Human resources and new knowledge to build the future energy system

The 1st UNI-SET Energy Clustering Event explored how European universities can cooperate more with each other and work together to address the challenge of educating people for the future energy society.

The event was the first of a series of five UNI-SET Energy Clustering Events which took place in 2016 and 2017 to discuss and stimulate the development of innovative research and education programmes in the energy field. The five events sought to mobilise the European university community to tackle the “energy challenge” by fostering exchange and collaboration between researchers, educators and other stakeholders. The events also explored how universities can enhance their contribution to the current EU energy policies, framed by the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) and the European Energy Union.

The UNI-SET ECEs are organised in the framework of the FP7 UNI-SET project, an action implemented jointly by the European University Association (EUA) and KU Leuven, representing the universities in KIC InnoEnergy. The UNI-SET ECEs are mainly intended for EUA member universities participating in the UNI-SET Universities Survey. In order to facilitate networking and follow-up of initiatives generated during the event, up to two delegates per university will be accepted. 


The 1st ECE at NTNU in Trondheim offered insights into innovative programmes and approaches from a multidisciplinary perspective through examples, lessons learnt and other best practice. The conference participants also contributed to the development of a roadmap and ultimately a strategic agenda for universities as important stakeholders in the future energy society. The overall goal was to strengthen inter-university cooperation and thus the voice of universities in the development of energy policy at EU level. The goal was also to make visible the substantial contribution of universities in implementing the European Energy Union.

As the first of a series of events, the meeting in Trondheim set the stage through discussions on how universities can enhance their contribution towards the future low-carbon energy society.

The discussions in the plenary and interactive parallel sessions were informed by:

- background  activities of the European Platform of Universities in Energy Research & Education (EUA-EPUE);

- initial outcomes of the UNI-SET Universities Survey on the energy research and education activities of European universities and the UNI-SET Employers Survey on the skills and professional profile required by the energy labour market

The conference participants also contributed to shape the future UNI-SET activities. The programmes of the upcoming four events will be developed based on the main messages emerging from the discussions in Trondheim and eventual participation of new universities.


The UNI-SET Energy Clustering Events provide a platform for networking and exchange of views with a forward-look towards the future energy society and the need to better prepare the next generation of Master and Doctorate graduates. Specifically, the events will be of interest to university leaders in the field of energy (e.g. rectors and vice-rectors, deans, heads of institutional energy initiatives, with an interest in innovative approaches for energy research and education), as well as other stakeholders from the energy research, education and policy development.


Hosted by



EUA EPUE_Logo   UNI SET logo


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 609838.



  • Day 1

    09.00 - 09.20
    Welcome Address

    Prof Gunnar Bovim, Rector of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

    Prof Rolf Tarrach, EUA President; University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg (Video address)

    09.20 - 10.00
    Keynote speech: The global energy system to 2052. What should universities do?

    Prof Jørgen Randers, Professor Emeritus, BI Norwegian Business School; co-author of the Club of Rome Report “Limits to Growth”, Norway

    10.00 - 10.30
    Clean Energy Research and Innovation at European level

    Dr Gwennaël Joliff-Botrel, Head of Unit: 1. Strategy, Dir G — Energy, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission

    11.00 - 12.30
    Overview of the energy education and research activities of European universities and insights into the future energy labour market

    Presentation of the conference objectives
    Findings of the UNI-SET surveys for universities and energy sector employers

    Prof Torbjørn Digernes, EUA-EPUE; UNI-SET; NTNU

    Dr Lidia Borrell-Damian, Director for Research and Innovation, EUA

    Prof Johan Driesen, ESAT, KU Leuven, Belgium; KIC InnoEnergy

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