Challenge-driven projects

Teaching on the MSc SELECT programme is characterised by two challenge-driven projects. In a team with your fellow students, you apply your knowledge and skills to real-life projects that are set by one of our industry partners. Challenges are designed to give you unique insight into the very real challenges of future energy markets and systems as well as their potential solutions. All challenges have a strong societal focus: they have a clear commercial interest and benefit, and often involve inter-continental collaboration.

Year 1: Project of the Year (PoY)

During your first semester, one of our industry partners will set you a real-life challenge to work on. This is your chance to work in a small, independent team with your fellow students and to develop your own solution to the challenge. You can call on all the resources available to you through your university staff and our industry partners. As part of your project you will also take part in on-site visits to the facilities of our industry partners.

The projects give you the opportunity to:

  • Solve problems with all the characteristics and complexity of those typically found in businesses and/or NGOs working in sustainable energy
  • Acquire essential facts and techniques that will be invaluable for your future experience once you have graduated from the programme
  • Build a solid foundation of knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the role they play in developing market-oriented products and services
  • Realise innovative ideas by developing a technically sound pre-design and preliminary business plan.

You can call on our industry partners as well as teaching staff at your university for information and guidance throughout the project. At the end of the first semester, all teams present the results of their work, and the best solution overall is selected. In the second semester, all first-year students work together on the chosen solution.

Year 2: Integrated Project of the Year (IPoY)

During the second year, you continue to explore the role of innovation in sustainable energy. You will find your own project from subjects recommended by your professors. Alternatively, you can continue the project you worked on in your first year.

Integrated Projects of the Year can be anything from small-scale but fundamental innovations to studies of regional or even global systems. You form your own multi-national team of six to eight students, assign specific roles, and work on creating a proposal for a viable new product or service in one of the following fields:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy in transport
  • Energy storage

Working on the integrated project in your second year will:

  1. Advance your technical, engineering and scientific knowledge in a specific area of sustainable energy
  2. Build your experience of working effectively in large project teams and getting the best out of each team member’s skills, experiences and resources
  3. Enhance your ability to communicate results in writing and verbally to a range of stakeholders in the project
  4. Boost your project management and project reporting skills in line with EU standards
  5. Increase your understanding of the process of developing project proposals
  6. Further your experience of combining engineering analysis of product or service design with business feasibility


Recent projects undertaken by MSc SELECT students include:

  1. Demand Side Management

The energy transition requires a much more flexible electricity grid that can adapt to greater use of renewable energy sources. This is a strategic planning project to tap into demand-response potential in the residential sector and to boost the use of renewables in the energy mix.  Students are exploring the flexible consumption potential in a variety of domestic appliances, in order to realize the potential value in residential demand. Working closely with the programme’s industry partners, students are developing and testing a prototype to assess the feasibility of:

  • Hardware that could control residential electric appliances remotely to balance the grid
  • Business models that offer benefits to end users, TSOs and the environment
  • Market entry and customer engagement strategy.
  1. Sustainability and Cement in Haiti

In collaboration with Cementos Argos, an international cement production company, students are looking at viable ways of replacing aging, fossil-fuelled plant in Haiti, and connecting it the country’s grid. The long-term goal is to both reduce the cost of operations and to develop a far more sustainable facility. With information and technical support from Argos, students are analysing the economic, environmental and social aspects of alternative energy systems. The end goal is a viable proposal for a new energy system solution that covers power-purchase agreements (PPA) and identifies energy-efficiency measures for cement production. #ipoyargoshaiti

  1. Energy Autonomy in Albena, Bulgaria

Albena is a hotel city on the coast of the Black Sea, and an ideal site for greater integration of sustainable energy systems to power its summer and winter tourist seasons. The aim of this project is to convert Albena into a more sustainable resort through the creation of innovative business models that encompass energy islanding, smart-grid systems and year-long operations. Working with the technical support of Albena AD, the local system operator, students are identifying feasible targets and devising strategies to encourage energy autonomy and smart operations throughout the town.


“I consider this project one of the greatest experiences of my life. Something totally unique and completely different from any type of learning I’ve experienced before. I always wanted to contribute in developing countries, using my knowledge as an engineer… I feel that, with my team, I am a part of a possible change and improvement.”

Luigi Ghiani, MSc SELECT student