Smart-BEEjS (Human-Centric Energy Districts: Smart Value Generation by Building Efficiency and Energy Justice for Sustainable Living) is a Horizon2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network - project. It encompasses a consortium of 8 universities and research centres, supported by 16 non-academic entities, in the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. 15 PhD researchers will be working towards a PhD degree in the field of Positive Energy Districs (PEDs) that can generate local decentralised and innovative energy ecosystems, placing the consumer at its centre. The EU has used the Strategic Energy Technology Plan to transfer power to consumers (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/set-plan_progress_2016.pdf), by decentralising the energy ecosystem to the local district-level. One of the targets of the plan is to establish “100 positive energy districts by 2025 (baseline 2015) and 80% of electricity consumption to be managed by consumers in 4 out of 5 households”. In particular, PEDs are local developments and networks of homes, workplaces and traffic systems which, together, generate more energy than is consumed.
The PhD positions are funded for a three years period and are supported by a supervisory. The project will train the 15 students using an innovative doctoral training programme that incorporates deep training in their individual subjects, with the ability to understand and engage with the needs of citizens and communities, the needs and opportunities available from scientists in different disciplines. In addition, they will have the opportunity to work through a collaborative research programme with those who produce the technologies necessary for PEDs, and work with the policymakers who can facilitate these new and exciting opportunities to generate new knowledge, influence and promote the development of PEDs.