CommUnity Post

European Campus of Excellence Summer School

Blog Post created by CommUnity Post Partner on 08-Dec-2017

A current InnoEnergy Master's SELECT Student gives insight on a summer opportunity held through the European Campus of Excellence. From his experience attending in the summer of 2017, one can gain a lot from the program. It is an interesting summer opportunity for anyone to consider to advance their learning in various fields. Contact the writer  with further questions on the opportunity.



My name is Muhammad Awais and I am from Pakistan. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering & Technology Taxila. After my undergraduate degree, I joined InnoEnergy Double Degree Master´s programme of Environomical Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems (The specified item was not found.) powered by European Institute of Innovation & Technology. Being a part of this Master´s programme allowed me to gain knowledge and practical experience in a multicultural and technically diverse environment. The first year I was based in UPC, Barcelona.

Being my first summer in Europe, I decided to complement my holidays with both studies and traveling. Therefore, I applied for different energy related summer schools and ended up joining a European Campus of Excellence (ECE) course titled “Energy Systems in Transition & Sustainable Mobility” at the EPF Lausanne and the ETH Zurich, organised in collaboration with the Swiss Study Foundation. It was a three week summer school (11th June to 1st July, 2017) divided into two fundamental themes corresponding to two locations. EPF Lausanne was focused on energy system modelling (1 week) and ETH Zurich was focused on current and future mobility as well as its influence on climate change and spatial planning (2 weeks).

Motivation for Applying to This Program

Recently, the energy sector has been considered responsible for some of the most pressing societal challenges, such as climate change, resource depletion and local air pollution. We are currently facing unprecedented challenges in replacing the current fossil fuel based energy systems with a more secure and sustainable resource supply. To mitigate these problems, new energy efficient technologies need to be developed and diffused. To that aim, policy makers and the end users play a vital role in accomplishing these goals.

In this modern era, energy systems are entering a transition period as they progressively integrate intermittent renewable production, energy storage, electric mobility, demand-side management etc. Energy supply will thus need to be decentralized and more integrated. For decision makers to be able to take informed decisions, it becomes increasingly necessary to gain a holistic comprehension of the complexity of these future energy systems, as well as on the evolutionary pathways from today’s paradigm.

ECE Journey Experience

In EPF Lausanne, a comprehensive view on the modelling of energy systems was provided by the team of modelling experts, specialists and energy economists. Intensive lectures were delivered until early afternoon with the aim to learn techno- and macroeconomic modelling tools to design energy systems and climate policies, followed by the research project work of few hours. Our project’s goal was to produce a complex machine learning model for free-floating car sharing operators in order to maximise  the profits. The business model was presented for a particular European city in order to incorporate more details in future research detailed data.

In ETH Zurich, high quality lectures from research specialists were delivered with the emphasis on transport-related energy consumption, which constitutes around 40% of  Switzerland’s total final national energy consumption. Therefore, more efficient drivetrain and energy conversion technologies are essential to the transition in the current transport system, promoting more carbon free means of transport. The course equipped us with the expertise to find the environmental impact of personal mobility and freight transportation as well as the impact of different transportation modes; drivetrain technologies and settlement types and decarbonisation in mobility.

ECE Summer School Journey

Learning from the ECE Journey

The journey of ECE summer school enabled me not only to learn from the peers and field experts but provided a unique setting to collaborate and build a network across Europe. The major takeaways include awareness for the urgency of future energy challenges together with the comprehension of energy issues. The summer school was a complete package of studies, site visits and weekend leisure trips. Thanks to this summer school, I had a chance to visit:

  • Grimsel power plant, dam at Raterichsboden
  • IVT department ETH Zurich (for energy efficiency in railway operations: from train driving to railway traffic control)
  • a local inspection excursion trip of Zurich to understand interdependencies of mobility and spatial development
  • BFH CSEM Energy Storage Research Centre (which develops lithium technology based energy storage solutions for all kinds of applications in transportation)
  • Prosumer Lab (a smart home simulation environment for e-mobility integration)
  • Evolaris (a fully electric acrobatic airplane) with a guided tour
  • energy research at PSI
  • Beznau nuclear power-plant (where  we were able to see both the high level & low level waste together with the control room and guided tour)


In short, the whole summer school journey was an awesome and life-changing experience complemented with lectures and practical sessions, visits to energy facilities and research institutes. 


This summer school is a complete package in terms of traveling, studies and gaining ample knowledge on current energy related topics. The application period generally starts in the middle of February. Since Swiss Study Foundation is responsible for organising the sponsored summer school, they gather sufficient funds to organise the summer school for the following three years. As June 2017 was the third year of the continuous streak,  the Study Foundation will once again start the fundraising process for the next 3 years, which means that the next Summer School will be in 2020.


By Muhammad Awais

In Collaboration with The CommUnity Post



CommUnity Post Review Team: Rafael Martins, Brendan Abadie, Tara Trafton