PhD scholarship in Wind Turbine Sound Controversies

Monday 25 Jan 21

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Apply no later than 8 March 2021
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In the Section for Society, Market and Policy (SMP) at DTU Wind Energy, we are now seeking a candidate for the PhD project on Contested technification of the green transition: the case of wind turbine sound”. If you want to establish a career as a social scientist that contributes to the green transition of society and develop competences within the scholarly field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), we offer a vibrant and inspiring research community for you to fulfill your ambitions.

The PhD project is part of the research project “Controversies in the green transition: The case of wind turbine sound and its politicisation (Co-Green) which has acquired funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark. You will become part of a dynamic group of social science researchers from DTU Wind Energy (SMP Section) and DTU Management (Responsible Technology Section) who collaborate on the project.

Today, the standard response to the challenges of the green transition is to implement primarily technological solutions and thus to distill complex challenges down to a one-dimensional perspective of ‘technification’ of the green transition. The overall aim of the Co-Green project is to offer a better understanding of the reasons for contestation in the process of renewable energy deployment, by making use of the case of wind energy and the sound that wind turbines produce. This matter is overwhelmingly seen as a technical and regulatory issue, while broader perspectives of sound are overlooked, causing controversy. In the project, we inquire into how sound has become constituted as a controversial issue of noise, investigating its entanglements with broader societal matters of concern. By understanding sound in a more holistic manner, we hypothesise that controversies in the green transition are better ameliorated.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The PhD project is part of a subproject on the ‘dynamics of politicisation’ of wind turbine sound that plays a substantial role in the Co-Green project. As the doctoral candidate, you will investigate how multiple forms of knowledge and different actors’ perspectives on sound play out in six case studies of specific wind farm developments and whether controversy ensued.

The objective of the PhD project is thus to produce knowledge on how and in what situations sound becomes constituted as ‘noise’ that is then resisted by local residents. Focus will be on tracing the role and collision of people’s different perspectives on sound, and how spaces for dialogue between a technical and regulatory understanding of sound and other forms of knowledge are facilitated (or not) through the regulatory planning process.

Besides this your tasks may include teaching and supervising Masters students and participation in outreach and dissemination activities of the department commensurate with research at PhD level.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

The master's degree should be in a social science related field, preferably science- and technology studies (STS) and we expect that you have experience with qualitative research methods (ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews, etc.). Since empirical data production is expected to be conducted in Danish, proficiency in a Scandinavian language is considered an advantage.

In addition to the above, the following further qualifications will be considered in the assessment

  • Strong background and interest in sustainable energy
  • Excellent communication skills, both in writing and oral presentation
  • Open-minded team player, able to work in multidisciplinary and multinational teams
  • A longer-term interest in pursuing a research career

The SMP section is part of the Wind Energy Systems Division at DTU’s Department for Wind Energy. We work towards a sustainable and just energy system and perform multi-disciplinary social science research in the technological, economic and societal nexus of wind energy. We use qualitative and quantitative methods, empirical data, interviews, case studies, financial modelling, socio-economic and policy analysis to study wind energy project development, environmental impacts, social interactions, markets, policy, and industry processes.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by a committee consisting of Researcher and Principal Investigator Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, Researcher Sophie Nyborg and Head of Section Lena Kitzing.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Employment is planned to start no later than June 2021.

Further information
Further information including the project description may be obtained from Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, DTU Wind Energy, Section for Society, Market and Policy, + 45, 93 51 14 31,

You can read more about DTU Wind Energy at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

The workplace is in Roskilde. 

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 8 March 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • A short PhD project proposal (maximum 3 pages plus references) describing the research objective, theoretical framework and intended methodological approach.

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

About DTU Wind Energy
At DTU Wind Energy we put knowledge to work. The department is one of the largest public research organizations for wind energy in the world with 250 staff members. We educate and train the next generation of wind power engineers. We collaborate with global leaders in the wind industries and public authorities around the world to research and develop new technologies and services to power the green transition.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.