December 2, 2022

Doctoral Students Cross-Train to Advance Data-Driven Energy Solutions

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Sparkly 3D model of networked points. Text: Energy + Data? Are you a Ph.D. student interested in applying  data science techniques to energy challenges? Doctoral students at Duke, NC A&T, NC State,  UNC-CH, UNCC, and UNCG are invited to apply for the Summer '23 cohort of interdisciplinary  Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Student Fellows. Apply by 12/9/22: Logos for Nicholas Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

In summer 2023, doctoral students from institutions across North Carolina will take part in the fifth cohort of Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Student Fellows, a unique Duke-based program aimed at preparing energy and climate innovators to make an impact.

The program is designed to deepen doctoral students’ expertise in both data science and energy topics, spur impactful research, and create a network of North Carolina faculty and students interested in applying data science to energy challenges—goals closely aligned with the Duke Climate Commitment.

“Transforming energy systems for a sustainable future is an urgent imperative,” said Kyle Bradbury, director of Duke University’s Energy Data Analytics Lab. “Data analysis has an important role to play in informing decisions about the future of energy systems and accelerating the pace and scale of change. This program trains innovators who both understand the energy challenges and are skilled in applying data science techniques to advance systemic transformation.”  

Each Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Student Fellow conducts a relevant research project, working with faculty from multiple disciplines. Fellows receive 100% funding support for summer 2023 and up to $1,500 in funds for research and professional development.

Watch the Fellows Program in Action

Foundations for Energy Data Analytics: Want to deepen your own understanding of data science and energy topics—and how they intersect? “Sit in” on talks by energy and data experts.

Lightning Talks: Get 2021 fellows’ quick takes on their research projects.

The fellows take part in regular mentorship and training workshops to improve their understanding of energy systems and data science tools and practices as well as to enhance their skills at collaborating and communicating across disciplines.

"The fellows program is an incredible opportunity to engage with other talented students and experts in the fields of energy and data science,” said Alexander Yoshizumi, a North Carolina State University doctoral student in geospatial analytics whose summer 2022 research project focused on assessing electric vehicle infrastructure across emergency scenarios, including climate-induced disasters. “Being able to iteratively share progress and receive feedback from individuals from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds helped me not only to refine my research, but also identify the best ways to communicate that work to diverse audiences. The experts who lead the program have such a wealth of knowledge and guidance to share, and that is to say nothing of the fantastic guest speakers and lecturers that were able to join us."

The first four cohorts of fellows included Ph.D. students in civil and environmental engineering; computer science; earth and ocean sciences; electrical and computer engineering; environmental policy; parks, recreation, and tourism management; economics; geospatial analysis; city and regional planning; and mechanical engineering and materials science.

Fellows’ research projects have tackled diverse topics, including detection of energy infrastructure, assessment of novel energy materials’ performance, and identification of spatial patterns of energy poverty, to name just a few.

2022 EDA fellows
The Nicholas Institute hosted hybrid and on-campus workshop for the 2022 cohort. Pictured (left to right): Andrew Hutchens, Rixi Peng, Kshitiz Khanal, Alexander Yoshizumi, Trey Gowdy (Nicholas Institute), Kyle Bradbury (Nicholas Institute), and Jethro Ssengonzi. Not pictured: Bander Linjawi. Learn more about the 2022 fellows.

Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Student Fellows have collectively produced more than 20 journal or conference papers/presentations, 18 “lightning talk” video presentations (with more coming soon), and six code repositories and datasets. Former fellows are employed by top research institutions, public agencies, and companies, including the California Air Resources Board, Carnegie Institution for Science, Fudan University (China), Rocky Mountain Institute, and SenseTime.

Full-time Ph.D. students from all schools and departments at the following institutions are eligible to apply to the program: Duke University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The deadline for applications to join the 2023 cohort is Friday, December 9.

Supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the program is affiliated with the Energy Data Analytics Lab, a collaborative effort of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (which houses it), the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (Rhodes iiD), and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).

Questions? Contact Trey Gowdy, Research Analyst for the Energy Data Analytics Lab.