KIC InnoEnergy Industry-Conference – Fostering energy innovation together

KIC InnoEnergy aims at closing Europe’s innovation gap in the area of sustainable energy and developing new business areas. The European network fosters cooperation between industry and academia. The KIC InnoEnergy Industry Conference now gathered…

The first day of conference gave an introduction to KIC InnoEnergy and the projects in its six co-location centres (CCs). The CC Managers presented their activities in the three areas of the knowledge triangle, education, business creation and innovation. Since its start of operations, KIC InnoEnergy has already successfully launched several projects: 195 students are currently trained in KIC InnoEnergy’s Master and Executive Master Programmes and PhD School. More than 50 new ventures are nurtured in the start-up incubating process KIC InnoEnergy HighwayTM. Moreover, the consortium contributed to Europe’s growth and job creation by delivering over 30 patents and new products.

KIC InnoEnergy Industry Conference

Picture taken by Susanne Baur

The approach of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), is new and innovative. This was shown in the presentations by Michal Gorzynski, KICs Project Officer at the EIT, and Diego Pavía, CEO of KIC InnoEnergy SE. Dr. Peter Fritz, Vice President for Research and Innovation at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), highlighted the links between KIC InnoEnergy and the energy research in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. He referred to the connection of the three dimensions of the knowledge triangle and to the clear focus on innovation. For small and medium-sized enterprises, the added value of KIC InnoEnergy lies in the European network giving access to new countries and partners, said Dr. Hans Hubschneider from AVA-CO2.

At the second day, three workshops were held focusing on innovation projects, business creation and education programmes. Dr. Till Jenssen from the Department of „Renewable Energies“ at the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg talked about the challenges for the industry in the context of the German “Energiewende”(energy transition). The participants discussed the question of grid stability. Following this discussion, KIC InnoEnergy innovation projects presented the technologies they are currently working on. The leader of the thematic field „Energy from Chemical Fuels“ showed the possibilities for new partners to join existing or new projects. KIC InnoEnergy recently launched a new call for proposals.

KIC InnoEnergy Industry Conference

Picture taken by Susanne Baur

In the second workshop, two start-up teams had the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of possible investors. In this context, KIC InnoEnergy also gained valuable feedback on the KIC InnoEnergy HighwayTM. The third working group debated industry requirements regarding human resources. Participants discussed how KIC InnoEnergy’s education programmes can foster essential skills, such as interdisciplinary and intercultural competence.

In the pre-programme of the conference, the new „European Network of Women for Innovative Energy Solutions“ (Women4Energy Network) was inaugurated. Women4Energy is a platform for women in the energy sector, both from research and industry, aiming at facilitating the knowledge transfer between the participants. In her welcome speech, Dr. Simone Schwanitz, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg, highlighted the importance of Women4Energy regarding the increase of diversity. The innovative capacity can only be maintained if everyone, including women, is engaged. Following a plenary session on the integration of women in the energy sector, the participants signed a joint declaration for the inauguration of the network.

The event was organised by KIC InnoEnergy Germany together with Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum, KIT, the University of Stuttgart, EnBW, LBBW and the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg.

(Pictures taken by Susanne Baur)