As Austria's largest research and technology organisation for applied research, we are dedicated to make substantial contributions to solving the major challenges of our time, climate change and digitisation. To achieve our goals, we rely on our specific research, development and technology competencies, which are the basis of our commitment to excellence in all areas. With our open culture of innovation and our motivated, international teams, we are working to position AIT as Austria's leading research institution at the highest international level and to make a positive contribution to the economy and society. 


Our Center for Energy located in Vienna invites applications for a PhD Thesis position. At the Center for Energy our research unit Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems closely works with industrial partners in for design optimisation and operation improvement of heating/cooling systems of buildings including controls, as well as development of HVAC technologies, namely compression heat pumps for gas boiler replacement, and innovative liquid desiccant dehydration.  


In order to achieve AIT’s goal of providing innovative and sustainable solutions to combat climate change, we have launched a PhD cooperation with Sweden's largest technical university. Hereby, you can apply for a PhD degree at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, ranked 34 in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. 


Throughout your PhD thesis you will work together with AIT and KTH on the collaborative research programme HEAPNOSYS - HEAt Pumps as the driver of iNtelligent energy SYStems. The research programme aims at fostering innovation in the building heating sector by addressing the significant challenges ahead through highly-intertwined PhD and postdoctoral research projects. The project focuses on the exploration of innovative methods to provide digital services for a heat pump system, one of the most promising technologies for decarbonisation of heating sector in Europe. The services in the project particularly target heating installers and service personnel, who play a pivotal role in decision making, installation, operation and maintenance of heat pump systems. The project uses an interdisciplinary and holistic approach through combining physical understanding of the system with data-driven methods and immersive learning principles.


In cooperation with KTH Royal Institute of Technology

  • For this specific position you work together with an interdisciplinary team from AIT and KTH.
  • During this PhD project, a digital twin will be developed for heat pumps to assist both installers and service personnel for safe, efficient, and fault-free installation, operation, and maintenance of heat pump (HP) systems.
  • The PhD work investigates how multiple sources of data and information, from lab measurement to monitoring system and digital twins of the system, can be integrated using a systematic approach.
  • The innovative approach, which is to be developed, combines physics informed machine learning, augmented reality, smart fault detection and diagnosis methods to provide educational support and innovative service to millions of new heat pump installations in Europe.
  • Within this PhD framework programme, you will have the opportunity to get a training in scientific work and to develop both personally and professionally.
  • You will engage in independent scientific planning, execution and evaluation of studies, scientific preparation of results and publish your research results at conferences and in international journals.
  • You benefit from a highly innovative environment in the field of sustainable thermal energy systems.

Your qualifications as an Ingenious Partner:

  • Completed master’s studies (MSc.) in energy engineering, mechanical engineering, process engineering, physics or a similar field
  • Adequate knowledge in heat transfer and thermodynamics
  • Knowledge in energy system modelling and simulation, as well as experimental analysis
  • High commitment and ability to work in a team as well as willingness to show interest for related topics
  • Interested in reading and writing scientific publications and enjoy application-oriented questions from industry
  • Very good English skills (spoken & written, equivalent to English B/6) are mandatory; Preferably, also German skills.



  • Duration of the PhD project: 4 years
  • Start date: ideally 1st, July 2024
  • While working in Vienna as part of our AIT research team “Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems” you will have your own AIT supervisor.
  • To obtain the PhD degree at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, you will additionally be supervised (remotely) by Assoc. Prof. Hatef Madani, Head of Division of Applied Thermodynamics.
  • You will travel to KTH at least once a year for courses and trainings and of course to share ideas and discuss your research study with your academic supervisors and fellow-researchers.

What to expect: 

EUR 37.577,40 gross per year, for 30 h / week for a three-year PhD contract. In addition to numerous events, seminars, networking opportunities and additional company benefits, you will be part of our AIT PhD community with around 150 international students. As a research institution, we are familiar with the supervision and execution of PhD theses, and we are looking forward to supporting you accordingly! 


At AIT diversity and inclusion are of great importance. This is why we strive to inspire women to join our teams in the field of technology. We welcome applications from women, who will be given preference in case of equal qualifications after taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances of all applications. 

Please submit your documents including your CV, cover letter (ideally one page, including a brief introduction of yourself, an explanation how your previous studies and experience have prepared you for this PhD position, and a motivation why you are interested in this specific position) and your certificates (Transcript of records) online.

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

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Location: Austria, Vienna
Categories: energy engineering, Mechanical Engineering, PhD, Physics, Process Engineering,


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