Insider's Guide to Energy

95 - Collaboration at the Energy Science Center of ETH Zurich

October 31, 2022 Chris Sass Season 1 Episode 95
Insider's Guide to Energy
95 - Collaboration at the Energy Science Center of ETH Zurich
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week Chris is joined by Dr. Christian Schaffner, Executive Director of the Energy Science Center (ESC) of ETH Zurich in Switzerland.  Dr. Schaffner discusses the ESC’s inter-disciplinary work facilitating the collaboration of the education, research and industry sectors in bringing cutting edge solutions to energy related issues. 


Busy at the moment as you might of course understand with ah energy being such a hot topic. Ah yeah, we're I shall I put it. We're struggling to meet all the demand in terms of media request in terms of. Ah, research ideas Etc. So um, yeah, a lot is happening but it's good. Yes, It's good. It's all good, but sometimes I have the feeling that we are not everywhere. Um, how like. 




Well cool and it's a good time to be talking. 




Meeting our standards of quality because it's just too much but that's how it is yeah. 




Okay, well I won't record that that we won't play. That's probably not so helpful. Um, so if you recall from our conversation the way the interviews work is it will be a conversation. So 




Ah, still yeah, boom. 




Um I will start by just saying welcome the insider's guide to energy today with me is you know Christian Schaffner from ETH and then we'll just have a conversation I think what would be good to talk about in the conversation is a little bit about you. 








What your role is and what's happening at eth because I see a lot of activity there and then we talked a little bit about how you are also working with the business community as a liaison between that How the partnership or the models that work for the energy industry specific with Ete ha in the industry right? because I think that that's. 




Um, no. 




Pretty much the gist of what we wanted to communicate through this interview is that aligned or what you recall. 




Um, yes, absolutely no, That's great. That's great. Um, yeah. 




Okay, and then what will happen is we'll just have a conversation I'm trying to get about 30 minutes give or take a content so we might record like 40 minutes at the end of this when we're done. There's 2 things that will happen. 1 Is I'll have you do 1 or 2 sentence promo that we'll use to promote the episode. So basically you would just say your name and that you're from eth in your title and that you're you know you're listening to the podcast and we'll use that as promotional piece to help get that going and then after that I'll stop recording and. Very important that you don't disconnect until after the episode is uploaded so there's 3 files that we need to get because it's all cached locally on your pc for example, I'm sitting in a hotel room right now in London. So if the internet gets a little flaky. The interview should still be okay because it's cash locally and so we'll do that at the end. Um. 




Um, okay. 




I see yeah because that was 1 question because I see your image kind of pixelated but I guess that's that doesn't matter than exactly no yeah. 




Yeah, but it should be okay in the final episode because literally I'm on hotel wifi I'm sitting in the Marriott in the middle of London right now. Um, but since we're at 1243 we probably need to be a little bit expedition sometime and so what I suggest is. 




Um, yes, maybe then what one last technical question about my background I didn't really think about the background that looks a bit. 




It doesn't really do backgrounds on the the application. That's why you see these interesting hotel art behind me as well. It is what it is. 




Okay, so that's not that doesn't matter. Okay, that's it. Yeah, I mean that was just things that are happened to be back on my desk. So okay. 




It doesn't matter I think it looks actually looks pretty good. Actually, so I think because it's got the map and the drawing and things are kind of interesting. So, I think its yeah, but I think I think it's good. Yeah, I think it looks good. Um, so in the interest of time I suggest that we go ahead and start. 




If it's fine with you then then I'm talking so you have to tell me. Yeah, let's do that. 




Um, so I'll go ahead and introduce you and then just have a conversation and if we get to something where I ask just a really ludicrous question or 1 you don't want to answer you can call it timeout this is a recording. This isn't a live interview. So, if I do something that's like ah let's not talk about that or whatever. That's okay and we can edit it out. Okay I. 




Um, absolutely I won't be surprised if there is anything I might there might be areas where I say I don't know but that's ah also and that's also a message and that's also yeah, yeah. 




Yeah, that that's fine I But it's truly. It's truly a conversation answering what you say So but yeah, like I said it's don't be afraid to if I go somewhere, you really don't want to go. It doesn't hurt my feelings and just we can edit. Okay, let's go ahead and start. 




