PhD Sustainable Energy Technologies and Strategies Joint Doctorate (SETS EMJD)

Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid

Application deadline: Deadline is expired. see provider site for further updates
Tuition fee:
  • € 7,200 / Year (EEA)
  • € 7,200 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 48 months
Partnership: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
Project type: Predefined
Educational Form: Academic , Professional

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The Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Sustainable Energy Technologies and Strategies (SETS) is an international programme offered by six of the most renowned universities in this field of knowledge.

The doctorate copes with the challenge to lead the technological transition required by todays world, where a compromise must be reached between energy and sustainability. Some of the research topics of the programme are future energy networks, regulation and economics of energy systems in future European scenarios and sustainable development.

SETS Joint Doctorate is the only Ph.D. programme on energy and sustainability awarded the Erasmus Mundus excellence label by the European Commission. This excellence label has been granted only to twenty two international doctorates in all disciplines and Universities across Europe so far.

The general subject of SETS Joint Doctorate is sustainable energy, technologies and strategies. Research in this area will contribute to addressing the aforementioned European energy strategy needs, taking on the challenge of providing the same level of power while consuming less energy and reducing the dependence on fossil fuels.

Defeating this challenge will entail a renewed European joint effort with a new global approach to energy. The main goal is the education and training of a new generation of researchers and high-level professionals with the knowledge tools and research skills required to contend successfully with these challenges in an international and multidisciplinary research environment.

According to European strategic lines of research and the research interests of the HEIs and industrial partners, every academic year the consortium will define a set of priority lines of research, subject to the approval of the SETS PhD Supervision Board.

Learning outcomes

The core subject of the SETS joint degree is sustainable energy, a cross-sectoral vector, to which the programme adopts a technological and strategic approach, covering applications in a number of areas, from policy to industry, including services and even end consumers.

Students conduct their activities within research groups in projects closely associated with industry needs. As a result, the research findings meet social needs and contribute to student employability. Furthermore, companies, students and HEIs work together within the Supervision Board to better address programme objectives, monitor the quality and applicability of programme results and ensure optimal implementation of programme activities, in keeping with the needs of the industry and society.

Mobility is instrumental to the SETS PhD. Students are involved in different research projects at the HEIs, in which Europe- and world-wide industry participate. This provides them an overview of the energy industry that prepares them to deal with the global challenges facing European energy sector.

After completing the SETS doctorate, students should have developed the following competences and skills:

* a systematic understanding of the energy industry and related sustainability issues;

* a full mastery of the research skills and methods associated with technical, economic and regulatory approaches to the subject;

* the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt ground-breaking research with scholarly integrity;

* the ability to conduct original research that extends the frontier of knowledge by developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits international refereed publication;

* the ability to critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise new and complex ideas;

* the ability to communicate with peers, the larger scholarly community and society in general about their areas of expertise;

* the potential ability to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, economic or policy advancement in a knowledge based society.

Graduates achieving SETS aims will be in a position to initiate successful professional research careers in sustainable energy in higher education institutions, research bodies, the industry or policy-making institutions.


Structure and ContentsTraining and Research

The programme comprises training activities, research activities and mobility. To follow the program, each doctoral candidate is assigned to a research line (RL) with a supervisor and a specific mobility pathway. Tutors are also assigned to support supervisors when doctoral candidates are away of their home HEI (supervisor HEI). In order to take advantage of all the training and research opportunities of each HEI within the mobility pathways, both activities can be performed in parallel. Training activities consist in at least 60 ECTS credits regarding doctoral courses. All the training activities from doctorates of the HEIs within the consortium are eligible as SETS doctoral courses. Additionally, new courses could be created specifically for the SETS programme. Current training activities counting toward ECTS credits must be agreed between doctoral candidates and supervisors. Training activities must be scheduled to be completed before the end of the 3rd year. Nevertheless, in justified cased courses can be taken also during the 4th. The common language of instruction is English.

The doctoral research will be conducted within a research group of one the degree awarding universities (Comillas, TU Delft or KTH). Students will participate in their groups activities, which will include collaboration in a specific international project.

Following specific mobility pathways, students will perform their activities in different consortium countries. In this regard, all students will spend at least nine months in another university than their research group university and, in addition, students spending time in the country where they earned their preceding university degree will spend at least six months in a third university.

Courses overview

Training activities consist in at least 60 ECTS credits regarding doctoral courses. All the training activities from doctorates of the HEIs within the consortium are eligible as SETS doctoral courses. Additionally, new courses could be created specifically for the SETS programme. Current training activities counting toward ECTS credits must be agreed between doctoral candidates and supervisors. For the time being, the eligible doctoral courses can be selected from the following links:

* Doctorate Programme in Engineering Systems Modelling (Comillas)
* Doctorate Programme in Power Systems (Comillas)
* TUDelft study Guide
* KTH doctoral courses

Research Lines

The scope of this research lines include:

* Future energy networks: multi-energy carrier systems; security and reliability of energy systems; integration of renewables; integration of electric vehicles; demand side management; active networks; and de-centralized control.
* Regulation and economics of energy systems in future European scenarios: regulatory schemes for promoting energy transition, including new decision-tools for policy makers; regulatory incentives to promote energy efficiency; and new market designs.
* Sustainable development: definition and quantification of economic and sustainability indices for regional grids and microgrids; environmental life-cycle analysis; power system operations and design for sustainability; analysis of government policies designed to promote sustainability, including design and evaluation of international environmental agreements; monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulation.

