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School of Mathematical Sciences

Dr Benjamin Schaefer


Marie Curie Research Fellow

Room Number: Mathematical Sciences Building, Room: MB-202


Dr Benjamin Schaefer is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow working on the DAMOSET project: "With data-driven modelling towards a successful energy transition". A key goal is to collect recordings of the power grid frequency and hosten an open data base. Furthermore, he is analyzing time series of various real-world systems and applying stochastic modelling to better understand the energy system.


Curriculum Vitae

Professional experience


Since June 2019

Marie-Skłodowska-Curie fellow on “With data-driven modelling towards a successful energy transition” at Queen Mary, University of London


Post-Doc, supervising PhD students, planning and overseeing experimental validation of previous theoretical results; continuous research on stochastic systems, at TU Dresden, Germany


PhD student at Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation (MPIDS) & Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany

June – August 2016

Visiting scientist at University of Tokyo, Japan (with Kazuyuki Aihara)

January – March 2016

Visiting scientist at Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom (with Vito Latora)



2014 - 2017

PhD thesis Self-Organized Dynamics of Power Grids: Smart Grids, Fluctuations and Cascades
Grade: Summa cum laude (with highest honors)

2008 – 2014


Studied physics at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany, Conducted Diploma thesis (equivalent to Master’s thesis) at MPIDS, Göttingen, Germany

Awards and Scholarships


From October 2020

Fellowship of the Young ZiF (Center for interdisciplinary Research)

April 2019

Won Research fellowship by German Research Foundation (DFG), about

70 000€, turned down for Marie-Skłodowska-Curie fellowship

February 2019-May 2021

Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship DAMOSET, about 213 000€

October 2018

Travel grant for IEEE ISGT conference by German Academic Exchange Service

May 2018

Finalist for Deutscher Studienpreis, an award for an excellent and relevant PhD thesis (within Top 10 of approx. 200 applicants)

December 2014 - June 2017

Excellence PhD fellowship, about 50 000€ by GGNB, Göttingen

June – August 2016

Summer stipend by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

November 2015

Won stipend by German Academic Exchange Service, turned down for funding by DFG stipend

May 2014

Best Diploma Degree in Magdeburg in Physics 2014

April 2012 – May 2014

Scholarship of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation: funds top 0.5% German students)

Voluntary activities 


Since 2019

Public communication of science in schools and to the general public as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) ambassador

Since 2015

Reviewer activity for Nature Energy, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, New Journal of Physics, Chaos, Physica A, EPL, Chaos, Solitons and Fractals and IEEE conference proceedings


Research Interests:

Data science

Stochastic Systems

Partial differential equations (such as Fokker-Planck equation)




Recent highlights:
Dynamically induced cascading failures in power grids
B Schäfer, D Witthaut, M Timme, V Latora
Nature communications 9 (1), 1975 (2018)

Non-Gaussian power grid frequency fluctuations characterized by Lévy-stable laws and superstatistics
B Schäfer, C Beck, K Aihara, D Witthaut, M Timme
Nature Energy 3 (2), 119 (2018)