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UCD ENERGY21 International Training and Career Development Fellowship Programme

Final Report Summary - ENERGY21 (UCD ENERGY21 International Training and Career Development Fellowship Programme)

1. Summary
Publishable Summary
The UCD ENERGY21 Programme was based at the Energy Institute within University college Dublin. The Programme aimed to recruit 21 Fellows during the period of the grant. The first call was opened on June 12th, 2014. Applications were received from thirteen interested researchers, from which three Fellowships were subsequently awarded, one female and two male.
The Call resulted in 13 applications and the appointment of 3 Fellows. The quality of the Call is reflected in the number of applicants, including the international and gender diversity of those interested. Detailed analysis of the applications by country of origin and their gender is provided in the quality review. Furthermore, an international panel of evaluators was established which also included a gender balance.
The ENERGY 21 programme was designed to take advantage of the unique aspects of the Irish energy sector. Ireland operates an asynchronous grid that see challenges to integration of renewables faster than grids with significant interconnection. This places a premium on our ability to develop the grid to integrate renewable power, while also looking at demand-side management solutions that enable a more flexible response to electricity usage.
A key objective was to attract the fellows of the highest scientific calibre to conduct research in this area. Despite a promising start, the launch of the programme coincided with a significant national award in energy systems integration, a very competitive international market for the skills required in this field, and the period of austerity in Ireland. As a result, it was a challenge to attract suitable candidates to ENERGY 21 as well as to other programmes. Consequentially, the two further calls anticipated did not take place.
The main aim of this programme was to provide excellent Experienced Researchers with a research training experience of highest international standards that will help them to advance their scientific careers within a chosen sector, across academia, industry or public sector, in the broad area of energy. To Programme set out to:
• Implement an Evaluation and Selection process for the recruitment of ENERGY21 Fellows that is transparent, equitable and fully aligned with the principles of the Charter and Code.
• Provide an attractive and supporting working environment for the awarded Fellows.
• Deliver high quality tailored made training for Fellows that will equip them with skills and experience required to meet their career goals.
• Encourage and facilitate Fellows’ engagement with industry through outgoing host partnerships.
• Ensure that all research conducted by the Fellows adheres to best ethical practice.

Despite only one Call being held, the three outstanding Fellows that were recruited indicated they had a positive experience as demonstrated in an exit survey of the Fellows, and each have moved on to further roles in industry or academia. The impact of the Fellows research was demonstrated through the presentation of their work at conferences and through publications. Each Fellow expressed the view that the Fellowship impacted positively on their ability to transition to further employment roles.

The ENERGY21 Fellows were part of the interdisciplinary Energy Institute at UCD (https://energyinstitute.ucd.ie). The Institute partners with industry and policy makers to inform and be informed by external challenges. Interdisciplinary environments and partnerships with industry and policy makers are becoming increasingly important for the European Research Area to deliver on its ambitions and the ENERGY 21 fellows have benefited from their training in and exposure to this environment. This is evidenced by the future career paths that the fellowship opened up for them.

Research published by post-doctoral researcher Dr Lucy Cradden under her Energy21 programme has significant implications for policy makers for wind energy resources, regional scale electricity grid and interconnection planning. To quote from Craden et al. (2018) 'Considering further the relevance of this study to the Irish electricity system, there are subtleties that may become apparent with detailed analysis of the interconnections with Great Britain. For example, there is currently a plan for extensive development of wind generation in the North Sea, which may be affected differently by some weather patterns compared to Ireland’s wind generators to its west; for example, Scandinavian blocking is likely to cause strong easterlies in the North Sea that may not reach the west of Ireland. It is possible in such cases, some of this GB wind power could become available for export, or vice-versa.

The main results of the Programme included the establishment of the Programme, the recruitment of three outstanding Researchers who have successfully transitioned to roles in the education, research and financial sectors, including academic roles, research & project management in the university sector, and quantitative management in financial services. These Fellows are now an addition to the Principal Investigator’s network and contacts which may provide future opportunities to collaborate.