Post-doctoral Research Associate in Societal Transitions

Job summary

We look forward to welcoming a new team member to the newly established Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions. The new Centre will enable a fundamental and applied research programme to be established where Imperial and Hitachi will collaborate on selected research projects, reports and white papers on the challenges and technologies in reaching net zero, as well as potential scenarios that could arise when...

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT01435
  • Date posted 10 May 2023
  • Closing date 11 June 2023

Job description

Job summary

We look forward to welcoming a new team member to the newly established Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions. The new Centre will enable a fundamental and applied research programme to be established where Imperial and Hitachi will collaborate on selected research projects, reports and white papers on the challenges and technologies in reaching net zero, as well as potential scenarios that could arise when the world reaches net zero. Bringing together world-leading scientists and innovators in decarbonisation that will work across disciplines, it will cover a variety of fields from engineering and systems thinking to economics, new business models and policy making. Together, these efforts will aim to develop new technology and solutions to the climate emergency. It will carry out research and prepare reports and white papers on the technologies needed to achieve net zero and will help train the next generation of net-zero scientists and engineers.

We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to become part of our team and implement one of the first projects of the Hitachi and Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions. The aim of this project is to provide an integrated vision of possible future low-carbon transformations, and the role different sectors and technologies play in these.

You will use literature review techniques and public databases of low-carbon transformation scenarios to identify a set of scenarios that describe different transitions in major drivers of environmental impact, such as mobility, energy, food, etc. The review will start from existing global pathways assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In a next phase, you will translate the global insights from these pathways into implications on more granular scales, such as single countries or sectors. It is envisioned that the research will select both a developed and developing geographical region for this next phase. The desired level of detail will be determined through an iterative consultation within the project team and the stakeholders at Imperial and Hitachi.

The outcome of this highly collaborative project is to stimulate an on-going exchange of ideas and insights between Hitachi and Imperial College, and to provide a framework through which the contributions and importance for the low-carbon transition of more targeted, technical projects can be understood.

You will be an active member of the thriving academic community at Imperial College and the Centre for Environmental Policy, with opportunities to participate in seminars, receive targeted training, and engage with MSc and PhD students.

You will also be part of a dynamic, international, and interdisciplinary team. Your role will entail working collaboratively with the project team from across Imperial College and from Hitachi; this will involve bridging perspectives from multiple fields.

Duties and responsibilities

Key responsibilities of this role are to describe several integrated visions of how society might transform to a zero-carbon economy; this includes:

  • To review the peer-reviewed literature on integrated assessment modelling (IAM) scenarios
  • To access and use tools to extract information available in public scenario databases such as those accompanying the Working Group III Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • To analyse macro-trends in IAM scenarios, their potential variations when assuming different socioeconomic futures (e.g., different Shared Socioeconomic Pathways) and translate these to implications at the sector, technology and country level, based on specialized literature
  • To collaborate with the project team at Imperial and Hitachi to understand key areas of interest that would benefit from further analysis
  • To lead on writing project reports and preparing results for dissemination via presentations and seminars. This includes developing schematics and visuals
  • To keep up to date with the societal transformation and scenario literature

The research associate will also be expected to be an active team member, which includes:

  • To contribute to the timely production of project outcomes
  • To assist with the drafting and preparation of manuscript for submission to refereed journals
  • To assist with the presentation of research findings to colleagues
  • To attend relevant workshops, project or other meetings as necessary
  • To develop contacts and collaborations within the College and the wider community
  • To promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College

Essential requirements

  • A PhD or equivalent professional qualification in an area relevant to integrated assessment, energy system modelling, societal transformations or climate economics

  • Excellent knowledge of low-carbon transformation scenarios, their underlying drivers, and the broader scenario literature

  • Knowledge of concepts of technological and societal change 

  • Excellent computer skills, including familiarity with public integrated assessment modelling scenario database resources.

  • Ability to synthesize evidence and a broad, complex literature

  • Creative approach to problem-solving, and ability to understand, develop and apply new concepts

  • Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write clearly for publication

  • Ability to work independently with limited supervision

  • Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines

  • Service oriented mindset working towards the project’s overall success

  • Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role

  • Ability to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative

  • Flexible approach towards work

  • Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security at all times

Further information

This is a contract position for 18 months. For any queries about the role, please reach out to Prof Joeri Rogelj (

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £38,194 - £41,388 per annum.

The College is currently trialling a Work Location Framework until early 2023.  Hybrid working may be considered for this role and the role holder may be expected to work 60% or more of their time onsite, with 40% the minimum time spent onsite. The opportunity for hybrid working will be discussed at interview.

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.


About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to follow the Imperial Values & Behaviours framework. Our values are: 

  • Respect              
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence          
  • Integrity
  • Innovation

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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