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TrainHy-Prof: Building Training Programmes for Young Professionals in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Field
Work Package Structure
The project is divided into 5 work packages (WP) that share into the distinctive tasks of setting up the course. The WP tasks are as follows.
WP 1: Review of existing European training programmes
The objective is to gather information on current structures of education and training for young professionals (post graduates and staff) within the hydrogen and fuel cell area. In comparison, analogous information will be gathered from technology fields that have a similarly young history and a similarly strong need for training due to the lack of dedicated university and vocational courses, i.e. renewables, CCS and nano technologies.
WP 2: Curriculum Development
Development of an International Curriculum on Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technologies and its implementation into an Annual Training Course programme comprising of summer school elements, distance learning and regular courses covering all aspects of FCH. This activity also includes the administrative and financial aspects of the programme.
WP 3: Teaching Material Development
Development of written material for lectures and experimental sessions suitable for existing training systems.
WP 4: Implementation
Implementation of test-elements of the course concept.
WP 5: Evaluation, Dissemination & liaison
Evaluation of educational potential for participants, participants expectations, acceptance in the education community (e.g. ECTS pts etc.), success of implementation in WP 4, industry expectations and contribution to hiring rates of participants.
Liaison with the advisory groups and with other projects and educational activities, especially with the SP1-JTI-FCH.2009.5.2 project.
The management of the project will be kept lean due to the limited scope and limitation in resources available (cf. Section 2). Owing to the experience of the project partners, no risk is seen to be able to propose a concept for a successful and attractive educational initiative. The major risk lies in the acceptance by and integration into the conventional European education schemes and the high variability of the national requirements and standards. Here, the project consortium will rely on the vital advice both of the industrial advisory group - offering insight into the requirements and quality standards sought by industry - and the academic advisory group - offering insight into the dependencies of certification of the course programme and recognition of the degree and ECTS points throughout the European educational system. Even if (as an assumption) there was substantial resistance from (for example) the university system to recognising the training and education achievements of the proposed curriculum, it is expected that industry will set its own standards and be more willing to accept the qualification standards laid out in this project. The experience with the summer schools and activities described in Section 1.1 shows that industry has a keen and substantial interest in the activities the project partners have already performed in the past.
Project Concept and Goals
The project proposal specifically addresses the training of post-graduates (after having accomplished at least BSc, BEng or equivalent grades) and trained professionals in Europe in the field of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen (FCH) technologies. In the past few years, as FCH businesses have emerged, the recruitment of new staff with expert knowledge in FCH has created an urgent need for such training. A number of summer schools and other training measures have already been established (see below), but they lack coordination and - as isolated measures - lack synergy on a European and worldwide scale. In addition, with the termination of the large 6th Framework Programme projects, within which many Summer Schools were embedded, financial support and the immersion in the larger context of European policies is waning. Therefore these important networks and learning activities for young scientists and new employees in the growing field of FCH have been deprived from a long-term perspective.
Examples of the actions mentioned above include the SOFC summer schools organised as part of the EU projects Real-SOFC and LargeSOFC organised from 2004 to 2009, the schools on fuel cells and hydrogen organised by the HyFC Academy (www.hyfc.aau.dk) since 2006, and the European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety organised by the University of Ulster from 2006 to 2009, which all have been extremely well frequented, not only by PhD students and scientists, but notably by employees from industry and other businesses. The growing Scandinavian fuel cell businesses, for instance, regularly sent a high number of participants to attend the SOFC courses.
These schools play an extremely important role in the solid development of European FCH businesses and the establishment of Europe's position at the cutting edge of worldwide developments. This is reflected in the high industrial interest in the existing activities. The necessity for external training, in addition to what is delivered today in university and vocational training is obvious.
The TrainHy project attempts to stabilise the situation by proposing a coherent educational scheme for post-graduates and young professionals with financial backing from public and private sources. This scheme is aimed at a well-established and firmly run activity that will provide adequate training in the short and mid-term.
The project will construct a one-year training course aimed at post graduate students (with at least a Bachelor degree), PhD students and staff just having entered the field of FCH, be it as university graduates or by moving from other areas of technology. These three groups are hereafter referred to as 'Young Professionals'. The level of education of the three groups is similar - which makes the construction of a suitable curriculum more focussed - whilst the industrial interest in educating and training this group is extremely high since this group basically comprises the main candidates for recruitment (at today's state of development).
The structure of the course is such that in-depth training can be achieved by following the complete course or several elements thereof, for instance by combining those single elements that best fit the personal profile and professional needs. Certain elements, on the other hand, will also be available to participants only wishing to follow short courses within a limited time span. The decision on the course components to be followed by single participants is up to the participant and (if applicable) his/her employer.
