InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate 2017



InnoEnergy is committed to lowering costs, increasing safety, and reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions across the energy value chain. We feel strongly that academic researchers and industrial R&D professionals must work together to come up with the innovative solutions needed to reach these goals.

The InnoEnergy PhD School was established to educate a new generation of professionals entering the sustainable energy sector.  We inculcate our PhD candidates with the values and know-how they will need to build bridges between research and industry and catalyse the transfer of new knowledge and technologies from lab to industry.

The second round of InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Projects, an initiative established to further the objectives of the InnoEnergy PhD School, is now open for submissions.

1. About InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Projects

An InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Project is a joint doctoral training project involving InnoEnergy, a company, an academic participant (university, research organization, etc.) and, optionally, a local, regional, or national institution committed to promoting the Industrial Doctorate.

Innovation Doctorate Projects are carried out by a PhD candidate employed by the company.

The PhD candidate pursues his or her research training with a university during the project. The project must result in a PhD dissertation addressing at least one of the InnoEnergy Energy Challenges.

To cover the whole PhD candidate’s salary, the applicants (company / lab) are encouraged to apply to the local, regional or national institution if any since both programmes pursue similar objectives at two different scales and will benefit from each other. However it is not mandatory.

In addition to their home university’s PhD programme, the PhD candidate will benefit from the challenge-driven curriculum provided by the InnoEnergy PhD School:

  • Training in entrepreneurship, innovative , and business
  • Support for mobility within Europe
  • Access to Europe’s largest energy-sector network

Upon completion of the InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate and the PhD dissertation, the PhD candidate will have acquired all the skills and knowledge required to steer the project partners to constitute the relevant consortium in order to submit an Innovation Project to InnoEnergy.

2. Benefits of InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Projects

For universities, research organizations, and PhD dissertation supervisors

  • Boost your institution’s or lab’s capacity for innovation by having a PhD candidate assigned to an innovation – and entrepreneurship-focused project.
  • Help your institution build and strengthen international research partnerships through access to our pan-European network.
  • Transform the results of your institution’s research into marketable, revenue-generating products and services.
  • Build on the results of your Innovation Doctorate Project by applying to InnoEnergy Investment Round with a well prepared Innovation Project.

For companies

  • Attract highly-competent energy researchers to your company to increase your innovative capacity and competitive advantage.
  • Recruit top talents combining a high level of expertise with deep market knowledge.
  • Harness the unique skillset of entrepreneurially-minded research staff to bring new products and services to market.
  • Build on the results of your Innovation Doctorate Project by applying to InnoEnergy Investment Round with a well prepared Innovation Project.

For PhD candidates

  • Develop an innovative – and entrepreneurship-driven mind set.
  • Acquire hands-on innovative experience at all stages from lab to manufacturing plant.
  • Learn how energy businesses are started and run.
  • Stay one step ahead of the market when developing new products and services.
  • Get a multinational perspective through European mobility support.
  • Build a pan-European professional network spanning academia and industry.

3. Eligibility

Project proposals must come from a two-member team consisting of a company and an academic participant (university, research organization, etc.) committed to working together on a topic that addresses the InnoEnergy Energy Challenges.

Both the company and the academic participant must already be (or committed to become) either an InnoEnergy formal, associate, or project partner.

4. Requirements


First, the company and the academic participant must identify and submit to InnoEnergy a topic for their project. Then, once the topic has been selected for an InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Project:

  • The company must recruit the PhD candidate within one year maximum after being selected. InnoEnergy must be involved in the recruitment process.
  • A project agreement must be signed between InnoEnergy and the company.
  • The preferred project duration is three years and must not exceed four years.
  • A collaboration agreement must be signed between the company and the academic participant.
  • The PhD candidate must enrol in the InnoEnergy PhD School.
  • If a local, regional, or national institution is co-funding the project *, the company and the academic partners must make sure that they also meet any eligibility criteria that may apply.
  • At the end of the project, under the PhD candidate’s lead, the company must submit a proposal for an InnoEnergy Innovation Project. If selected, the project will be funded by InnoEnergy.


* To date, two programmes are compatible with the InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate:

Note that the participating company may be located in other countries. Please check eligibility criteria on these programmes’ websites.


