KIC InnoEnergy PhD spring school: a 2-week experience in China for 5 PhD students | European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)

KIC InnoEnergy PhD spring school: a 2-week experience in China for 5 PhD students

The KIC InnoEnergy PhD spring school took place in China on March 1-15th – one week each in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Five of our European students enjoyed two weeks of conferences, workshop and cultural discovery.

The KIC InnoEnergy PhD School is a customised education in innovation and entrepreneurship for PhD candidates wishing to add skills in innovation and entrepreneurship to their ongoing PhD studies. The spring school is the result of the cooperation between two networks, the European network of technical universities (CLUSTER) and the Sino European Engineering Education Platform (SEEEP).  It was organized thanks to both Chinese and European universities: Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Eindhoven University of Technology, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  As a partner of the 2 European Universities, KIC InnoEnergy offered the opportunity to 5 of our PhD students to attend this 2-week seminar.

The event brought together 15 professors and 60 high-level PhD students; their goal was to come up with solutions to societal challenges such as sustainable energy and energy transitions. While this year’s topic was “China CO2 neutral by 2040”, a follow up is planned for 2016: “Europe CO2 neutral by 2040”.

A programme tailored for energy Game Changers

The event aimed at developing the multi-disciplinary skills of PhD students related to system engineering, design thinking, team working, presentation skills and peer learning.

The seminar started with lectures by well-known scientists from our community. The PhD students worked in groups on concepts and challenges on specified assignments. The workshops were related to smart and strong grid, self-supporting systems, energy waste, energy transition enablers like ICT, photonics, materials, etc.

The benefits for KIC InnoEnergy PhD students

Let’s discover the experience through the testimonials of the 5 students who were offered the opportunity to attend this Spring School in China…

Q: Why did you apply to attend the SINO EU Spring School? What were your expectations towards this workshop?

A: “I applied for this Spring School because its topics, focused on the energy transformation, were always very interesting for me and connected with my research projects. I wanted to know what the Chinese point of view is on the issues and challenges related to introducing of non-fossil fuels technologies for production of electrical energy.” (Krzysztof Chmielowiec, KIC InnoEnergy PhD student since 2012 at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow)

Q: What did you like most about the event?

A: “The opportunity to work in a multicultural setting. I had the chance to understand the energetic challenges from a very different perspective. It was an eye opener.” (Jose Perez Loya, KIC InnoEnergy PhD student since 2012 at Uppsala University in Sweden)

Q: How will the Spring School benefit to your PhD?

A: “A PhD degree certifies the ability to perform your own research independently and I think that the teamwork done during the spring school was a useful possibility to test our ability to produce results in a field that we did not necessarily master. Then, the lectures were interesting because most of them dealt with present hot research topics and, therefore, they were helpful to depict a clearer image of what the energy related  research is nowadays.”  (Guido Lorenzi, KIC InnoEnergy PhD student since 2014 at Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal)

Q: What is your key takeaway from the Spring School?

A: “The ability to work in groups with very diverse culture is something which I developed in these two weeks. While communication is a problem in such a group, it can be overcome over a period of time and the cultural difference brings very contrasting approach which can be useful to solve a problem.” (Gourav Sen, KIC InnoEnergy PhD student since 2014 at Grenoble INP in France)

Q: If you could summarize your participation in this event in one sentence, what would you say?

A: “Extending and translating previous knowledge on demand response flexibility from a large field test in Belgium to the Chinese situation.” (Sandro Iacovella, KIC InnoEnergy PhD student since 2014 at KU Leuven in Belgium)

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