The 7th of December, 2018 was not your usual Friday at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. While the representatives of the United Nations met to discuss actions to prevent climate change at the COP24 in Katowice, students of the KIC Clean Fossil and Alternative Fuels Energy programme organised their own event targeting the same issues. On that day, the 6th edition of the Environmental Protection and Energy Conference (EPAE2018) took place with many ambitious and passionate people from different universities and institutions present to share their research, knowledge and ideas regarding the energy sector’s current issues.
Preparing for Future Careers
The EPAE Conference is an annual event organised by students as part of their Project Management course. It’s another excellent example of the ‘learn by doing’ and ‘project-based learning’ educational methods implemented by KIC InnoEnergy Master’s School to give truly hands-on experiences. During the project, the standard corporate hierarchy was established to provide students with a chance to operate in a real-life situation. At the top, executive board members (the professors) regularly checked progress and challenged their subordinates. A student project manager was chosen, who created teams and assigned team leaders. Participant D. Hasterok said, “It was a great experience that helped me to understand better how important communication and leadership skills are.” This realistic setting demonstrated to participants how everyone is responsible for the project success, and gave them the opportunity to improve teamwork skills. Student P. Dygas shared, “It gave me the opportunity to experience teamwork in an international environment, which will be very valuable in the future.”
This year’s EPAE Conference was a huge success, especially in terms of numbers. More than 250 attended, with 128 delivering presentations – breaking all previous records! Participant M. Alvarez explained, “It was the perfect opportunity to have a taste of what it means to prepare for and present at a conference, adding huge value to my CV and my desire to continue presenting my work at other conferences”. The wide range of attendees included students from Poland, visiting students (ERASMUS, KIC, etc.), PhD students, researchers, professors from various universities, and important industry reps. Special guests included representatives from the Gliwice-based company Suez, that deals with waste management and promotes the growing concept of a circular economy.
Inspirational Content and Idea Sharing
Many remarkable and motivating speeches were given including Professors Pikoń and Szlęk’s words of inspiration, Ms Edyta Urbaniak-Konik’s (Suez) engaging speech on “Circular economy – Innovation or Trend”, and a great presentation by KIC Clean Fossil and Alternative Fuels Energy alumnus Yasha Dave. After this fantastic start, the presentations took place (delivered in Polish and English) addressing pressing environmental and energy issues. As the day drew to a close, the extraordinary part began – the expert’s panel on circular economy. This year’s experts were people representing three different environments: the academic community (a student), the scientific community (Prof. Krzysztof Pikoń) and industry (Ms Katarzyna Granat from Suez). The panel sparked very provocative ideas and opinions, leading us to a closing ceremony of heartfelt thanks and awards for the best presentations – given to the sound of thunderous applause.
This event was a perfect example of what can be achieved when young and ambitious students from different countries work together. As Shahmir Nosherwani described it, “The success of the conference is a testament that the young scientists are ready to be a part of the change involved in building a green and sustainable future – and not taking this planet for granted.” This was the biggest edition of EPAE Conference so far, and attendees left with hearts full of hope and motivation to make next year’s edition even greater!
The Clean Fossils programme has been re-designed into Master’s in Energy Transition. For its first running year, all students admitted into Energy Transition programme will be offered an exclusive scholarship in a form of tuition fee waiver (worth €7.000 per year). To benefit from the offer, please submit your application online before the 22 February deadline.