Who are we?
The programme has been run since 2002 by a network of ten European Universities and research centres who are leading the way in renewable energy research, development and demonstration. It is coordinated by EUREC Agency EEIG, a consortium of European renewable energy research centres, which has its headquarters in Brussels.The European Renewable Energy Research Centres Agency was established as a European Economic Interest Grouping in 1991 to strengthen and rationalise the European RD&D efforts in renewable energy technologies. As an independent association, it incorporates over 50 prominent RD&D groups from all over Europe. For further information about EUREC Agency please visit our website at www.eurec.be or contact us
In the light of the ambitious targets of the European White Paper, it was clear that a high number of skilled people would be needed in the coming years in this new and fast developing energy sector. At the moment, only a limited number of relevant educational programmes exist.
A working group was established in 1996 by the College of Members of EUREC Agency to investigate the feasibility of setting up a European Master Degree, and a series of preliminary meetings were organised. The first outline of the programme was agreed upon together with a core of competent academic service providers. From the outset it was intended that the Master programme would be managed by the EUREC Agency EEIG (European Economic Interest Grouping), and delivered by the Europe-wide grouping of universities and RD&D Centres, covering all the viable renewable energy technologies. EUREC was established in 1991, and its members have co-operated in RD&D projects, many of which funded through the EC Framework Programme. The legal structure of an EEIG is suited to administering the European Master Degree, and not only to ensure its continuity and coherence but also to provide a unique point of contact for students. Following these initial meetings, EUREC successfully applied to the Altener II Programme of the European Commission to secure funding for the co-ordination work of the consortium of nine European Universities to investigate the feasibility of a European Master Course in Renewable Energy.
The work started with a survey of representatives from of the European renewable energy community to assess their needs and views on the usefulness of a dedicated Masters course in Renewable Energy, the preferred nature and content of the course, the perceived value of the European aspect of the proposed course and the possibilities of sponsorship. The responses to the survey and the conclusions which were then used in the subsequent formatting of the course, are presented in a paper. The countries included in the survey were Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. In summary, the survey demonstrated a significant requirement for personnel with post-graduate training in renewable energy topics. The comments on core and specialisation content were taken into account in the design of the course units; the general format of the course was well supported. It was noted that the companies were keen that the project work should be based in a work environment and the project development took account of this opinion. The European dimension of the course was also welcomed by most respondents, who were very positive about the advantages this would bring. As a result, the concept of movement between European countries as part of the course and the inclusion of pan-European issues in the course content are important parts of the course format.
This programme curriculum was elaborated in line with the needs of the industry. An operational organisational structure was elaborated to cover both administrative and financial matters. The required course material was prepared, and a procedure for updating course materials was put in place. Finally, the project thesis was specified together with its management, organisation and sponsorship requirements.
By the summer 2001 the course structure was in place. It was decided that the first 'test run' of the European Master in Renewable Energy would take place in the academic year 2002-2003. Work started on publicity and on the student recruitments throughout the second half of 2001 and the first half of 2002. A successful application to a Call for proposals under the ALTENER programme of the European Commission's DG TREN as well as support from Ademe provided the funding necessary to run the course. The course directors met in July 2002 to select the successful candidates and to prepare for the start of the course.
Nineteen students from eleven countries effectively joined the first year of the course. The three specialisations organised during this first run were Wind Energy (7 students), Biomass Energy (7 students) and Hybrid Systems (5 students). Students were very happy with the quality of teaching and the dedication of the academic staff. In conclusion it can be said that the first run of the course was a great success.
In 2010 the European Master of Renewable Energy received record
number of applicants and is now host to 45 students wishing to further
their careers in renewable energy. Students now have the choice of six
renewable energy technologies to specialise in, those being:
Photovoltaics, Wind Energy, Hybrid Systems, Grid Integration, Solar Thermal and Ocean Energy. As from 2012, a new core provider joined the EUREC Master: Hanze University (NL)
Many students specifically choose the European Master of Renewable Energy for the diverse and challenging career opportunities presented to them afterwards. When finishing the Master many of our students are able to secure employment even before submitting their final thesis. Here, we look forward to giving our graduates the best chances of success for their careers ahead.