PhD - Understanding the Drivers of Policy Change: The Case of Renewable Energy Policy

ETH Zurich - Energy Politics Group (EPG)

The Energy Politics Group (EPG) within the Department of Humanities, Social, and Political Sciences of ETH Zurich investigates questions related to the governance of technological change in the energy sector. To support our team we are hiring a PhD student to work on the topic of:

Understanding the Drivers of Policy Change: The Case of Renewable Energy Policy

Research field and tasks
Policy designs and policy mix dynamics at various governance levels are strongly linked to the innovation and diffusion of new technologies in the energy sector. EPG has received a substantial grant to investigate the co-evolution of policy change and technology change in the energy sector. To support our team in analyzing this co-evolution, we expect the successful candidate to conduct research towards a PhD (i.e. a cumulative PhD thesis) on renewable energy policy dynamics, drivers of policy change and policy effectiveness – all against the backdrop of technological change in the energy sector. Relevant disciplinary fields include: political science, public policy, comparative environmental politics and governance studies, innovation studies with a policy focus. Interdisciplinary candidates are welcome. You should be dedicated to scientifically rigorous work that at the same time is relevant to policy makers. A solid knowledge of qualitative and especially quantitative methods, knowledge of policy analysis (esp. approaches to studying policy change) and familiarity with data analysis is required. Knowledge of energy technologies would be considered a bonus. At EPG, candidates will have the opportunity to contribute to the group’s research agenda and are encouraged to co-advise master’s students.

You hold a Master in one of the above mentioned disciplines or a related social science; candidates currently completing their Master’s program can apply if their thesis is already submitted. You have a strong motivation for academic research. Your excellent academic record underlines your potential to publish in top-ranked journals in the fields of public policy/political science, energy/environmental policy, and innovation policy. Your working style is team-oriented and you have strong communication skills. You are highly proficient in English; German is not necessary, but is considered an additional asset.

We offer an entrepreneurial research atmosphere within a dynamic team at continental Europe’s leading university. EPG is a member of the Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) of ETH and University of Zurich, a cooperation between two leading departments of political science and one of the leading political science research centers in Europe. As a member of ETH’s Energy Science Center and contributor to ETH’s newly founded Institute of Science, Technology, and Policy (ISTP), our group benefits from frequent interactions with leading scholars in other energy policy-related fields. Furthermore, we collaborate with other national and international academic and policy institutions (e.g., Stanford, Yale, and UNDP). We are centrally located in Zurich and the annual salary is highly competitive. Your PhD will be conducted in CIS’s doctoral program ( and is expected to be completed within 3.5 years.

Your application:
Please apply via ETH Zurich’s application management system at where you also find more details on the required application documents.

At you can find more information about the group. The review of applications will start immediately – please send your application as soon as possible. The position will remain open until filled. If you have any further questions please contact Dr. Sebastian Sewerin (

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role: