All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events

Access to cutting edge research and innovation through KU Leuven!

Two EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Energy for Smart Cities students have embarked on their thesis adventure together. They find teamwork helpful to tackle their work at the prestigious KU Leuven in Belgium, an EIT InnoEnergy Master School partner university. We spoke with Jeremy Gideon and Rishabh Varma to hear what it’s like to complete your thesis at one of the world’s oldest and most renowned universities specialising in cutting-edge research and innovation – and how it feels to contribute to the energy transition in coming years.

A customised thesis

Instead of completing a thesis in an outside company, KU Leuven offers a different and more customised approach. The main thesis topics are presented to the students, and they can select what interests them most. Rishabh shares, “Even within the topic, you can narrow it down to the niche you want to explore more. Another advantage of working with KU Leuven is that they have a year-long thesis, giving adequate time to narrow in on your research gap and present a good thesis.” Jeremy adds, “Rishabh was also interested in the same topic as me, and it was a two-person team project – so perfect! Working with someone has a very distinct advantage of providing two perspectives, so we’ve already made great progress and hope to defend this summer.”

Epitome of innovation

Jeremy explains their topic: “It’s about policy innovation. Our thesis topic analyses Energy Communities and the interaction between technology, social aspects, and policies. It will provide future policymakers with a tool that can help better inform their decisions regarding Energy Communities.” Rishabh elaborates: “The entire concept of energy communities is the epitome of innovation and forward-thinking. I’ve gotten detailed insights about energy communities, their challenges, and different perspectives from which it can be looked.


The current problems such as energy transition, energy security, grid decentralisation, etc., can, to a great extent, be solved using energy communities. Also, the recent advancements in renewable energy technologies and the increased political interest have contributed to more research and promotion of this concept.”

The journey

Rishabh shares what he’s learning from his time in the programme: “The best thing is the journey itself. The frustration you feel when stuck on a problem and the satisfaction after solving it is priceless. Moreover, you get into the world of research and have an opportunity to collaborate with top researchers in the field. Working on a thesis gives in-depth knowledge you cannot get anywhere else and teaches me how to do research properly, sharpens my problem-solving skills, and provides me with insights on how to view any problem through a multi-perspective lens.” Jeremey adds, “I’ve been able to work with so many different people from all over the world. This immense exposure to different cultures has influenced my thinking and broadened my horizons. It’s given me the confidence that our work can be impactful and reach the audience it needs to reach. I know this might not sound like much, but as a student, this is extremely motivating and makes me know that my work is meaningful.”

Making a contribution

So, what does the future hold? Rishabh plans to be a sustainable consultant – relying on the skills he’s learned from the programme and thesis – tapping into the vast EIT InnoEnergy ecosystem. And Jeremy, who will work in the renewable energy sector in more of a techno-commercial capacity, says, “After starting the programme, I was influenced to place humans at the centre of the energy transition. This is now a huge part of my permanent thought process. Therefore, this project places humans at the centre and revolving the technology and policies around humans – rather than humans being a tertiary element that needs to be considered. It’s the most sustainable way to move forward. We plan to publish the thesis, and hopefully, it can help future developments of energy communities and energy policies. It feels good to contribute to the energy transition in a small but useful way.”


Ready to make your contribution? Learn more about the EIT InnoEnergy Master School here.