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New project seeks to mobilise universities’ expertise in energy-related research and education

11 December 2014

A new project, implemented by EUA in partnership with KU Leuven, representing the universities in EIT KIC InnoEnergy, is seeking to facilitate energy-related research, education and training activities at European universities.

UNI-SETCalled UNI-SET (Universities in the SET-Plan), it aims to mobilise European universities’ expertise to address common European goals in the context of the European Union’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), the technology pillar of the EU Energy and Climate policy. Specifically, the project will look to facilitate the creation of master and research programmes in the field of energy and promote new research collaborations bringing together multidisciplinary teams to work towards the objectives of the SET-Plan.

In this context, EUA and KU Leuven hosted a session (side event) discussing “the strategic role of universities in the SET-Plan” at the SET-Plan Conference 2014 in Rome, Italy on 11 December 2014. The session presented UNI-SET to other SET-Plan stakeholders and included a panel discussion with representatives  of the European Commission, KIC InnoEnergy, and the European Energy Research Alliance. (A more detailed report on the session will feature in the EUA newsletter in January).

UNI-SET, which is funded under the EU's Seventh Framework programme, will be organised in two main phases of implementation between September 2014 and August 2017: The first phase will involve a web-based survey of energy-related Master and research programmes at European universities, carried out by EUA. In a parallel activity, KU Leuven, in cooperation with the lead universities in the co-location centres of EIT KIC InnoEnergy, will work to identify the professional profiles needed in the energy sector, with the partners of their KIC.

The outcomes of both activities will be used to display the current context and identify potential themes for collaborative research activities and educational programmes that will contribute to the energy goals formulated in the SET-Plan. Based on the input from universities, EUA will develop web-based maps which will provide easily available information about energy research and education in Europe’s universities.

The second phase will consist of a series of “clustering events” in the form of five thematic conferences. These events will be based on the output of the first phase and aim at developing university-based clusters in energy research, education and training. They will also help to coordinate information and input from the university sector to relevant energy-related EC policy initiatives and consultations, such as the SET Plan and Horizon 2020.

For universities, UNI-SET will also provide opportunities to make their activities in the energy field visible; to share practices and concerns and to build on their experience to tackle energy-related challenges which require contributions from different disciplines. For EUA, UNI-SET is a further step forward in the development of the European Platform of Universities Engaged in Energy Research (EUA-EPUE).

Since its launch in 2009, EUA-EPUE has been actively involved in the EC consultation processes relating to the SET-Plan Education and Training Roadmap and the SET-PIan Integrated Roadmap. The contribution of universities to European energy policy development is expected to increase as the project activities are implemented.

More information about the project is available on the UNI-SET website.

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