Each HEI will contribute specifically to these lines of research depending on its expertise, under an interdisciplinary approach based on technology, economics and policy-making. The focus will be on the analysis of sustainable energy technologies and strategies (SETS) in place across the board, contributing to economic growth and sustainable development with the implementation of new approaches and technologies, as well as other research findings.


Admission Criteria

Candidate selection is responsibility of the SETS Joint Admission Committee in which all the consortium partners are represented.

This section describes the SETS selection procedure and candidate admission criteria.

Candidate selection

The selection procedure comprises a candidate selection and classification and the final selection of students, considering the preferences of the research line leaders. The procedure is arranged in the following steps:

The candidates submit their applications.

* Each candidate submits his/her application form and all the documentation that is required to comply with the admission criteria (see Admission Criteria section).

* Candidates must provide their preferences regarding, on the one hand, priority research lines and, on the order hand, reserve research lines. Each candidate can select and rank as many priority research lines and reserve research lines as they are interested in. At least one priority research line must be chosen.

* The Joint Admission Committee obtains the eligible candidate list.

* Candidates are selected and ranked in a short list (hereinafter eligible candidate list) according to the candidates evaluation criteria.

* The leaders of the research lines select their candidates from the eligible candidate list.

* Research project leaders select their candidates from the eligible candidate list. They can select and sort as many candidates as they are interested in.

* The Joint Admission Committee assigns the candidates to research lines

* The Joint Admission Committee sorts the research lines. Research lines will be ranked from the most demanded to the least demanded as first option by the eligible candidates, and so forth. In any case, priority research lines will be on top of the list.

* Finally, candidates are assigned to research lines according with the leaders preferences and the constrains regarding the number of Category A and B students. The assignment procedure will start with the highest ranked research line and will finish with the lowest ranked research line.

* The results are submitted to the Erasmus Mundus Executive Agency for final approval

* The final resolution is communicated to the candidates, whether if they are granted with the Erasmus Mundus Fellowship, if they are in the Reserve list, or if they are not selected.

Admission criteria

The selection criteria are defined in keeping with the admission requirements in place in the HEIs awarding the joint degree, while at the same time considering the differences in students university systems of origin. The criteria cover previous studies and language skills.

Previous studies

The criteria on previous studies include:

* Candidates must have earned the equivalent of 300 ECTS credits, including at least 60 in a masters degree or equivalent.

* Candidates must hold a degree in engineering.

Student selection will be based on an evaluation of their academic studies, among others. In this regard, the consortium will require students to submit a transcript. The minimum admission requirements will be a masters (or equivalent) grade point average (GPA) of at least 75 % of the highest grade and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores of at least 450 in verbal reasoning, 4.1 in analytical writing skills, and 700 in quantitative reasoning.

Language skills

Verification of applicants language skills is believed to be of cardinal importance. Students must prove that they have a sufficient command of the English language. They will therefore be required to pass the DIALANG European test (which is free of charge. Students last university will be asked to organize the examination, to ensure it is held under controlled conditions.

All this requires is a network connection and a professor able to verify applicants identity and the test scores. Where the test cannot be organised at applicants last university, the consortium will make arrangements for them to write the exam at their embassy or consulate. The consortium has established level B2 as the minimum for admission. Students may forego this exam if they submit official proof of a similar level of command of the language, for instance: English Proficiency Certificate, a minimum score of 6.5 IELTS or 80 IBT TOEFL (or equivalent).

IMPORTANT: The Joint Admissions Committee will decide whether deviation from one or more of the above selection criteria is justified on a case-by-case basis. Exceptional circumstances may result in conditional admission, in which case final admission and enrolment will be subject to meeting the condition(s).

Erasmus Mundus Fellowship constraints

Eligibility constraints

* Individual EMJD fellowships are awarded exclusively for full-time enrolment in one of the doctoral programmes.

* Individuals who have already benefited from an EMJD fellowship are not eligible for a second grant.

* Doctoral candidates benefiting from an EMJD fellowship cannot benefit from other Community grants while carrying out their Erasmus Mundus doctoral activities.

* Only candidates who have applied to and have been accepted by an EMJD consortium in accordance with its specific doctoral candidates application and selection criteria are eligible for a fellowship.

* Candidates can not apply to more than 3 EMJD the same year.

Doctoral candidates holding an Erasmus Mundus fellowship must:

* Commit to participate in the doctoral programme in accordance with the terms defined by the consortium in the Doctoral candidate agreement. Failure to do so could lead to the cancellation of the fellowship;

* Perform their training/research periods in at least two different countries represented in the consortium; for Category B fellowship holders, these two countries must be different from the country in which the doctoral candidate has obtained his/her last university degree;

* Spend most of the doctorate period in the European countries represented in the consortium or among the associated partners. However, if the EMJD consortium includes Third-Country partners and/or associated members:

* Category A fellowship holders can spend a training/research/ fieldwork period of a maximum duration of one semester (or 6 months, cumulative or consecutive) in these countries; periods in excess of this duration may not be covered by the EMJD fellowship;

* Category B fellowship holders can spend up to one year (cumulative or consecutive) of their doctorate activities in these countries; periods in excess of this duration may not be covered by the EMJD fellowship.

Without prejudice to high academic standards, in order to ensure geographical diversity among the doctoral candidates, no more than two doctoral candidates with the same nationality should be awarded an EMJD fellowship. If consortia wish to diverge from this criterion, prior permission to do so must be obtained from the Agency.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5
TOEFL paper-based test score : 550
TOEFL iBT® test: 80



SETS Joint Doctorate was awarded in 2009 with the Erasmus Mundus excellence label by the European Commission. This excellence label has been granted only to 22 doctorates and 126 Masters in all disciplines and Universities across Europe so far.


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