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PhD on Innovation Pathways for TES

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INPATH-TES (PhD on Innovation Pathways for TES)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

To fulfil some gaps and needs identified by the SET-plan Roadmap for Education and Training, the project “Innovative Pathway for PhD research in Thermal Energy Storage” (INPATH-TES), coordinated by the University of Lleida, Spain, was launched in May 2015. The project is funded within the framework of the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 by the EC.
The goal of INPATH-TES is to create a network of academia, research institutes and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to cooperate in defining and implementing a joint PhD programme on TES technologies. The final result of such a network will lead to the qualification of professionals in these technologies for European research and industry institutions. The specific objectives and outcomes of INPATH-TES project are:
• to establish a unique joint PhD programme in the field of TES starting year 0+2,
• to develop at least 20 ECTS equivalent common training modules,
• to develop four technology oriented PhD courses,
• to establish one annual joint workshop for PhD students,
• to aim at graduating 28 PhD students per year at year 0+6, and
• to exchange at least 14 PhD students per year between industry and academia.
The INPATH-TES consortium gathers 22 partners from 14 European countries, and consists of 14 universities, 3 research institutes, 3 industries, and 2 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Currently, they are the core of a future larger network of excellent R&D institutions, and industries for co-funding and industrial placement, sharing infrastructure capacities, and enhancing mobility of students.
The overall approach of INPATH-TES involves a work plan divided in six work packages, being either coordination or support activities.
There are a total of 14 courses that are currently being developed by the consortium, which can be grouped as follows:
• basic common PhD courses,
• common technology specialisation courses, and
• research management, dissemination, and communication courses (“soft skills”).
The developed learning material is implemented in the constructive alignment perspective in the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology)/KIC InnoEnergy pedagogical methodology of student-centred learning, aligned teaching, and active learning.
An e-learning repository platform has been commissioned to host all the learning materials that will be delivered in the PhD curricula.
A crucial coordinating activity is the implementation of the joint PhD in the partner countries, as it is a key success factor for the future of the PhD Programme. The different legislative barriers and the composition of a PhD programme in the partner countries were evaluated. Based on the main differences that were found, the consortium decided that the simpler strategy to achieve cooperation between partners’ universities is to start joint supervision PhDs.
WP1 ensures an efficient and professional management and coordination of the project. The minutes of the four consortium meetings held so far have been submitted to the EC (D1.8 D1.9 and D1.13). Several online MB meetings have been organised. The governance structure, the internal communication plan and approach of the project were set in D1.1. The updated project management plan was presented (D1.4). WP2 develops a strategy and platform for communication and dissemination in order to support the other WPs and the long-term goals of INPATH-TES. The external communication strategy was presented in D2.2. A 1st breakfast meeting and a conference for stakeholders took place in Brussels on 15 June 2016, which was registered as an Energy Day event within the EU Sustainable Energy Week. D2.3 outlines the layout and a description of the web-based platform. D2.4 presents the template of the Newsletter. Three newsletters were developed and distributed to the wider public. WP3 develops, maintains and updates the PhD programme, which will provide a framework for future training activities within the context of INPATH-TES. A benchmark on PhD level education in the field of “energy storage” was first made. A curriculum consisting of 14 courses was suggested. An e-learning repository platform was commissioned to host all the learning materials that will be delivered in the PhD curricula. A substantial amount of learning materials has already been produced by the consortium’s partners (D3.3). A workshop for all intended educational providers inside the project was held in Perugia, Italy, on 21 October 2015 (D3.1 and D3.2). WP4 deals with the PhD Programme once it starts after successful development in WP3. Complete information from all university partners were collected, regarding the requirements to access a doctoral programme in their institutions, and the regulation under which the doctoral programme of the respective country is governed. It is very difficult to define a unique implementation agreement for a joint programme able to fit all requirements from each country. To overcome this problem, the consortium decided to start by defining some bilateral agreements, in which a PhD student is awarded a PhD by both institutions. WP5 develops and implements a strategy to ensure European-wide stakeholder engagement with INPATH-TES. A Stakeholder Advisory Board (SHAB) was established as planned. The composition and role of the SHAB were described in D5.1. A strategy was developed to identify and engage the main stakeholders and target groups (D5.2). A first link to the industry and their involvement was already made within an online survey, which was sent out to industrial contacts. Synergies with existing international organisations, projects and initiatives were evaluated, and contact was established with some of them. WP6 provides the governing bodies of INPATH-TES with elements to make a judgment on the progress of INPATH-TES as compared to the vision and objectives of INPATH-TES in terms of societal challenges to be addressed. The framework for evaluation and monitoring of INPATH-TES was defined (D6.1). To formalize the evaluation and monitoring, formal documents were established. An active work on IPR and regulatory issues has started in a close cooperation with the project management.
This project has the aim to unequivocally improve and accelerate the existing education and training activities in the university of TES technologies. With the implementation of this joint PhD programme following the SET-Plan, it is projected to graduate at least 28 new doctors experts in the technology that will join the European workforce. The expected potential impact and use of the project will be as follows:
• A unique joint PhD programme on Thermal Energy Storage.
• Educating excellent professionals and researchers on TES.
• Bringing Europe to the leadership of the technology of TES.
• Sharing knowledge on technical writing and science dissemination, intellectual property rights, entrepreneurship, and business models, and project management and research funding.
• Optimizing university resources by using e-learning and MOOCs technologies.
• Sharing knowledge on TES.
• Disseminating the knowledge inside and outside the network created, by inviting external PhD students to attend the annual INPATH-TES workshop.
• Wider dissemination access with direct industrial relevance and deployment aspects focussing on developed future markets.
• Transfer technology between academia and industry.