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KIC InnoEnergy: a new approach to education

KIC InnoEnergy is a European company fostering the integration of education, technology, and business, strengthening the culture of innovation. The KIC’s strategic objective is to become the leading engine of innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of sustainable energy. At the cornerstone of this ambitious objective is the development of a new approach to education.

In order to prepare students to face the challenges of their future careers, coherent master’s programmes and structured PhD trajectories have been developed with a strong focus on the acquisition of transferable skills, especially in innovation and entrepreneurship.

KIC InnoEnergy’s educational programme has been in development since it was designated in December 2009 and the first courses have started in September 2011. Demand for these new courses has been overwhelming and has exceeded availability: nearly 1200 potential students applied for the 2011 intake (220 seats offered) and only 155 students were accepted across KIC InnoEnergy’s six co-location centres, as excellence is one keyword of the KIC’s implementation.

7 new programmes launched in 2011

The following KIC InnoEnergy MSc programmes started in autumn 2011:

  • MSc Nuclear Energy (EMINE)
  • MSc Smart Cities
  • MSc Renewable Energy (RENE)
  • MSc Environment Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems (SELECT) (Extended EM Master)

Moreover, two Executive Master programmes, focusing in graduates and mid-career professionals, started in the fall of 2011:

  • Energy Engineering and Management
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Post-Master in Smart Energy Buildings and Cities

These programmes are directed towards a completely new type of education in the energy field, mobilising the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the students.

This will give the graduates a very deep understanding of the world’s energy challenges paired with a significant insight into how energy businesses are created and into the industrial perspective of the energy side. Torsten Fransson, educational director of KIC InnoEnergy

Successful intake

The promotion for these new programmes only started in May 2011. However, 1170 students had applied for the total 220 places by the July deadline. This means that for every 5 applications, one was accepted.

KIC InnoEnergy’s programmes are seeking to establish excellence in engineering education and are addressing the most talented students. The minimum score for being accepted onto the programme was 81 (out of 100). 80 of the finally selected students even reached a score between 95 and 100. In total, 160 scholarships were also granted.

Diego Pavía, KIC InnoEnergy’s CEO, is very pleased with the high interest also among non-European students. “This shows that our educational offer is highly attractive on a world-wide level,” he says.

Why did students choose a KIC InnoEnergy programme?

Joshua Fragoso is one of the students who started in September 2011 in the SELECT programme in Eindhoven. He chose the programme because sustainable energy is one of the hottest topics worldwide. “Not only because you can make money with it,” he says, “but also because it is a need for the present and for the future.” Another reason for his choice was the fact that he will study in two different countries and thus learn the energy market in both places. “Also the technical content of the master is really good,” he adds.

An inquiry among the master students showed six very explicit reasons for their choice of KIC InnoEnergy programmes rather than other competitive market proposals:

  1. the high quality of the programme which is equal to the best available
  2. the high scolarship level
  3. the mobility concept, which means that students spend the 1st year in one country, the second year in another and their internship in a third country
  4. the students’ freedom to choose what to do after the second year: indeed, they are not obliged to stay at the university after graduation
  5. the double degree
  6. last but not least, the reputation of the partners within the KIC consortium.

KIC InnoEnergy's unique education concept

The concept covers higher education, as well as lifelong learning of professionals. KIC InnoEnergy fosters the integration of education, research and business (the knowledge triangle), strengthening the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

It is not by chance that one of KIC InnoEnergy’s first priorities, when set up, was to start its activities and outputs by education. At the core of its mission, lies the belief that talented people are at the heart of innovation (beside the technology they develop).

For KIC InnoEnergy, the talents that they help create are and will become the carriers of the technological innovation KIC aims to deliver to Europe and they derive business out of the technological innovation.

KIC’s education programmes (MSc, Post MSC, PhDs, executive and lifelong learning initiatives) will develop and train engineers in six energy fields (European Smart Electric Grid & Electric Storage, Clean Coal Technologies, Energy from Chemical Fuels, Intelligent & Energy-Efficient Buildings and Cities, Sustainable nuclear & renewable energy convergence, Renewables) equipping them with strong entrepreneurship and hands on capabilities that are very much needed by industry.