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ABWET Report Summary

Project ID: 643071
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ABWET (Advanced Biological Waste-to-Energy Technologies)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Advanced Biological Waste-to-Energy Technologies (ABWET) European Joint Doctorate (EJD) programme provides education and research at the PhD level on various environmental technologies that convert waste materials into bioenergy, training Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to think globally and work expeditiously in multidisciplinary research teams. The ABWET EJD focuses on fundamental and applied aspects of different treatment technologies as well as on the development of innovative recovery and reuse technologies with enhanced market potential. This will make ABWET PhD alumni attractive scientists and engineers for European universities, institutes and industry, able to contribute to solving the global challenges of waste management, energy scarcity and sustainable development.
The ABWET EJD aims to develop a joint PhD education and research curriculum with joint selection, supervision and PhD defence procedures in order to issue a fully joint PhD degree in Environmental Technology, recognised by the respective academic boards of the four beneficiaries (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio - Italy, Université Paris-Est – France, UNESCO-IHE - The Netherlands and Tampere University of Technology – Finland).
ESRs make an Individual Training Plan (ITP), with a workload of 40 ECTS, comprising mandatory and elective PhD courses, an annual PhD meeting and summer school, conferences, courses on research, management and transferable skills as well as language training. In addition to the ITP, all ESRs make an individual career development plan in order to assist them in designing their career paths and preparing them for the labor market.
ESRs prepare a research plan laid down in a PhD proposal, detailing research work (140 ECTS), including secondments to other beneficiaries and partner organizations (35-54 ECTS). The latter is an international network of 17 partner organisations from academia, industry and non-govermental organisations (NGOs). The PhD dissertation and defence will be in English and ESRs are required to publish at least 3 papers in peer reviewed journals.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

- A joint admission procedure has been set up

- A joint selection has been carried out

- A joint supervison has been established, defining a supervisory team for each ESR, which includes supervisors at the Institutions visited for secondments

- A joint governing structure has been set up, with an ABWET Management Assembly (MA), including representatives of the 4 Beneficiaries, and a Supervisory Board (SB), including representatives of Beneficiaries and Partner Organizations. The MA is responsible for the joint management of the ABWET EJD and the SB is responsible for the scientific aspects

- Two joint boards have been set up for joint monitoring and assessment, i.e. the SB and a Quality Assurance Committee

- Training of the ESRs through research has been carried out on 4 sub-work packages: i) fermentation or anaerobic digestion of solid wastes and ii) wastewaters, iii) the use of side streams of anaerobic treatment processes and iv) biofuel clean-up. All ESRs have prepared a research plan that has been approved by the SB

- The ABWET introductory course and 2 dedicated summer schools have been carried out

- Dissemination has been started through the ABWET website and involvement in social media such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate

- A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on the delivery of a fully recognized and accredited ABWET joint doctorate degree has been produced and will be signed in the coming months.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Some ABWET ESRs have already submitted manuscripts for publication, indicating that the research is going beyond the state-of-the-art. The results and expected potential impact will be reported when the manuscripts will be published.

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