2018 Energy CDT Masterclass

15 Aug 2018

In early July, UKERC helped organise the Energy CDT Masterclass in Sheffield. The three-day event was an opportunity for students to meet other PhD candidates working in a wide range of related topics, and develop a wider understanding of the range of challenges involved in the energy transition.

Robert Abernethy, a Fusion CDT doctoral student at the University of Oxford, has written a blog about the event.

The first day began with a poster session, which demonstrated the range of energy research going on in the UK, from electricity transmission grid modelling to novel production techniques for hydrogen fuel cells. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and networking with students from across the UK and learning about many new topics.

The second and third days were comprised of small group activities. Energy law experts from academia and law firms led a session on international energy contracts. The groups were then asked to produce a position based upon a scenario and enter into negotiation with another group, representing the opposite side. This session not only taught us about the difficulties of international energy management but also a range of transferable skills including teamwork, analysing scenarios and negotiation techniques.

Representatives from the European Commission challenged the groups to produce solutions for decarbonising European Islands. This provoked novel ways of thinking about energy production and usage, and the teams thought up a range of creative solutions, from using hydrogen on small scale grids to floating power stations. The best solutions are being taken forward to a European Commission event for the Decarbonising European Islands project.

I found the Masterclass a great success. Not only were there networking opportunities aplenty, which may develop into future working relationships, but I learned a vast amount about the many different areas that require work as we progress towards a sustainable energy system. Additionally, the event was very enjoyable and inspiring for my future career.

Robert Abernethy is a Fusion CDT Doctoral Student based at the University of Oxford. There he studies the effects of neutron irradiation on tungsten for use in nuclear fusion power plants. Further information about Robert and his research can be found here.