One of the aim of our newsletter is to connect the members of our vibrant community. Therefore, in each issue, we introduce a member of the community who answers to some general questions and tells about his/her research. Want to be interviewed for our next newsletter? Let us know!
Meet Frank Pierie, researcher & teacher at Hanze University of Applied Sciences and University of Groningen.
Born and raised in (what is now) the Municipality of Groningen and completed the long educational journey from LTS/MTS/HTS/MSc. to a PhD last year.
Research interest: Sustainable societies, Energy transition, sustainability, modelling
Energy, since when?
So being born and raised in Groningen, energy always has been a reoccurring theme during my personal life. The first time I got professionally engaged within the theme of sustainable energy was during my professional vocational education in the field of large-scale energy production and process engineering. Since then, every project I had the opportunity to steer a bit in my own direction: it ended up focusing on renewable and sustainable energy.
You finished your PhD last year, what was it about and what now?
A central theme within my PhD research and the teaching that I have done is measuring the sustainability of renewable production pathways, using models related to energy and materials systems. Where I am now involved at both the Hanze as well as the UG in courses related to modelling and sustainable energy systems. However, this is not the only thing that interests me. Awareness is currently lacking for many actors; therefore, giving actors the best possible information in the clearest way possible can help them speed up their journey from A to Sustainable (in Dutch: van A naar Duurzaam). Often a focus point is needed where all actors meet, where they tell what is important for them, and what they require in their journey from A to Sustainable . We think we have found a possible focus point in the shape of serious gaming (www.we-energy.eu).
Where is this community of young researchers for you about?
This community provides us a way to raise our voices as a collective of young people. Young people have too little of an opinion, or at least express it too little. We are the next generation, so we should raise our voices more. By doing this rather collective than in individual practices, we create less tension between relationships of senior staff and the young researchers, but articulate the shared opinion of a group. Remember that we are talking about our future as young people not theirs.
What could be a good next step to the Energy Community of Young Researchers?
One thing that would be a good step would be to present our activities from the bottom up in a yearly mini conference: what are we doing and why are we enthusiastic about it? We could reach young people, older people, basically everyone who is interested. However, it is not necessary to talk in too complicated languages, have fancy keynotes and openings, but have a low-key event where we could improve our outreach without getting it all old and formal.
Does this also relate to what we should not?
Well, we should try to avoid that we limit ourselves too much, that we stop discussions when they start to get heated as a sustainable society is not optional but paramount for the coming generations. Also we need to become more productive in practice and less on paper. Having the interaction between the different (types of) institutions provides a great deal, but we need to make use of it.
What would be your final tip for those who are now doing their PhD?
Don’t forget to enjoy the time you are having. The opportunity to specialize yourself for such a long period in a topic you are really interested in is unique.