“The programme has really complemented my existing technical knowledge.”

PhD candidate Katarzyna Siwek came to the programme with lots of technical knowledge – and a small seed of business and management skills that she wanted to grow and expand on. Being familiar with the quality of the InnoEnergy Master’s Programme, she knew this was the place to help her flourish.

Why did you choose the InnoEnergy PhD School?

Before joining the PhD school, I had some idea about business and management: a seed was there, so to speak. I really enjoyed that part of my education and definitely didn’t want to let it go. So, I was seeking courses and activities in the university to reinforce my knowledge. And then, finding out about InnoEnergy PhD programme was like a cherry on top of a wish coming true. I was familiar with the InnoEnergy Master’s School, so I also knew that this was going to be a top-tier PhD programme. Motivated and open-minded people, unusual approaches, and unconventional courses. Well… I didn’t need to think twice.

What have been the highlights so far? The valuable lessons you’ve learnt?

Actually, I think that the best part of the PhD school is course diversity. Each one tackles different a different topic, shows different approaches and equips you with different tools for the future. Yet all together, like a puzzle, they are necessary to have the complete picture. I’ve learned that it is important to think of that big picture, but sometimes it’s necessary to unpack it and jump back and forth through all the elements to make it work. I think this can apply not only to our business ideas but also to our future carrier pathways.

How would you describe the InnoEnergy PhD School to a prospective student?

I would say in brief: a chance. A chance to learn, to look at your work from a different perspective, to get to know inspiring people and perhaps inspire others, to make friends, and to take a break from your day-to-day work that is sometimes necessary!

How do you find the integration of business and entrepreneurship in the programme? And the connection to industry?

I have only attended two courses: Energy Economics in Grenoble and Smart Cities in Cracow, but despite the very different contents, each of them was arranged in a way to show us industrial perspective on energy markets, trends in the case of energy economics, and the challenges and opportunities of smart cities. It has really complemented my existing knowledge which was mainly technical.

How well do the courses fit into your regular PhD studies?

In the beginning, it was my only concern. However, it turned out that the schedule is very flexible and, most importantly, is given in advance for the following year. It ends up just a matter of organisation!

Why is sustainable energy important to you personally? Any goals for the future?

On the one hand, sustainability is a way to keep all the resources for the future generation, but on the other hand it is a great driver for innovation. Certainly, I would like to be part of it. Making a small contribution to sustainable energy development would give me immense satisfaction, to have my research really make a difference. I’d like to find a job that is meaningful to me, challenges me to constantly to feel the flow, keeps my interest, allows me to share my knowledge, and makes use of my skills. If it means that the only way to achieve this is to have my own business, then so be it. After this programme, I have a better understanding of the ‘business world’ – its expectations and challenges is definitely a big value-add to my engineering skills and knowledge.  Actually, I consider it as a perfect combination or a gap-bridging between such different perspectives. I’ll be well prepared for whichever direction I go in!

Become part of the InnoEnergy ecosystem, gain access to a network of like-minded individuals, startups, scaleups, innovation projects, universities and industrial partners across Europe by applying to InnoEnergy PHD School before 12 May deadline.