5. What InnoEnergy co-funding covers

PhD candidate staffing costs

InnoEnergy will co-fund staffing costs for the PhD candidate. These costs include the salary plus associated payroll costs such as social security contributions, provided that these costs align with the partner company’s usual compensation policies. Indirect costs may also be eligible for funding, up to an amount equal to 25% of the staffing costs. These costs are not eligible for InnoEnergy co-funding if they are reimbursed by European, national, regional, or local government agencies.

InnoEnergy co-funding is €20K/year over the duration of the project (four years maximum).


PhD candidate training

In addition InnoEnergy will fund the training and networking activities offered as part of the InnoEnergy PhD School:

  • Tuition and fees, travel, accommodation, and meals for PhD School training sessions
  • Travel, accommodation, and meals for a European mobility placement of at least four months

More details can be found on the PhD School website.

6. Application process

The application process is quick and easy. The application form should not exceed five pages.

7. Selection criteria

  • The project topic must align with the KIC IE innovative strategy (eliminatory, see Energy Challenges).
  • Quality of the PhD research preparing innovation docotorate project:
  • Clear description of the research plan paving the route towards innovative and technology transfer
  • Time allocated to PhD research work in the project
  • Quality of the innovation doctorate project that will benefit from the PhD project:
  • Scientific or technological issue to overcome
  • Need to satisfy, market, competitors
  • Roadmap from the lab to the market
  • Soundness of the collaboration:
  • Respective inputs
  • Co-supervision
  • IP agreement
  • Project management: research, technological and market risks

See the complete selection criteria below for further details.

The elements to provide in order to address these criteria are detailed in the application form.


Criteria Sub criteria Explanation Scale Weight
Alignment of the topic with the InnoEnergy innovative strategy

Is the topic aligned with Energy Challenges?

(the main Energy Challenge addressed and the level of partnership with InnoEnergy might influence the ranking in case of equal score)

Yes/No Eliminatory

Quality of the PhD research

(score under 4.5 is eliminatory)

Positioning of the research work upstream of innovative

¨        Is the research objective and work plan clearly described?

¨        Is the pace towards innovative realistic?

¨        How high is the investment from the company (time, supervision, access to the different functions in the company)?

0 to 3 20%
Time allocated to PhD research work in the project ¨        Is the PhD project plan established? (timeline including European mobility, balance between/combination of PhD research and innovative , balance between academic publications and IP protection/tech transfer) 0 to 3 10%
Benefit from the InnoEnergy PhD School programme

¨        Is the InnoEnergy PhD School well understood?

o    Benefit for the PhD candidate and the project?

o    Requirements (training periods, mobility, etc.)?

0 to 3 10%

Quality of the innovative plan

(score under 6 is eliminatory)

Addressed technology

¨        Is the scientific or technological issue to be overcome to reach the market clearly defined?

¨        Does the new product/service that will benefit from the research constitute a real innovation ?


0 to 3 10%
Market knowledge

¨        Is the customer need that the new product / service will satisfy well identified?

¨        Is the knowledge of the potential market / customers / competitors convincing?

0 to 3 10%
Relevance of the partners and the partnership Is the partnership between the company and the lab relevant for the project? (knowledge and expertise, value chain, competitors) 0 to 3 10%
Project plan

¨        Is the roadmap from the lab to the market well described?

¨        How will the project benefit from InnoEnergy’s involvement?

0 to 3 10%
Quality of the collaboration between the company and the academic partner Respective inputs and co-supervision of the PhD project

¨        Are the respective roles clearly identified?

¨        Previous experience with collaborative research?

¨        Organization (regular meetings, coaching, decision making)

¨        Has a detailed IP agreement already been signed?

0 to 3 10%
Project Management Risk management ¨        Are the risks well identified and the mitigation plans relevant? 0 to 3 10%


8. Process and deadlines

  • 24 March 2017 Application period open.
  • 20 April 2017 Q&A session with the PhD School.
  • 11 May 2017 Deadline for submitting proposals.
  • 12-30 May 2017 Proposals reviewed by the selection committee.
  • 2 June 2017 Selected submissions announced.


InnoEnergy Innovation Doctorate Projects selected can begin at any time. However, financing will only cover start dates from November 2017 (earliest) to June 2018 (latest). The PhD candidate must be hired by the company for the project to be eligible for financing.


9. Contact

Send your questions and application to: