projects in different countries.
• Quantitative financial analysis of the integrated business models for electricity, heating, and cooking.
• Collaborate in fieldwork, interaction with the stakeholders, including distribution companies and practitioners in developing countries, and beneficiaries' communities.
• Drafting of the research reports and scientific articles to be published throughout the thesis project.

What do we offer?

Full-time annual contract to initiate the research, which might later lead to a PhD, and its corresponding training activities. The selected person will be hired every year for a maximum period of 3 years. The gross salary for the first year is 24.410,00 € for the year 2022. In addition, the IIT covers 90% of the fees for the training activities and will have access to all the services offered by the University (Sports, Cultural Activities, Library, etc.).


Candidates should have a Master degree in business, economics, or engineering. Previous knowledge about the engineering, economics, policy and regulation of power and energy systems in developing countries will be highly appreciated. They should have a very good command of English, preferably with proven drafting ability. The remuneration to be earned by the assistant researcher is competitive, and the start of this PhD project is expected to be decided along the first two years of contract.

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