More than 200 energy researchers at Ghent University

(25-10-2023) Did you know that there are more than 200 energy researchers at Ghent University?

This impressive number underscores the enormity of the challenge we face—the global transition from fossil fuels to clean, sustainable energy sources. Innovation lies at the heart of this endeavor, which is why our university is deeply involved in extensive research in this crucial area.

The range of research topics is quite diverse, ranging from energy efficiency to renewable energy and circularity, in domains such as engineering, policy, user behavior and economy, and regarding the diverse uses for energy, be it in an urban environment, industry, mobility or even agriculture.

While specialization is essential to create top-notch innovation, the interaction and interconnection between all research topics and domains has proven to be crucial in piecing together the energy puzzle. As you may be aware, cross-disciplinary and cross-group research collaborations don't always occur naturally. This is where EnerGhentIC kicks in.

What is EnerGhentIC?

EnerGhentIC is the interdisciplinary community of Ghent University researchers working on the energy challenge. Central to this community’s mission is fostering cross-disciplinary exchanges and collaborations amongst all relevant researchers. Judith Ooms, EnerGhentIC business developer and support team lead, explains: “EnerGhentIC firmly believes in the necessity of a holistic approach and addresses the energy transition process from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. That’s why we bring together both technological and non-technological sciences, like energy legislation, geopolitics, energy economics, societal behavior, and so on, to ensure we encompass all aspects in finding sustainable and innovative energy solutions for the future.” 

However, facilitating real and long-term collaboration requires a supportive environment, consistent effort and, first and foremost, investment in strengthening the internal community. Therefore, our members are offered a wide range of opportunities through inspirational workshops, skills-building training and events, like a yearly community day to strengthen the bond between all participants, specialized workshops to sharpen their pitching and communication skills, energy-related lectures, and so on.

At its core, EnerGhentIC is a valorization consortium – meaning that the main task of the EnerGhentIC support team is to assist all of the energy researchers to link their academic innovation to real-life solutions, thereby creating an actual impact with their research.

Industrial stakeholders

EnerGhentIC is, as IOF Business Development Center, part of the Industrial Liaison Network of our university and is focused on bringing solutions to the market and stimulating cooperation with industry.  In that capacity, the team offers the researchers very hands-on support in terms of network building and sharing, contract negotiations, IP protection and licensing strategies, spin-off realization, joint industrial research projects, structural industrial partnerships, etc. and always in close collaboration with the central Tech Transfer office. 

The strong link with industrial stakeholders is clear from the many active and long-standing partnerships between EnerGhentIC and industry. A great example of one of these partnerships is the collaboration with Daikin Europe where UGent’s thermal knowledge is combined with sustainable heat pump technology which enters many households. Judith: “As Ghent University Key Account Manager for Daikin I am the liaison between Daikin and all university experts. In this way Daikin can quickly find the way to the right people and research groups within our institution, and research ideas from Ghent University can easily be noticed and picked-up in this large international company, leading to jointly defined research trajectories.” 

Another of our success stories within our partnerships with industry is providing life-long training for industry professionals. The many courses we offer to industry ensure we provide ample and expert training and retraining for the industrial energy employees of the future. Many of our researchers and professors are involved in sharing their expertise during those courses, tailored to the specific needs of the energy industry.

EnerGhentIC - Training

Societal valorization

Since the shift to cleaner energy also involves changes in society, EnerGhentIC makes it a priority to get involved in societal valorization as well. This means that EnerGhentIC and its researchers regularly provide advice to policy makers, participate in advisory boards, join the public debate on energy, make an effort to explain their research to the public and help find solutions to everyday energy challenges that people face.

Especially this last part is central to our structural partnership with the city of Ghent, which aims to become a climate neutral city by 2050. EnerGhentIC connects our home city with a network of energy experts from different fields, both technical and social. These experts co-think about various solutions, and their future perspectives, to tackle complex challenges on a city level. The partnership provides a dedicated long-term 'safe space' to work together under various formats, from brainstorm series & student projects to joint innovation and/or development projects, always with the specificity of the challenges of Ghent in mind.

EnerGhentIC has a track record of more than 5 years and has, in that time, achieved many successful ventures: from securing budget for over 100 energy-related projects, exploring the opportunities for several spin-offs, to establishing important partnerships and creating a vibrant and engaging internal energy research community.


EnerGhentIC - Team

Are you working in the broad field of energy transition and would you like to become part of our community? Then let’s talk!

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