Alumni from Space, Earth and Environment

The PhD students at Space, Earth and Environment study space, the atmosphere and the Earth, energy technology and systems, as well as sustainable development in transport, energy and consumption.

Here you can read about what some of those who have received a doctorate have recently studied – and what they thought of their time as PhD students.

Jinxi Yang: Simulating investment decisions in electricity

"Our model helped identify potential opportunities to accelerate the low-carbon transition"

Jinxi Yang, at the division of Physical Resource Theory, defended her thesis on November 10, 2023. It is about developing a model that simulates investment decisions within the electricity sector. The model called HAPPI, (Heterogeneous Agent-based Power Plant Investment Model), can help identify potential opportunities to accelerate the low-carbon transition.

"I chose this topic because transitioning to a carbon-neutral electricity system is critical for meeting our climate goals. There's still a significant investment gap in required investments in achieving the goals, and my research aimed to provide insights into bridging this gap".

Read Jinxi's thesis: "Exploring the Transition to a Low-Carbon Electricity System — Using Agent-Based Modeling".

Iskra Georgieva
Iskra Georgieva

Iskra Georgieva: "The quest for exoplanets"

"To me, exoplanets are the best of two worlds – mysterious, yet tangible”.

Iskra Georgieva, at the division of Astronomy and Plasma Physics, defended her doctoral thesis on June 16, 2023. Her research is about methods for identifying and characterising exoplanet. We are living in an exciting time for exoplanet research, according to Iskra. 

“We keep discovering more and more of these mysterious planets. We can’t go there with the technology and physics we have today, they are not within our reach even if we travel for several lifetimes, we can’t really see what they look like. They inspire many questions, not least ‘Could there be life there?’”

Read Iskra's avhandling: "A Cosmic Quest for New Worlds. Characterising Exoplanet Signals via Radial Velocity and Transit Photometry.".

Alla Toktarova
Alla Toktarova

Alla Toktarova: Electrification of industry

"I have been focusing on the decarbonization for the basic materials industry"

Alla Toktarova, Energy Technology, defended her doctoral thesis "Electrification of the basic materials industry – Implications for the electricity system" on May 8, 2023. According to Alla's models electrification of the basic material industry (steel, cement, plastics and etc.) will increase the electricity demand in the EU by around 44 per cent.

How would you describe your PhD journey in general?

"Fast and furious with a lot of ups and downs. Would I repeat this journey, definitely no. Was it worth it, definitely yes."

Read Alla's thesis: "Electrification of the basic materials industry – Implications for the electricity system".

Andri Spilker
Andri Spilker

Andri Spilker: Star formation in the Milky Way

"Understanding star formation is part of understanding our cosmic origins"

Andri Spilker at Astronomy and Plasma Physics, has studied star formation during her PhD studies, describing how the properties of the star forming gas changes with scale, time and viewing angle. She defended her thesis March 31, 2023.

– The most rewarding part of my PhD journey has been to present and discuss science at conferences and with the public. I have worked with science communication and outreach for Onsala space observatory, and have enjoyed talking to scientists and the public about the Universe.

Read Andri's thesis: Bird's eye view of star formation in the local Milky Way - How perspective changes with scale, time and viewing angle

Emil Fransson
Emil Fransson

Emil Fransson: Fusion Energy

"All the benefits of nuclear fission but none of the drawbacks"

Emil Fransson, PhD Student at Astronomy and Plasma Physics, has worked on improving computer simulations of how particles move and collide in a fusion reactor. He defended his doctoral thesis on April 12, 2023.

Read Emil's thesis: Turbulent transport in Tokamak Plasmas: linear-, quasi-linear and non-linear simulations

Ahmet Mandev
Ahmet Mandev

Ahmet Mandev: Electrification of personal transport

"PHEVs can play an important role in decarbonizing the transport sector"

Ahmet Mandev at Physical Resource Theory defends his thesis "The Role of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Electrifying Personal Transport" on June 8. He has studied plug-in hybrid electrical vechicles (PHEV) which are described in very different ways in the public debate - as wolves in sheep’s clothing or a "gateway drug" into the world of electric vehicles.

Read Ahmet's thesis: The Role of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Electrifying Personal Transport

Christian Langner
Christian Langner

Christian Langner: Process design in chemical industry

"Process design can be very challenging, in particular when uncertain parameters are present"

Christian Langner, Energy Technology, defended his doctoral thesis "Advances in optimal design and retrofit of chemical processes with uncertain parameters: Applications in design of heat exchanger networks", on June 12. His thesis deals with the challenges of process design in the chemical industry, with the presence of uncertain parametres. .

Any advice to new PhD Students?

Don’t get locked in, especially in the beginning! Try to look around, talk to different people especially from other research groups and maybe try to find more senior PhD students who work on topics which interest you, and which in the best case but not necessarily (!!) also share similarities with your topic(s). Maybe you can collaborate with such a PhD student, for example by contributing to a paper.

Read Christian's thesis: Advances in optimal design and retrofit of chemical processes with uncertain parameters: Applications in design of heat exchanger networks.

Ivana Staničić
Ivana Staničić

Ivana Staničić: Reducing emission from combustion

"Chemical looping technologies play a vital role in reducing emissions"

Den 15 juni 2023 disputerade Ivana Staničić med avhandlingen "Chemical Transformation of Inorganic Species in Thermochemical Conversion of Waste-Derived Fuels - The Role of Oxygen Carriers". During her time as a PhD student, she has studied the technology chemical looping combustion in detail. A technology that can potentially lower the costs of carbon dioxide capture and reduce energy use – which overall increases the possibility of achieving so-called negative emissions.

The most rewarding part of my Ph.D. journey has been to find solutions to complex challenges. I've learned a lot during these years, but not only that. This journey has sparked numerous collaborations, making this journey truly fulfilling.

Read Ivana's thesis here