3rd UNI-SET Clustering Event addresses smart energy systems and communities

 ©University Politehnica of Bucharest/ UNI-SET

The 3rd UNI-SET Energy Clustering Event, “Universities in the Energy Transition: Focus on Smart Energy Systems and Communities,” took place from 21 to 23 November 2016 at University Politehnica of Bucharest in Romania. One hundred and twenty participants from 21 countries discussed the role of university research, innovation and education in topics such as smart energy systems, energy consumers and cities and communities in the transition towards a sustainable energy system.

Victor Grigorescu, the Romanian Minister of Energy, opened the conference by emphasising the need for university participation in the development of the SET-Plan. Moreover, Grigorescu highlighted the need for energy research and education not just to implement the energy transition, but to develop solutions that will be needed in the coming decades.

In his opening address, Mihnea Costoiu, Rector of the University Politehnica of Bucharest, stressed the relevance of the event for universities in Central and Eastern Europe as it engaged them in policy processes at the European level. His remarks were underlined by Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who highlighted the important role of the UNI-SET project in bringing a network of universities together to face the energy challenge.

Furthermore, EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson highlighted that the field of energy research and education, and its relevance for societal transformation, are linked to the modernisation of higher education in Europe.

Throughout the event, strong participation by business representatives, as well as student-run initiatives, demonstrated opportunities for collaboration in areas ranging from research to training programmes. In addition, European Commission officials Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit for New energy technologies, innovation and clean coal, DG Energy, and Gianluca Fulli, Deputy Head, Energy Security, Distribution and Markets Unit, JRC, presented the Energy Union, the SET-Plan and the Horizon 2020 Work Programme for Energy.

Several so-called “clustering sessions” also aimed at generating truly multi-disciplinary debates on the research, innovation and education challenges in the areas of smart energy systems, smart cities and communities, and energy consumers. Social psychology, power engineering and regional planning were just few of the disciplines addressed in the discussions. Speakers and participants agreed that collaboration and multi-disciplinary research are important means in tackling the energy challenge.

EUA and UNI-SET will continue to support universities in their mission to develop state-of-the-art energy research and education in the field of energy. The next opportunity to participate in a UNI-SET event will be on 27 and 28 March 2017 at the 4th UNI-SET Energy Clustering Event hosted by Imperial College London. This event will address the SET-Plan Priority Areas of “Sustainable Transport and Fuels” and “Carbon Capture Storage & Use.”

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