Lab Openings


We are looking for a staff research associate to join a project aligning China’s market reforms with carbon neutrality. See the job announcement for more information.


We are looking for one or more research assistants to join a new project on India-China clean energy trade. See the job announcement for more information.

We are looking for one or more research assistants to join team modeling China’s power grid. See the job announcement for more information.

PhD and MS

We are recruiting PhD students to join the lab. Please include in your inquiry (mrdavidson AT

  • CV and transcript(s)
  • Research interests (the team’s research areas are a good start to see what we do, but we are also interested in what you want to do)
  • If you are a fellowship recipient with funding

Qualified MS students for these positions may also send an inquiry.


We are hiring for one or more postdocs to support open modeling of decarbonization in China. See the job announcement for more information.

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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The MAE PhD curriculum consists of a set of courses in a “major” specialization (4) and a “minor” specialization (2), forming the basis of our qualifying exams. Much leeway is granted to the student, in discussion with their committee, in terms of how these courses are put together. Course descriptions can be found here: MAE, ECE, MATH, and GPS. Some courses that students in energy systems have taken include:

  • Energy systems:
  • Policy:
    • GPPS 428. Politics of Energy and Environmental Regulation
  • Optimization:
    • MATH 271A-B-C. Numerical Optimization
    • ECE 273. Convex Optimization and Applications
  • Numerical methods:
    • MAE 280A-B. Linear Systems Theory, Linear Control Design
    • MAE 290A–B. Numerical Methods for Linear Algebra, ODE Simulation, and Differential Equations
  • Related courses:
    • MAE 254. Energy Materials and Applications
    • MAE 256. Radiative Transfer for Energy Applications

Students who already have funding or are actively seeking external funding are encouraged to contact me. For resources on potential funding opportunities, please visit UCSD Graduate Division, NSF GRFP, International Students Office, and this resource for international students. All prospective students should consult the admissions page for deadline and application information.


Advising on relevant thesis research and other research opportunities for course credit are available to MAE M.S. students.


Undergraduates in MAE or across the school of engineering may inquire about participating in a research project. A minimum time commitment and high degree of motivation are required. Research can be for course credit, stipend, or hourly pay depending on the student’s preference and funding availability.

Desired programming language competencies: python, R, and/or julia

School of Global Policy & Strategy

Masters degrees

GPS offers a variety of masters degrees. The admissions office will be better prepared to answer questions on the differences among the programs. A limited number of research assistantships may become available for GPS masters students on an ad-hoc basis.

Interested students are highly encouraged to take relevant energy policy courses, including:

  • GPPS 428 (Winter, Davidson). Politics of Energy and Environmental Regulation
  • GPPA 472 (Fall, Martin). Latin American Environmental and Energy Policy
  • GPPS 473 (Fall, Herberg). Political Economy of Energy in Asia
  • GPPS 490 (Winter, Davidson). Energy and Environmental Policy in Asia

For life tips on a career in energy policy, Dan Kammen’s website is a good start.

Joint Ph.D. in Political Science and International Affairs

The Department of Political Science and GPS offer a joint Ph.D. in Political Science and International Affairs. This prepares students for careers in political science, including a core curriculum shared with the political science Ph.D. degree.

Power and Energy Systems @ UCSD

The Power and Energy Systems Group @ UCSD is designed to integrate power and energy systems research/programs and enhance the community of power and energy systems researchers on campus. We facilitate collaborations among students and faculty across departments/centers, provide feedback to students’ work through biweekly meetings, and provide graduate student career mentoring.

Course schedules

The UCSD Schedule of Classes is somewhat difficult to navigate, so here is a set of “quickview” scripts to find out when classes are typically taught and what your favorite profs are teaching: ucsd-class-schedule-quickview

Other Opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellows

We are always interested in recruiting talented postdocs from different disciplines. Interested applicants should consult the UCSD Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for appointment information, and the Office of Foundation Relations, the National Academies, and this resource for funding opportunities.

The University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is a competitive program that offers fellowships, professional development and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at UC. Applications are due November 1.

If you would like to be considered for future funded opportunities, you may contact Prof. Davidson with your interests and expected graduation date.

Science Policy Fellows Program

Prof. Davidson is a faculty mentor with the Science Policy Fellows Program, operated out of GPS. Ph.D. candidates in engineering, medicine, or at Scripps, may apply to be paired with a mentor to work on a policy project related to the student’s doctoral research. This generally involves meeting a few times per quarter and comes with a small stipend, e.g., to attend a conference outside of the student’s primary academic discipline.