Very good. 




Da chip. Great. 




Welcome to insider's guide to energy I'm your host Chris sass and I'm excited to have with me today is Christian Shaffner from eta ha Christian welcome to the program. 




Welcome Thanks for having me. 




Well, it's an exciting time to have you here I know you and I have been talking for some period of time we're both located in Zurich and um and the paths cross quite a bit in the energy market. Um I think it probably makes sense although I know really well who you are audience doesn't so maybe. If we step back and start by introducing who you are professionally and what you do that might be really good for audience. 




Yes, absolutely so. Yes, I'm the director of the energy science center here I did take zik. It's a competent center for energy research and education also outreach. So, we do large research consortia we run them. We initiate them. We lead them. We also do education as I said we have a master program continuing education programs and then we do outreach meaning large um events symposia for example, 1 we have in December. But also workshops within industry those being single point of contact at e d Zurich for and energy research questions. 




And from being in Zurich I don't think at this I just happen to be in Zurich but I meet a lot of your students your graduate students and people and a lot of the start-ups and some of the interesting companies we've had on the podcast over the last couple of years seem to be somehow associated with the university. So How does that happen. How does this institution have so much reach in the energy market and so many start-ups. 




Right? I mean we have Eth we always see education and research very closely linked and I think this is one of the core values that we share at et that also helps to have this integration just give you a couple of examples. Ah, when we have our Masa program with young student's masters students coming in from all over the world. We actively engage with them. We have them at workshops we have them also um, working together with us. Ah, we also even use them as experts when we do continuing education so we have when we have external industry partners coming in. We use our younger students to help us experts. Ah for these older people coming from different areas. So we really try to integrate education research and also the interaction with industry. And then also at the energy science center we try to create this community so we always invite industry partners. We always invite students. We have workshops together and really try to create this platform where this exchange can happen. 




Um, just. 




And you're saying your younger students are experts. So how does a young person just in school become an expert because that that seems kind of ah a reach so help me understand that. 




Right? right? I mean that the point is ah for example in our continuing education programs. We quite often have ah industry people that have a long-term experience but not necessarily are energy experts. Might have a manager experience that might be Ceo or cs but they might not understand energy in all of the details if we have students at ek that already come with a bachelor degree. Normally they are at the one of the top schools here at Dth. So they know much more about energy already while they are still studying than the students add than the professionals. So this is an exchange that's happening and it's actually happening both ways so we have the students knowing a lot about energy and then we have the more senior people knowing a lot about industry and um. Ah, management etc and this is quite fruitful and I mean you were mentioning start-ups I mean 1 idea behind this is of course also that we kind of like already in early stage bring the students to these ideas of how industry works how and the different companies could gauge or even like how a start-up cut. 




And is that part of the program I Know for example, had friends at mit and they had some discretionary funds as a master student there to do a start-up It was sum money that was allotted that they could use does et H have a similar type program for energy students. 




Could be created. 




There are many programs. It's not necessarily money that we provide we provide support in terms of different and like venture programs etc. There's also an eager spinoff organization eh transfer that helps young start-ups. And then what we do as end she signs and is really more connecting the dot. So, if a student a student approaches me and says like okay I would like to work somewhere in this area I can provide them with contact into industry into administration as well like policymaking etc and then help them create their network and that's. Valuable I would even say maybe a lot more than just money because it will actually help them get the right people into their discussions. 




And then talking about the right people, right? and Sue if I look at the industry Today. It's transitioning we started on our pre-call and you said man, it's really busy right now with all the craziness going on and energy. Um, how is that impact How is the University getting more active. Because of the European Energy Market, the conditions in current and European Energy markets. 




There are a couple of ways we're doing this and actually this these activities have started even before the energy or potential energy crisis. Ah evolved where we clearly said that we as ah, et we as. 







