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Research Studentship in the Electricity System Impacts of Non-Physical Energy Trading

Research Studentship in the Electricity System Impacts of Non-Physical Energy Trading

Project: The Electricity System Impacts of Non-Physical Energy Trading

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship 

Supervisors: Prof Thomas Morstyn

The aim of the project will be to investigate the impacts of non-physical energy trading on carbon emissions and consumer bills in Great Britain (GB). Non-physical energy traders buy and sell energy at different times across multiple markets without themselves producing or consuming any physical energy. In theory, non-physical trading can play an important role in electricity markets by increasing market liquidity, lowering volatility, reducing balancing costs and allowing asset owners to hedge price risk. However, there has been limited research on the actual impacts of non-physical energy trading, particularly in the context of the net-zero transition and the energy price crisis. The project will explore the externalities of non-physical energy trading in the current GB electricity system and its role within future net-zero market designs. The project is supported by Outlook Energy, an independently owned short-term non-physical electricity trading company based in Bristol. Outlook Energy specialises in short-term trading of the GB continuous power market; primarily trading in anticipation of surpluses or shortfalls of electricity generation relative to demand. The studentship will be based at the University of Oxford and will involve close collaboration with Outlook Energy including visits to their offices in Bristol. Outlook Energy is committed to supporting the research in delivering independent findings.


This studentship is open to Home and Overseas students (full award – home fees plus stipend).

Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for Home students. The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is the UKRI minimum stipend. 

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first-class honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics or another relevant field.
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills.
  • Programming using languages such as Python, MATLAB, R or Julia.

The following skills are desirable but not essential:ß

  • Experience with energy market and/or power systems modelling.
  • Experience with optimisation, game theory and/or machine learning.
  • Relevant industry and/or research experience.

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Thomas Morstyn (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria.  Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 24ENGEL_TM in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: noon on 4th April 2024

Start date: October 2024