Nuclear controversy, pitching and soft skills for the MSc EMINE Summer School 2017

The two-year MSc EMINE programme (European Master in Nuclear Energy) teaches students about energy management issues and provides in-depth knowledge of the nuclear industry. At the end of the first year at either UPC in Spain or KTH in Sweden, students gather for a summer school at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. There, they discuss and dissect innovation issues in energy markets in general, and nuclear in particular.

During three weeks (June 25th-July 13th), the MSC EMINE summer school offered out of the box activities to twenty-five international students. One of the unique aspects of MSc EMINE is the twist brought to the programme through the emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of soft skills – from intercultural management to learning how to pitch ideas. Quite differentiating for nuclear engineering students!

This year’s programme focussed on a hot topic: “Nuclear controversy“! Indeed, while MSc EMINE broadens the students’ understanding of the wider energy sector, it also gives them the tools to grasp the societal, economic and environmental impacts of nuclear energy. The students made an analysis of the controversy surrounding the proposition of “an electricity system based 100% on renewable power”. In four groups, they intereviewed experts that were in favor, neutral or against this controversy. The experts interviewed were:

  • Dr. Frédérique Livet, Director of Research at the CNRS and a member of Save the Climate Association
  • Bernard Bonin, a Physics who has worked all of his career at the CEA and Areva
  • Dr. Robin Girard, a researcher and teacher at Mines ParisTech, who specializes in renewable energy integration, and actively participated in the ADEME report, which studied the feasibility of a 100% renewable grid for France.
  • Vincent Fristrot, Deputy Mayor of Grenoble since 2014, Vincent Fristrot is currently the president of Gaz Electricité de Grenoble (GEG), the gas and electricity provider for the Grenoble municipality.
  • Dr. Jean-Yves Caneill, Head of Climate Policy at EDF
  • Dr. Manuel Villavicencio, PhD candidate in Energy Economics – Energy Storage
  • Benoit Praderie, CEO of Soleil du midi and former SE Asia Director of AREVA
  • Jenny Winkler, Research assistant in the Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Markets, Fraunhofer

Through the variety of backgrounds and experiences of the experts they met, the MSc EMINE students got to understand and deepen the whys and wherefores of this topic. Student Neil Calder shares:

“The controversy analysis exercise was definitely a highlight of the EMINE Summer School program. Working in groups, we were tasked with sourcing and analysing information relating to the controversial debate on whether the EU could achieve electricity from 100% Renewable sources. As a nuclear engineering student, this proved to be an interesting and challenging task, as it required us to shed any existing biases and assess information objectively. Interviews with individuals from industry and academia were arranged and conducted, which was a new and novel task for most of us, and a great learning experience. Perhaps the best part of the exercise however, was presenting the results of our analysis in the form of a website, designed and created by us, the students. Overall, a fun and worthwhile learning experience!”

Here are the websites created by the groups:

In addition to this focus on nuclear controversy, the students got to take the MBTI assessment, which improves self-understanding. The programme also offered to visit the simulators of French SME CORYS, a world reference in training and engineering simulators, including ones for nuclear plants. The last few days focused on entrepreneurship – identifying entrepreneurial opportunities through a serious game, Business Model explanation, and an introduction to pitching.

Want to see more of the MSc EMINE Summer School? Check the 2016 video below, the programme’s page and our Flickr account!