Europe: The energy education capital of the world?06/04/17
Frank Gielen, Education Director at InnoEnergy, explains that for those looking to help the world and make a career in the sustainable energy industry, Europe is the best place to get a first-class energy education.
Why should students seeking careers in sustainable energy look to Europe?
The EU has led the world in many climate change efforts. It developed the world’s first and largest emissions trading scheme which, while not perfect, continues to set an example to others globally. The German Energiewende led to explosive early renewable energy growth and greenhouse gas reductions of 27% between 1990 and 2014. There’s also symbolic weight to the fact that the Paris Agreement – the world’s unified action on climate change – was signed in one of Europe’s most famous capitals.
It’s not just policy – Europe has led the way in forward-thinking technology too. For example, take the world’s first commercial wave farm in Portugal using UK-developed technology. Or look at novel concepts such as InnoEnergy-backed innovation project, Marin Biogas, which solves the twin environmental problems of land-based food production versus growing energy crops for renewable energy through its marine-based biomass solution.
Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing for either policy or technological development, but this is because Europe has always pushed boundaries by encouraging and supporting new, innovative thinking.
Though there have been some staggering successes, a host of challenges remain in sustainable energy. For students looking to make their mark in the sector, there is no better place to be exposed to pioneering projects and take the opportunity to solve some of the world’s most important problems.
Beyond its pioneering approach, what else does Europe have to offer students in energy?
Paris, Rome, Madrid – Europe famously benefits from some of the world’s richest cultural hotspots. Although more than museums and galleries, European culture is about a shared mindset.
This translates directly to the European student experience. Programmes such as Erasmus encourage students to move freely for study within the EU, and this welcoming environment extends to overseas students from non-European states.
During studies, students are welcomed, and their visas allow them to experience a range of cultures and climates.
Europe is also open for business. In fact, the European Commission’s knowledge triangle highlights the importance of linking and integrating education, research organisations and businesses in order to drive innovation.
Just as important as the years spent studying though, are those that come after. What do job prospects look like for students who have studied in Europe?
Pretty good, actually. In the Global University Employability Ranking 2016, produced by human resources company, Emerging, and published exclusively in Times Higher Education, 64 of the world’s top 150 universities for employability are in the EU. If you add in non-EU member states Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, that rises to 73 – very close to half of the best universities in the world for employability.
So, where should students go to make their mark in sustainable energy?
One of the best options for prospective students is the InnoEnergy programme. Funded by the EU, InnoEnergy runs a number of exclusive postgraduate masters and PhD programmes in the field combining innovation and entrepreneurship alongside energy education. Every student studies in two countries, and earns a coveted double degree.
Uniquely, every programme has a strong focus on business and entrepreneurial skills, and InnoEnergy, maintains a strong industry network to help ensure that students have both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to make a real difference in the sector.
So, is Europe the energy education capital of the world?
It may well be. At the very least it’s almost certainly the sustainable energy education capital of the world. It can offer students a unique set of educational, life and career experiences and opportunities in the sector that’s unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Education Director at InnoEnergy