Erasmus + Solar Energy Technology (SETechTra) module for STEM undergraduates

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

Project Summary:
A. Context/background:
The EU Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates provide the human resources needs of her manufacturing sector - the key driver of the economy, which provides about 20% of EU jobs and generates circa €7000 billion in 25 industrial sectors with over 2 million companies. Photovoltaic solar energy (PVSE) is becoming increasingly competitive and is accepted as a viable renewable energy (RE) source for actualising EU Energy ROADMAP 2050 targets and climate neutrality goals. Solar Energy (SE) is a major contributor to global green energy production and PVSE continues to dominate all new RE investments globally, accounting for 48% of the $139.7Billion invested in 2018. Another report shows that the SE Power market was circa 680GW in 2019; and will reach 4767GW by 2026 (a CAGR of 30.7%). EU investment in 2018 was 11.3GW (up 21% from 2017) driven by the EU’s binding national 2020 targets. This very rapid growth in the EU SE sector led to corresponding increase in demand for STEM graduates to match the increasing EU SE sector needs. The growth imbalance in the EU SE sector and demand for STEM graduates represent another challenge to the EU as a 2018 Report shows that China is the major PV manufacturer, followed by Taiwan and then Malaysia - with no EU firm listed amongst the top 20 cell/thin-film PV manufacturers in 2017. Inadvertently, the finding implies that EU SE sector capacity is not globally competitive, which in turn limits job opportunities for EU STEM graduates. It is widely agreed that a key contributor to the low EU PV production capacity is the scarcity of STEM graduates with relevant SE sector specialist skills. The shortage, described as “the mismatch between the skills Europe needs and the skills it has”, was identified as a key challenge facing the EU’s HE system; and was also reported in IET’s (Institution of Engineering and Technology) Annual 2019 Skills Survey of Engineering Employers in the UK. Thus, urgent continental need to provide STEM undergraduates (UGs) better learning opportunities to facilitate acquisition of the industry specific skills for securing jobs in the EU SE sector on graduation is necessitated. SETechTra supports the production of industry ready STEM graduates to meet SE sector needs, growth of EU PV production capacity and contributes to achieving the EU climate change goals.

B. Objectives, profile/participants: The objectives include to: a) Increases STEM UGs awareness on the trends and developments in SE sector and the specialist skills essential for securing employment in the SE Sector. b) Deliver a working curriculum for teaching SE module to STEM UGs in the Higher Education Instituting (HEI) partners, facilitating student and staff mobility and peer learning. c) Tackle skills gaps and mismatches in SE sector leading to STEM UGs acquiring specialist SE entrepreneurship/life-long-skills for employability and career progression. d) Support actualisation of EU climate change goals in the long run. The consortium comprises 6 partners, (4 Universities and 2 industry partners), drawn from 4 EU countries (UK, Finland, Greece and Norway). The partnership is purposefully built to complement each other in expertise, experiences and competences to ensure effective project delivery. The Universities have STEM degree programmes and demonstrate outstanding teaching expertise. All 6 partners have excellent expertise in SE and RE and huge competence in project management – having previously worked on EU funded RE projects

C. Methodology/Activities: These include a) Review of educational materials - Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF), professional and statutory body requirement (PSRB) - for integration into the SE module. b) Consult the stakeholders - industrialist, researchers, sector employers - for integration of their advice into the SE module to develop research inspired and industry informed SE teaching materials. c) Develop E-delivery platform for smart online learning, teaching and assessment. d) Develop STEM SETechTra module to Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Training guide.
D. Results/impact: It will provide STEM UGs in the partner HEIs: awareness on the industry specific skills required for employment cum current trends and developments information of the SE sector. It develops and delivers the curricula for SE module for STEM UGs across the 4 universities.

E. Potential longer-term-benefits: The longer-term benefits include: a) Produced STEM graduates having both SE specialist and entrepreneurship skills tackles skills gaps and mismatches in EU SE sector. Their employment boosts uptake of the SE sector in EU. b) Significant number of the STEM graduates with entrepreneurial skills will establish their companies thereby increasing the EU SE sector global competitiveness. c) On module full adoption in EU, HE curriculum on SE is provided and STEAM graduate employment in the sector is increased.
AcronymSETechTra
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/23

Funding

  • Erasmus +

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