The InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate

Expanding collaboration between labs and markets.

The InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate is a new initiative established to further the objectives of the InnoEnergy PhD School.

What is an InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate?

An InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate is a joint doctoral training project that involves InnoEnergy, an academic participant and a company – whether that’s a major industrial player, a small specialist or an entrepreneurial start-up. It can also involve a local, regional, or national institution that is committed to promoting the Innovation Doctorate.

Innovation Doctorates are carried out by a PhD candidate who is employed by the company involved. The PhD candidate also has the opportunity to take part in the challenge-driven curriculum provided by the InnoEnergy PhD School, including:

  • Training courses in entrepreneurship, innovation, and business
  • International placements across Europe
  • Access to Europe’s largest energy-sector network

What kind of research do we support?

Our goal is to ensure the results of research can be turned into revenue-generating products or services that contribute to a more sustainable energy mix. To make this happen, we look for proposals for doctoral research from European companies of any size that:

  1. Wish to employ a PhD candidate to boost their own R&D or product development
  2. Is committed to working with an academic partner, such as a university or research centre.

Both the company and its academic partner should already be InnoEnergy partners, or wish to become a partner. We also want to hear from start-ups on InnoEnergy’s Business Creation Services Highway.


 What research areas are we interested in?

To create a more sustainable energy future, we believe the energy industry must become more diverse, with a broad range of new products, solutions and services to address the many different aspects of the energy challenge. We have eight thematic fields, which we believe will have the biggest impact on energy cost, market volumes, CO2 emissions, and network integration:

  • Clean coal and gas technologies
  • Energy from chemical fuels
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy storage
  • Nuclear instrumentation
  • Renewable energies
  • Smart electric grid
  • Smart and efficient buildings and cities

Each of these thematic fields has a number of Energy Challenges associated with it. We are looking for research proposals that will result in a dissertation that addresses at least one of these Energy Challenges.

 Full details of the selection criteria are here.


How do we choose projects to co-fund?

First of all we look for projects that we believe will make a valuable contribution to one or more of our energy challenges. We then assess the quality of the proposed research. We are looking for proposals with:

  • A clear description of what products or services would be enhanced by the research, and how they would benefit.
  • A realistic schedule with appropriate time allocated to the research.
  • A strong focus on innovation and technology transfer.

Finally, we look at the quality of the partnership between the company and the academic institution, including their respective inputs, levels of co-supervision, and agreements on managing and owning IP in the future.

Full details of the selection criteria are here.


What do we fund – and how much?

InnoEnergy will co-fund staffing costs for PhD candidate, including salary and other payroll costs such as social security contributions, as long as these costs are in line with the company’s standard compensation policies.

InnoEnergy co-funding comes to €20,000 a year over the duration of the project (a maximum of four years). Applicants are encouraged to apply to the local, regional or national institution to cover the remainder of the PhD candidate’s salary if necessary.

InnoEnergy also funds candidates’ participation in all PhD School activities, including training courses, the annual conference, and other agreed activities. We also financially support the development of Europe-wide connections through international placements that we require all candidates to undertake.


What results do we expect?

At the end of the project, under the PhD candidate’s lead, the company must write and submit a detailed proposal to create an InnoEnergy Innovation Project.

If selected, InnoEnergy will support the project, and enable all participants to build on the results of the research – and accelerate the time to market for the resulting product or service.

Our longer-term ambition is to develop:

PhD graduates with

  • Engineering, innovation, business and the personal skills that the energy industry needs
  • In-depth understanding of how energy businesses are started and run
  • Hands-on experience of innovation management at every stage from lab to market
  • Appreciation of the value of entrepreneurial thinking, even in the largest companies
  • A multi-national perspective and access to a pan-European professional network of academics, researchers and industry professionals

Research labs, universities and supervisors with

  • Greater capacity for innovation and technology transition
  • Strengthened international research partnerships
  • Marketable, revenue-generating products and services
  • Enhanced reputation for turning research into successful innovation

Start-ups, niche players and large companies with

  • Ability to attract highly-competent energy researchers
  • Increased innovation capacity and competitive advantage
  • Entrepreneurially minded research staff who combine high levels of expertise with deep market knowledge
  • A reputation for successful and exciting product development