The TrainHy proposal intends to introduce a coherent coordination between different suppliers of training courses. In order to achieve the highest possible quality of the measures, the cooperation will be performed on the basis of stringent quality control of compatibility of the educational goals and general acceptance of the course(s) in the academic world, the latter being vital to the general accreditation of the course(s) for ECTS points.
Cooperation with other FCH JU projects and EU initiatives
The project closely works together with the project Hyprofessional that addresses the issue of training for technicians. Together, both projects cover all aspects of vocational training necessary for specialised industry in the fields of technicians, engineers and scientists.
In a second call topic (SP1-JTI-FCH.2009.5.2: Training initiatives for regulators) a similar training scheme is required for regulator officers. Since the educational approach and organisational structure of the resulting education programme would probably be very similar, it is intended to perform TrainHy and Hyprofessional alongside and in close cooperation with the 'regulator' project. The obvious avoidance of duplication between the projects through close cooperation appears to be a feasible option. In accordance with this approach, the effort assigned to WP 1 of TrainHy (review of existing programmes) has been reduced in order to reflect a joint effort of the different projects, thus using synergies and freeing resources for other work packages (esp. curriculum development).
Further cooperation will be sought with the instruments of the LEONARDO programme for synergies and funding opportunities.
As a summary, the project aims at:
The principal objective is to offer Young Professionals the opportunity to improve and complete the skills most relevant to their current occupation without interrupting their professional life - therefore making the curriculum and education & training structure especially valuable for businesses and academic institutions alike since it does not remove the trainees from their ongoing assignments. What is more, the course content and the choice of course elements by the student can interact with the necessities of his or her main profession.
While the course programme will (at least as one element) strive to offer ECTS points, the question of whether a degree can be obtained through the course system remains open to discussion once the TrainHy WP 1 and WP 2 activities have progressed.
State of Education in FCH Topics Today
The idea of post-graduate training courses is not necessarily a new one. The consortium members themselves have in the past been involved in many activities in this area:
Various summer schools are being run by different organisers, mostly directed at university students (including undergraduates). Their quality is of differing nature and the possibility for PhD students participating to obtain ECTS points is mostly not given.
Apart from the summer schools mentioned above, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Academy (HyFC Academy; www.hyfc.aau.dk) is one of the leading European institutions in the education of PhD graduates in particular, on whose experience this proposal draws. The activities are open for master students, postdocs, scientists and industrial fellows and thus fall into the category of Young Professionals training sketched above. It is the goal to have more than 30 students enrolled at any time.
The topics covered include the entire hydrogen chain from production and storage to consumption in fuel cell systems. The scientific areas covered by the applications are a balanced between fundamental research with the objective to develop and improve the core technologies and application-driven research with the objective to use these technologies at a system level. The topics offered fall into several categories (Fundamental Research Areas: electrolysis, reformers, hydrogen storage, SOFC and HT-PEFC technology; Application-driven System Research: Fuel Cell CHP Systems, Auxiliary Power Units, Uninterruptible Power Supplies etc.).
The International Short Course and Advanced Research Workshop Series Progress in Hydrogen Safety is an example of the direction TrainHy wishes to take: it offers a combination of courses and advanced research workshops, paired with distance-learning components of higher education at Master's level. These short courses are recognised as Continuous Professional Development courses by the Institution of Fire Engineers. Students can opt for different elements in the course and follow tuition alongside their main activities, be it employment in a company or doctoral or masters studies. Additionally it is an example of a course that offers a formal University Degree as the final goal (although this is not compulsory and students can pick single elements as suitable for them).
The teaching materials of the European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety are currently being used in World's First Higher Educational Programme in Hydrogen Safety (i.e. the PgCert/PgDip/MSc in Hydrogen Safety Engineering) offered by the University of Ulster. Those attending the Summer School elements of TrainHy, and, who are also registered with the PgCert/PgDip/MSc in Hydrogen Safety Engineering gather ECTS Points  for Module Progress in Hydrogen Safety as a contribution towards finally acquiring the degree PgDip/MSc in Hydrogen Safety Engineering. To achieve synergy with the TrainHy project, the Course Committee of the PgCert/PgDip/MSc in Hydrogen Safety Engineering has agreed to widen the scope of the International Short Course and Advanced Research Workshop Series Progress in Hydrogen Safety and to change its title into: International Short Course Series on Progress in Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Technologies & Safety.
Milestones and expected results
File translated by Arief Dahoe from TEX using TTH, version 3.68.
On 18 Dec 2010, 06:45.