Forty University of Waterloo students will have the opportunity to travel to Africa, Latin America, and Asia to develop innovative technologies to help deliver energy solutions to impoverished communities around the world.
Funded by a $300,000 award through the Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) program, the students will receive a $6,000 to $8,000 scholarship and have access to a range of leadership and networking activities provided through the Affordable Energy for Humanity Initiative (AE4H). Established by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainability Energy (WISE), AE4H is a global consortium of institutions including social enterprises and universities that are on the cutting edge of clean technology innovation.
The QES funding was awarded to the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, Co-operative Education, Environment's Master of Development Practice (MDP) program, and St. Paul’s Greenhouse Social Impact Incubator to carry out a program that prepares Waterloo students to become leaders in the emerging off-grid renewable energy sector with a focus on the developing world.
Over 1 billion people globally have no access to electricity and a United Nations sustainable development goal has set a target of reaching universal access to electricity by 2030. Social enterprises, including those that will host Waterloo students through this program, are leading the way toward a more equitable clean energy future.
The scholarships provide an opportunity for Waterloo co-op and MDP students to gain international social enterprise experience abroad. The AE4H network of partners and St. Paul’s Greenhouse Social impact incubator will allow students to join global knowledge networks and to develop their own social ventures related to energy access once they are back on campus.
Social innovation competitions, guest speaker events, and other activities will be developed at Waterloo with the goal of turning QES students into global leaders in a critical and growing development sector that crosses disciplinary boundaries.
Now in its fourth year, the QES program is a collaborative initiative led by the Rideau Hall Foundation, Universities Canada, and the Community Foundations of Canada, made possible with contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as universities and a range of private sector donors.