NESTNet Internationalization: Building Connections in Denmark and Germany

In March 2019, seven members of the NSERC Energy Storage Technology (NEST) Network travelled to Central Europe to visit researchers in Denmark and Germany.  The trip was part of the NEST Network’s broader internationalization strategy – to make connections with like-minded researchers world-wide to promote the sharing of information, to grow student mobility, and to augment collaborative scientific investigations.  Following the Network’s successful Missions to the United Kingdom and the United States in 2018, the trip was designed to maximize the range and kind of international connections.  This brief blog provides a summary of the Mission; follow-up activities continue.

The Mission’s members were as follows:

Germany and Denmark both offer much of interest to NEST Network researchers.

Picture of NEST delegates and colleagues at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

NEST Network delegates and colleagues from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Germany’s prominence in energy initiatives and activities is well-known – it hosted, for instance, the first International Conference for Renewable Energies in 2004, and the Energiewende (the energy transition) has influenced energy policy both within the country and beyond.  Germany has also been a leader in energy research.  A review of publications on SCOPUS since 2010 reveals that Germany ranks third globally (behind China and the United States) in terms of number of publications.[1]  And the country looks set to continue its activity in this area, with a number of energy-focused centres in Germany’s Excellence Strategy.

While smaller in size, Denmark, too, has a history of energy innovation and a depth of energy research.  With respect to the former, Denmark’s policy support of renewable energy dates back more than 40 years, and the country was one of the global leaders in the use of feed-in tariffs; Denmark is also home to the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer (Vestas).  And with respect to the latter, Denmark hosts some of the world’s top universities, and its Government has identified, in its recent document entitled ‘Research 2025: Promising Future Research Areas’, green growth as a priority; within that, ‘an efficient, intelligent and integrated energy system’ is listed first. 

Picture of NEST delegates at Roskilde Campus, Denmark

NEST Network delegates at the Roskilde Campus, Technical University of Denmark

With five distinct destinations in five days, the Mission covered a lot of territory, as well as a lot of different kinds of institutions.  Three world-class universities hosted us at different times during the week, and the potential for collaboration with members of each became clear during the course of the respective day-long visits. 

Picture of NEST delegates at Ulm University

NEST Network delegates had the opportunity to tour facilities at Ulm University

In addition to universities, the delegates had the opportunity to visit other kinds of institutions:  one an organization for applied research, the other a multi-client and multi-purpose urban space.

Implementation of the Network’s broader internationalization strategy also continues.  A full update will be provided at the 2019 NESTNet Week in June.

[1] Search terms: ‘storage and energy’.  Total number of articles:  133,302.  Number from Germany:  8,488.  Of these, KIT was the top affiliation (467).  (Search conducted on 31 March 2019.)