USA Ireland Collaborative REsearch of Decentralization, ElectrificatioN, Communications and Economics (CREDENCE)

  • USA Ireland Collaborative REsearch of Decentralization, ElectrificatioN, Communications and Economics (CREDENCE)
US-IRELAND Research & Development Partnership Studentship 2017

Proposed Project Title:

  • USA Ireland Collaborative REsearch of Decentralization, ElectrificatioN, Communications and Economics (CREDENCE)

Principal Supervisor(s):
  • Prof. D John Morrow, Dr Aoife M. Foley and Dr David Laverty

Project Description:

CREDENCE is a US-IRELAND Centre to Centre Research & Development Partnership, which is a collaborative project funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department for the Economy (DfE) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The partners include the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster in School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) in Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), the SFI Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Centre that is lead by University College Cork (UCC) and collaborates with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin and, the NSF funded FREEDM Systems Center based at the Keystone Science Center of North Carolina State University (NCSU) with partners universities in Arizona State University, Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Missouri University of Science and Technology. 

The goals and objectives of CREDENCE are to:

  • Develop the communication standards for devices to be integrated into devices and systems that will be relied upon for carbon reduction from the energy system.
  • Assess the impact of the trends of electrification and decentralization on the power system and discover whether there are optimum levels of decentralization and electrification in order to achieve certain carbon reduction goals, driving appropriate policy strategies.
  • Understand and develop the socio-economic mechanisms for migrating to those optimal levels of electrification and decentralization successfully.

Three PhD studentships are available in the following areas:

  • Project A : Decentralised Communication for Distributed Energy Resources
  • Project B: Distributed Energy Resource Network Location Monitoring
  • Project C: Power System Dynamics with Increasing Distributed Generation Penetrations

Three PhD studentships will form an integral part of the research work packages delivered collaboratively by EPIC at QUB, MaREI & ESRI at UCC and FREEDM at NCSU. This will provide an unprecedented opportunity to work closely with colleagues in the USA and Ireland, as well as interact with the industrial partners such as ABB, Eaton, Duke Energy, Schneider, Ford, Toshiba, NYPA, EirGrid, AES, SONI, Centrica, BAE Systems, Siemens, Schneider Electric, GE, SSE, ESB and many more.

The PhD candidates based at Queen’s University Belfast and will be expected to spend a period of time in the FREEDM Systems Centre in North Carolina State University (NCSU) and/or the SFI MaREI Centre in UCC, attend CREDENCE project meetings and International, European and National conferences.


The three projects have the following specific objectives:

Project A: Decentralised Communication for Distributed Energy Resources

This project will examine the communication requirements of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) (throughput, latency, reliability) and the extent to which this may or may not be delivered by existing communication technologies and where appropriate, design a new communication model for DERs which adds scalability and resilience and other evolving application specific requirements necessary to deliver carbon reduction from the energy supply system. A key aspect of the work will be demonstration of the implementation using network simulation tools (e.g. NRL Core) to verify that the application requirements are being delivered by devising test scenarios to show telecoms operating under load, stress and cyber-threat scenarios.


Project B: Distributed Energy Resource Network Location Monitoring

This project will examine methods to identify the location of an appliance on the electrical network (i.e. the circuit / phase to which it is connected) by passive and active means.  Time synchronised measurements will be employed to identify correlations between application consumption and the load at distribution transformers.  A key aspect of this work will be the development of a simulation model which will allow various methods of signalling to be considered under a range of load scenarios.


Project C: Power System Dynamics with Increasing Distributed Generation Penetrations

This project will undertake a dynamic simulation of the single wholesale electricity market (SEM) of the

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to examine the impacts of increased distributed generation (DG) penetration. The SEM will be analysed under different levels of variable renewable generation, DG penetration and future load scenarios to determine transient, dynamic and stability constraints and limits in order to inform operational and market decisions in terms of short, medium and long term generation expansion planning.

Additionally, each project will require:

  • Publication and attendance at National / European and International conferences
  • Publication in leading IEEE/IET journals
  • Attendance at and reporting to regular project meetings
  • Use of simulation environments, including DIgSILENT, AURORAxmp, MATLAB, NRL CORE, etc., as appropriate to project.

Academic Requirements:

A minimum 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in Electrical and Electronic Engineering or relevant degree (e.g. Computer Science, Engineering, and/or Mathematics/Physics) is essential. A strong mathematical background is also highly desirable, in addition to a keen interest and career aspirations in power systems and energy systems. Potential candidates should also demonstrate strong programming skills in MATLAB, CPLEX, Python or other similar.

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English must produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score. For a list of English Language qualifications accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

General Information:

These 3 year PhD studentships, funded by the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfE) under the US-Ireland R & D Partnership Programme, provide approved full tuition fees (two International & one UK/EU) and a maintenance grant of approximately £14,000 p.a. The successful applicant must be available to take up post by 30th June 2017.

Applicants must apply electronically through the Queen’s online application portal at:

Further information available at:

Contact details:

Supervisor Name: Prof. D John Morrow, Dr Aoife M. Foley & Dr David Laverty

Queens University of Belfast
School of EEECS,
Ashby Building,
Stranmillis Road,

Email:,, &
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4060/4492/4651

For further information on Research Area click on link below: