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European Higher Training Network in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen


This project is to develop the means for proliferating FCH education across the EU and offer students’ access to courses independent of the specialisation of the university they are enrolled at. In order to do this it will build a cluster of universities and other educational institutions that will lead and coordinate the activities related to FCH at the qualification level of university undergraduate and graduate training. The cluster will represent this topic and its community towards EU level stakeholders.

The network cluster will harmonise high-level training across Europe to make best use of teaching resources and offer the highest quality of educational FCH material to as many students as possible. It shall be positioned to become a representative of FCH training, in order to act as a “single stop shop” and “single voice“ with respect to associations such as EPUE, European University Association, etc. and monitoring, leading, or guiding any initiative in this field at European level.

The project will create a cluster of EU universities and other HEI that will lead and coordinate FCH training activities across Europe. It will establish a core body of harmonised teaching material and offer a platform centre of access for students across the EU to receive education in FCH technologies at the level of graduate (BSc/BEng/MSc/MEng) and postgraduate training, including the equivalent level in vocational training, and Continuous Professional Development (CPD). It will include not only universities but also other vocational training institutions that can represent the industrial perspective. By taking resource to the same teaching material, vocational training institutions closer to industry than to HEI can profit from the activities of the project. The project will run exchange programmes with industry in order to both deliver the industrial context to the HEI as well as allowing industry access to quality training material. Integrating CPD elements will further strengthen the aspect of delivering training capacity to industry and shall be fully integrated into the educational framework. All network partners need to be able to attribute ECTS points or equivalent (convertible) credits to their courses.

Based on an in-depth analysis of European market's needs in terms of educational demand in the area of FCH and a review of all previous FCH JU projects and EU initiatives, the project will deliver an educational framework that is benchmarked with other regions of the world that currently have successful programmes in place. Building on this analysis and using results from previous projects, it will create a harmonised teaching programme across the network. Local delivery might vary according to the national educational system but will adhere to the same principles and build on the same base material. All content will be fully accredited for ECTS points (and equivalent, convertible) schemes. A structured mechanism of systematically and continuously updating and improving the teaching material in line with future directions of teaching (including e-learning) and FCH technology will be implemented.

The project will

  • install a cluster of a minimum of 10 universities and other HEI that will take the lead in providing FCH topic education across Europe, mostly in countries which have adopted the AFI Directive; this cluster will use and regularly amend a common body of teaching materials and platforms integrating results from previous projects in order to build a repository of teaching content, tools, knowledge, databases, etc. dedicated to undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses for FCH training activities across Europe;
  • offer joint courses or minimum harmonised local courses that address undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels of university (BSc/BEng/MSc/MEng/PhD) as well as the corresponding vocational training levels; all courses need to carry ECTS points (or convertible equivalents) and all partners thus must be in a position to grant ECTS points or equivalent (convertible) credits;
  • proposed programme should envisage setting-up of a cross-European challenge-based contest to stimulate academic community and raise the attractiveness of the FCH curricula;
  • perform a trial course at a minimum of five partner institutions in year 2 of the project and full course runs in year 3 and 4 (length depending on 12, 18, or 24 month duration of courses) with a minimum of 20 students enrolled per course in Year 4;
  • perform and schedule trial courses at a minimum of five partner institutions at the first stage of project and full courses in the second stage of project with a minimum of 20 students enrolled per course. (length of courses should be in accordance to the thematic lectures)
  • include CPD schemes in the network activities, cooperating closely with the vocational training partners;
  • provide a web access point or use an existing web based platform to host the teaching materials and give students across Europe access, including the provision of e-learning and communication instruments;
  • provide Massive Open Online Courses, MOOC’s as a tool for delivering teaching content but also addressing the general public and stakeholders in the FCH area;
  • establish a student and staff exchange programme between educational and vocational training institutions and industry with minimum 30 exchanges across the programme;
  • set up an industry advisory board to inform educational activities of industry needs and future technological trends;
  • set up an associate network of universities participating in the activities of the project without being a partner in order to smoothly expand activities post-project;
  • include provision of all material in a minimum of five EU languages;
  • establish a business model to continue and maintain the network after completion of the project with the aim of seamlessly continuing the delivery of courses and educational materials post-project; the cluster should be able to continue its activities for at least 5 years post-project;
  • organise alumni and student conferences and workshop meetings of graduates from its own programme and previous programmes;

The topic should be specifically open towards and integrate EU13 Member States applicants. Collaboration with relevant international partners from IPHE countries is recommended.

Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 0.75 - million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

Expected duration: 2-3 years

A firm basis needs to be prepared for an EU-wide human resources development of scientists and especially engineers to feed the growing European fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) industry. The SET-Plan Education, established in 2012/2013, expected a human resource of 57,000 highly skilled staff required by 2020, and 190,000 by 2030 in the FCH business. Supplying this resource is a major challenge in reliably building the FCH value and supply chain.

The SET-Plan Education identified a number of activities in university and vocational education, covering BSc/BEng, MSc/MEng, and PhD training across the EU that would be necessary in securing the education for the numbers of skilled workers needed in the future. The deficits identified were the lack of high quality teaching material and lack of student access to courses across Europe, as well as the lack of mobility incentives, including staff exchanges between academia and industry. The challenge addressed here is to devise a structure through which FCH education can be delivered at a high quality throughout Europe and be fully recognised and integrated into the European university and vocational educational system. Specific challenges are the harmonisation of teaching material, the accreditation of courses, the recognition of credit points, and the integration of the industrial perspective into teaching.

At the level of the FCH JU a number of activities in education have been completed or are still under way. The projects TrainHy, HyProfessionals, HyFacts, HyResponse, and KnowHy have been developing elements of teaching, e-learning, and practical training for a variety of target groups, ranging from university degrees over technician training to specific training of stakeholders and emergency crews. This project will build on the currently fragmented outcomes of these projects and integrate them into a new body of teaching, educational material, and courses offered across Europe at the quality level of university education (BSc/BEng/MSc/MEng/PhD and vocational training equivalents).

This activity calls for university-level education, both for scientists and engineers, looking at the highest skilled workforce of scientists and engineers totalling 17,000 in 2020 and 50,000 in 2030 (SET-Plan). Currently, HEI (Higher Education Institutions) in the EU are annually turning out about 250 to 350 PhD students with a specialisation in FCH technologies and about 1,000 graduates (BSc/BEng/MSc/MEng) with general knowledge in the area. These numbers clearly need to be stepped up. Currently the main bottleneck is the limited number of universities offering specialised training due to limited resources and lack of trained lecturers.

The project will:

  • allow students across Europe access to high quality, harmonised, and certified training material in FCH; courses will be credit bearing and support training in general and specific topics in FCH for building the HR resource necessary to staff the market introduction of FCH technologies;
  • address undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate university students, as well as young professionals in industry; it will deliver courses and teaching material suitable for obtaining credits for CPD schemes and build a bridge between university and vocational type training at the highest skill level;
  • offer a staff and student exchange programme across Europe between participating HEI, vocational training institutions and industry, giving a broader perspective to both the educational and commercial participants;
  • train the general public, politicians, and other stakeholders in FCH content in the form of MOOCs and general educational material and short courses;
  • boost industrial R&D by offering education and training, as well as exposure to university type research approaches and equipment; likewise it will encourage students and research fellows to take opportunity of industrial placements to augment their knowledge of industrial processes and perspectives