Contract Post-doctoral

[clos] Post-doctoral position

Application details

Position : Junior Researcher Starting date: september 2018 Contract duration: 2 years
Rate of activity: 100 %

Location: Pacte Social Sciences Research Center, Grenoble, France Application deadline: 17.07.2018


Context of the research

The Energy Research Groups of the French National Alliances2 ANCRE and ATHENA have been interacting for three years in order to promote interdisciplinary (workshops, research projects), share their research agendas and target emerging topics in the field of the energy transition. This collaboration aims at supporting interdisciplinary initiatives at the crossroad of social sciences, economics and engineering.

ANCRE and Athena are funding a three-year post-doctoral position as part of a joint research project entitled: «Conditions for a sustainable development of new energy technologies : geothermal energy and underground heat/cold storage »

The project aims at:

• learning from the emerging sector of geothermal energy and its increasing links to new technologies for underground heat / cold storage, and better understanding their joint development and related challenges ;

2 ANCRE : French National Alliance for the Research on Energy ( ; ATHENA : French National Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities ( Since 2009, the Alliances gathers the mains National Public Research Institutions to define research priorities in relation with the French Ministry of Research.

• reframing the issue of « social acceptability » - often misunderstood when approached as end of the pipe barrier to technological development. An expected outcome of the project is to propose a reproducible interdisciplinary analytical framework for further joint-Alliances surveys. Such a framework should pay greater attention to the processes, actors and networks which underlie the emergence and development of new technologies.



Post-doctoral position for 24 months, from September 2018.



Doctoral degree in geography, sociology, land planning, environmental studies, anthropology, environmental history, political sciences. Prior experience with social science concepts and methods in relation to energy policies (especially the sectors of geothermal energy and storage in the underground), their local implementation and an ability to analyse technological issues are a plus.


Description of responsibilities

The post-doc will be responsible for carrying out the study till its full achievement, in dialogue with the steering committee. He / she will hold a full research position (100 %) on the study.

The post-doc will :
i/ undertake an inventory of technologies in use (geothermal, heat/cold storage and joint uses),
ii/ undertake a state of the scientific literature in relation to these technologies (energy policies, juridical, environmental, governance, public participation ...),
iii/ undertake a comparative, qualitative analysis of related national energy policies and of the issues related to their implementation.
iv/ undertake a set of about ten case studies (geothermal/ heat-cold storage projects)in France and Europe. Case studies will include a survey of the relevant international scientific literature, fieldwork (semi-structured interviews), and a comparative analysis along different criteria (implementation of energy policies, governance, number and types of projects, strengths and weaknesses)
v/ develop, on this basis, an innovative analytical framework to support a sustainable development of geothermal energy / underground heat/cold storage.
vi/ propose guidelines to industrials, policy makers and the Alliances, to support a sustainable development of geothermal energy / storage (of heat / cooling) in the underground.


Skills required

Good command of written and spoken English.

Ability to work independently (manage relations with large array of actors such as industrialists, engineers, local elected representatives, civil servants, inhabitants ; organise

and undertake fieldwork sessions [schedules, appointments and trips...] ; plan and organise the methodological and practical advancement of the survey).

Ability to lead a qualitative survey (qualitative methods from social sciences, semi-structured interviews, analysis of the implementation of local project, analysis of national and international public policies...).

Ability to engage with interdisciplinary analysis (analysis of technical, juridical, economical, environmental documents and issues... ; elaboration of a multidimensional questioning ; ability to communicate with industrial actors)


Location / Research Center

The Post-doctoral researcher will be hosted by Pacte Social Sciences Research Center, in Grenoble, France.

Pacte Social Sciences Research Center gathers 120 researchers, 150 Phd students and 25 research engineers. Its members are committed to building common languages and horizontal knowledge on the changes underway in society, and their political, territorial, sociological and ecological implications. See the website : https://www.pacte-

The Post-doctoral researcher will be part of the Environments research group at Pacte. This team gathers 36 researchers and pdh students (principally coming from geography and land planning, and also philosophy, anthropology, sociology and economy). Research are engaged in different fields such as climate change, biodiversity, natural hazards, landscapes and energy. In this last field, several researchers work on the relations between the underground, the soil and the land.

The Post-doctoral researcher will be supervised for the daily work by Olivier Labussière (Pacte, Grenoble) and Alain Nadaï (CIRED, Paris). Regular discussions will also be organized with the others members of the steering committee of the research project : Sylvie Gentier (French Geological Survey - BRGM), Florence Delprat-Jannaud (French Research Institute IFPEN), Elisabeth Le Net (French Research Institue CEA-ITESE on the technical and economical aspects of energy systems).


Salary rate

Salary (annual gross) : 31.561 €. The position is proposed for a young researcher (less than two years of research experience after the Phd) (salary rate defined by the French National Centre for Scientific Research - CNRS)


Applications documents

  1. Motivation letter;

  2. Curriculum Vitae;

  3. Copy of university degree certificates and transcripts of marks awarded;

4. Copy of the Phd thesis and publication list (max 3);
5. Additional significant documents / references to show the interest of the application.



The application documents should be sent by e-mail to Olivier Labussière, Alain Nadaï,

Informal inquiries before application are strongly recommended.

Researchers involved: 

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