This year’s PhD School Annual Conference in Amsterdam (4-6th of October) allowed students to explore key energy challenges and co-create collaborative solutions through the Open Space Studio concept. Over the course of the three days, students built and strengthened relationships – working across boundaries – to find inspiration and motivation. The event promoted a consistent exchange of insight with fresh perspectives through conversations, debates and group discussions.
Divided into six groups, the PhD candidates faced various challenges such as: ‘How to manage a 100% renewable power system?’ and ‘What is the sustainable market structure of tomorrow?’ as well as ‘How do we get 50% of the European households to use our solution for a 20% energy cost savings until 2022?’. Industry experts such as ABB, Sylfen, Oxyma, Bosh and Skeleton were invited to join each group as they brainstormed. The groups discussed, approved or challenged all of the ideas presented – and weighed the pros and cons of each solutions. This lively exchange is the heart of the Open Space Studio concept and the PhD School’s Annual Conference at its best.
The benefits of PhD School
Every doctoral candidate who attended confirmed the numerous benefits to be gained by joining the InnoEnergy PhD School. They cited how the programme allows them to acquire the needed technical knowledge while developing the entrepreneurial, research and innovation aspect. They also appreciate building a strong, international-orientated network. “That’s why the PhD School should be an essential stepping stone for every candidate. The holistic, tailor-made approach of the PhD School will improve the research impact and boost the careers of the attendees”, added PhD School director, Isabelle Schuster.
Some of the candidates took a moment to express their thoughts on the PhD school:
Hemesh Avireddy is doing his PhD at the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) in Barcelona. Hemesh currently works towards a PhD in Nanotechnology and Nanosciences. His research focuses on New Nanomaterials for Energy Storage Devices. “Imagine a technology in which it takes 5 minutes to charge an iPhone and lasts for a week whilst heavily using the device. That’s one of the challenges I’m currently working on.” His research is a perfect example of one of the InnoEnergy PhD school objects, where ‘Empowering research’ is the slogan. Just like the other PhD candidates, Hamesh has the ambition to have a company on his own and to create different energy solutions.
Lisa Scanu shares, “The PhD program improved my communication and management skills.” Lisa is a French PhD candidate focusing on the topic of energy maintenance of buildings and properties. “The program exposed me to the critical components of a business plan, and the requirements such plan needs to meet if I wish to establish my own business in the future” Lisa continues. “Another benefit of the PhD School is that it builds confidence Whether you’re in sales, marketing or the supply chain – students know how to navigate through different business units within an organisation.”
At seven p.m. on the last day the official ceremony began. As is the tradition, friends and family gathered around to support the 17 graduates, who were invited to come forward one by one for their official scarf and certificate – and give a little speech. They talked about constantly being challenged and how they now have the ability to play at top of the game. And how they will now be able to make a difference and offer solutions to the challenges that the energy industry faces today, tomorrow and in the future.
After the graduates received their well-earned recognition, the attendees raised their glasses high. A proud Isabelle Schuster toasted, “We will keep in touch to continue our common adventure.”