Master’s School KICK OFF 2017

You Are Our Trojan Horses
More than 250 international students attend Master’s School KICK OFF in Barcelona.

Moderator Matt Clarke

Change won’t happen unless it comes from the inside.
This was the challenge thrown down by InnoEnergy Innovation Director, Elena Bou at the Master’s School KICK OFF this week.

“20 years from now I want you to be the brightest entrepreneurs. I want to see you on the cover of Time Magazine. And if you’re working in corporations, I want you to be our secret weapon,” she said. “Yours is the challenge of ‘contaminating’ prevailing attitudes to energy from within. You are our Trojan Horses.”



Elena addressed seven new cohorts of students at a keynote address at Barcelona’s Forum on December 1. She was joined by Salvatore Amico Roxas, Policy Officer at the European Commission, who stressed that the Masters students represented a “core part of the sustainability ecosystem” of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

“We are looking to you to be the game-changers. We rely on you to solve the problems that we have created.”

Elena Bou and Diego Pavia

More than 250 students from over 45 countries congregated in Barcelona for the two-day event – the first time all seven Master’s programme cohorts have come together. From Azerbaijan to China, from Argentina to New Zealand, students had the opportunity to interchange experiences, ideas and insights, explore real-life cases in mixed groups, find synergies and challenge perspectives.

Innoenergy Director of Innovation, Diego Pavia, urged them never to “get too comfortable.” “In sustainable energy, even when you make it you always are only halfway there. The competition is always trailing you and nourishing itself on your uniqueness,” he added.

True innovation, said Diego, hinges on asking yourself three questions: “How am I different, what value to I bring and most importantly of all, how do I monetize it?”

The mixture of dimensions – the unique blend of technology, entrepreneurship and management – is the principle drawcard for the majority of students kicking off their Master’s programmes with Innoenergy around Europe this quarter, according to Fereshteh Poomohammadi from Iran. The 24-year old was drawn to the MSc in Energy for Smart Cities because the  programme “offers it all.”

Working with companies

He said, “Being here today consolidates what I have felt since day one – that I am on the right programme. I wanted to study abroad, and to go beyond the purely technical. This Master’s degree takes a view of the world’s real-life challenges and combines the technical expertise and the management skills to help you solve them.” That, and an international dimension that delivers a “world in the classroom” dynamic
to the learning, said Nicole Nembhard from Jamaica. “We’re kicking off the Masters School in Barcelona and exchanging perspectives with students from countries all over the world – each with their own challenges and solutions. It’s so important to hear about alternatives like nuclear, and to pitch ideas, share knowledge and really broaden perspectives.”

Nicole intends to put her MSc in Environmental Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems to work helping developing countries diversity their energy. And to play her part in bringing other women into the sector. “It’s really critical we inspire women to make a difference.”

Nicole Nembhard

Salvatore Amico Roxas

Thomas Darker









Making a difference strikes a deep chord with students Thomas Darker from Australia and Katarzyna Zawadzka from Poland. Katarzyna enrolled on the Master’s in Energy Technologies spurred on by a sense of sustainable energy as “the only future.”

“I realized from a young age that sustainable energy the future. We will need more and more energy and we need to learn how to create methods of producing or we won’t survive. Nature will likely find her way but sadly we won’t,” she said. And it’s a sentiment echoed by Thomas, who has opted to pursue the Master’s in Renewable Energy.

“To think in the future there might not be snow for snowboarding plays on me a bit. I feel my purpose is to play my part in slowing climate change. I’d like to get to 75 and  be able to say: I did something.”

Now it begins. Welcome to InnoEnergy Master’s School.



You can find all images from the event on our InnoEnergy Flickr account