ERBE Block Week – Students Perspective

Shahnewaz Siddiqque, ERBE CDT Student in University College Cork, MaREI:

“It’s been a year since I became a part of ERBE CDT and the journey can’t be more interesting to me as a Ph.D. student with lots of new experiences and exposure. Recently, I participated in the ERBE annual event called “The Block Week “. It was a 5-day event where all the ERBE cohort for the year from MaREI, Loughborough University & UCL came together and attended interactive lecture sessions from EBRE academic staff and guest experts on key topics in Energy Resilience and Energy transition.

Though it’s an on-campus event hosted by partner universities every year, due to Covid 19, the full block week event 2020 was online. It was a new challenge but thanks to the organizing members (Prof. Kevin, Prof Robert, Dr. Arash, Aoife, Karen, Ben, and Charlotte), the whole event was excellent.

ERBE block week focuses on introducing the cohort to the aims of ERBE CDT together with the challenges and the elements of achieving the future sustainable and resilient energy sector. Each day was themed on a specific topic ranging from national and global energy outlook, energy research in the context of the domestic, commercial, industrial sector, key factors in achieving energy flexibility and resilience under current and future scenarios. The guest experts were presenting on some of their projects at the same time sharing their experience as well as expert opinion on it. There was also a final project regarding the 2050 pathway calculator (Reduction of carbon emission to at least 80% relative to 1990 level by 2050 in the UK) where students divided into teams and proposed their approaches and ideas to achieve the carbon reduction goal using the 2050 pathway calculator.

All the lecture sessions were excellent in the sense that they provided an in-depth overview of some of the key areas in achieving energy flexibility and resilience. I want to specially mention the session from Dr. Jenny Crawley, where we participated in some interactive exercises in calculating domestic energy. Making those quick calculations, and presenting our solution was intriguing.

The final project made us think about different perspectives on achieving the carbon reduction goal by 2050. All the teams came up with really innovative ideas, performed thorough background research on where we are currently, and how things might change in energy planning over the years considering government policies and technological innovations along with breakthroughs while making our decisions on what reforms is required in terms of policies, planning, and actions if we want to make to achieve the goal.

I must say it was one of a kind experience to be part of the ERBE Block Week. It reshaped my perspective on how to tackle the challenges that we are facing in the energy sector and encouraged me to deep dive into the pathway as a future energy leader to bring innovations that can contribute to achieving sustainability and energy resilience goals.”