September 08th 2023

Synergy at the European Forum Albpach

Euregio hosts European Universities and sparks Dialogue for a Sustainable Future

The "Dine & Discuss | Powering the Future" event was a dynamic interdisciplinary discussion held at the European Forum Alpbach, hosted by the European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino during the Euregio Days. Focusing on "Bridging Perspectives on Renewable Energy in Europe and the Alpine Region", the event brought together experts and scholars from the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino regions and their leading European University Alliances: Aurora European University Alliance, represented by Thomas Baumgartner; ECIU European Consortium of Innovative Universities, represented by Maurizio Marchese and Mara Sartori; and Ulysseus European University, represented by Siegfried Walch.

After a short introduction to their respective topics, a World Café enabled a lively and thought-provoking discussion. Participants included Euregio Lab members and fellows from the European Forum Alpbach. The discussions were innovative, controversial and fruitful, allowing different perspectives to interact and enrich the conversation.

The event featured three engaging discussion topics, each led by distinguished researchers:


1.Social acceptance of renewable energy innovations

Bohumil Frantal, Senior Researcher at the Faculty of Science, Palacky University Olomouc and Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Geonics, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno

Wolfgang Streicher, Professor for Energy Efficient Buildings with a focus on Renewable Energy at the Department of Structural Engineering and Material Sciences, University of Innsbruck

The discussions highlighted the importance of effective communication, political leadership through supportive policies and meaningful community engagement to promote the widespread adoption of renewable energy innovations:

Effective Communication and Incentives: Participants highlighted the key role of effective communication in promoting the uptake of renewable energy innovations. Stakeholders can be motivated to engage, by clearly articulating the economic opportunities as well as other benefits and positive impacts of these technologies.

Political leadership and support: Discussions underlined the importance of strong political leadership in driving the renewable energy transition. Policy makers need to formulate and implement supportive policies and regulations that facilitate a smooth and efficient transition.

Community engagement and dialogue: The World Café table also recognized the importance of community engagement. Open dialogue and collaborative decision-making processes can bridge gaps and build trust between stakeholders.

In general, regional and local specificities, conditions and experiences need to be taken into account and highlighted when planning new energy projects and promoting examples of good practice.


2.The potential of scientific, technological and educational advancements in the energy field

Maurizio Marchese, Vice-Rector for the Development of International Relationships, Associate professor Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, University of Trento

Luigi Crema, Director Sustainable Energy Center, FBK Research Centre, Trento und President of Hydrogen Europe Research, Brussels

Mauro Casotto, Director of Enabling Infrastructures at Trentino Sviluppo, Trento.

The debate was about the necessary actions to be implemented in education, research and innovation aspects to support the modern world connected to energy innovations.

In education: In the next years, it will be fundamental for universities and higher education institutions to upskill and reskill the competences of long-life learners. Universities should provide innovative curricula for its students with new educational path and more flexibility in order to adapt to emerging necessities, including to ones connected with energy.

In research: During the discussion emerged the importance of an infrastructural pan European collaboration both politically driven and stimulated by the private sector in order to attract young researchers dealing with energy.

The discussion highlighted the necessity of innovation through the entire process of its creation: from basic and applied research to the start-up creation phase. The discussion focused on the aspects of market access, diversity and integration.


3.Empowering Europe's green future through innovative energy management

Abdel Ganir Njikatoufon, Post-Doc Research Fellow at the Faculty of Economics, University of Genoa.

Angela Hofmann, Professor for Process & Energy Engineering, Head of Josef Ressel Center, MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®

The three discussion rounds reflected the great complexity of the topic, since a green transformation of the energy system affects almost all areas of social, political, economic and technical life. The number of possible solutions is almost as numerous as there are people affected, which was made clear by the critical and emotional discussions. Nevertheless, some necessities could be derived from the discussions, which found general agreement in the plenum:

Clear and open communication: Especially due to the complex action needed, a clear communication and open discussion is the basic for the acceptance and success of the green energy transition.   

True costs: The consequential costs of climate change must be included in the global pricing of products and services based on fossil fuels and used for the implementation of transition measures (e.g. CO2-tax).

Social compatibility: The conversion to renewable energy sources must be designed in a socially acceptable manner. Poorer countries, which are particularly affected by climate change, must also be given affordable access to the resources needed for energy transformation.


As these discussions were held in a World Café format, participants were able to engage deeply with the issues and share different perspectives. The researchers brought in-depth knowledge to each discussion, making the conversations both thought-provoking and insightful. The event ended on a high note with participants continuing the dialogue over dinner. This networking opportunity showcased the region's capabilities and effectively promoted collaboration between European universities. Ultimately, the event was a resounding success, demonstrating the potential of the region and fostering valuable partnerships between European institutions.








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