Institution we have a role to play also like talking to society talking to to public and talking to late people and there we do many things 1 thing that we started is that we say okay, let's have an exhibition. And this is actually happening in this December in the et edge main hall where a full week of exhibition where we show in in in like we try to show how the energy system will evolve or could evolve ah from now to 2050 and you can physically see how the different energy carries move from the today systems into the future system. So, this is one way of doing to just invite the public here. We also have a collaboration with ah the facaius house in Lucerne that's one large um museum or exhibition that. Is happening all the time and in in in Lucerne where like um, ah, actually over well actually more a couple of 100000 visitors every year and its really families getting there and there we together with them. We create an energy exhibition as well. That's not just one week but then actually being ah. Ah, permanently there so these are ways to interact with with the public and then there are all other ways. For example, 1 thing we just launched today or actually launched two weeks ago but today we have the kick-off is ah the energy now initiative where we did ask all our students. 




If you think about a potential energy crisis. What could be solution to either try to avoid this crisis or if we actually run into the crisis. How to intelligently manage the crisis. So, this is an initiative where we invite industry partners to come out as mentors and then have the students. Um, to come up with ideas on how to solve it and this is a very short and term and initiative only eight weeks we hope to get a few prototypes at the end of these eight weeks so that is another example of how we interact both with students with industry and also with the administration. 




And I've seen that right? So for the couple of years, we've had a number of producers. We have a number of episodes are produced by some of your alumni and have been very engaged in the industry and they've landed in amazing roles throughout the energy business. Um I guess what comes to mind is with the sudden interest in the world of energy. How is the program or is the program scaling up so you're working with business but the demand for amazing talented people with advanced skill sets is continually growing right? I don't think that it's it's linear I think it will may be linear but it's a steep slope of what we need. Um. How is the university responding to the industry's need and are you scaling up and is the talent poll there also to scale up. Are there enough students to fill that if you scaled up. 




Absolutely so it's a very good question I don't have a very good answer at the moment. So, our program can easily scale up but I would say maybe not exponentially but linearly over the next years we still have to see the effects. There because it has a time delay so we haven't really seen the effects yet because there was also covid effects so we can't really say if the numbers really go up but ah, the brain ri itself could definitely ah scale what we try to do at et is really I mean top rated as always. Ah quality. So, we want to have the best students when they start so we select um ah from a large pool of applicants. We actually select the best to actually only be able to start the program and then also make sure that they get the best education so that's our focus. But it doesn't mean that we shouldn't scale I mean as you said that there's a big need and what we do see at the moment is that all the students they have very good or even excellent and chances to find ah an excellent job as well. So, and this as you said is increasing because we hear it from all the interesting partners, they are struggling. Finding good people finding experts. So, I think it's something we have to see in the next year somehow this evolves. 




We talked about in the past you and I have had conversation about the industry partners and some consulting work and things that your team does. Ah maybe you give us an example what that is so our audience basically generally is mid to senior managers or and energy companies and so maybe they're if they're not aware of your program. How would you describe someone in the energy industry of how they would partner with eth and how these students might bring value to them. 




Right? So ah, there are many ways to engage. 1 thing we do is a course actually that we call case studies in energy science there we do ask industry expert our Agency Partners excuse me what are. Challenge that you're facing at the moment where you maybe don't have answers right now and maybe also a challenge that is not doesn't have to be solved in in two or three months but maybe in in one or two years and then the industry partners like write this down on 2 pages. And then we present this to the students and the students then can select these challenges if they like them and they have 1 year time ah to actually answer these questions the first half years or the first semester they will just look at the proposal decide on how to tackle the problem. How to actually come up with a work plan. So It's also training for them in terms of project management in terms of project cooperation and then the second semester they actually do the work and do the analysis and come up also sometimes with prototypes sometimes with reports. And that's a very interesting interaction between the students and the industry partners because on one side industry partners. They will get a very nicely written report or analysis or prototype about their issue and the students early on in their studies have this interaction with industry partners do understand what real-world problems might look like. 




And also get contacts because quite often we see then students moving into this industry or to these companies as internships or even as their first job. So it's also great again like creating this platform for this transitioning from the students into their professional life. 




And then what level of employee is working with the students. Typically what who who's on the energy company side or the company that's partnering In. You know the director level are they senior people are they more operational people whose who's working with the students typically. 




Right? Ah, that's quite different and in some companies, we do have for example, innovation as so people from innovation teams within the companies. Sometimes it's ah research and development. But. Sometimes it's even like um, very operational ah group leaders and typically's it's at the level of group leader media management people but really people with hands down issues, right? So It's not the top and ah level and. 




At the companies. It's really like some like people with project leaders etc that that work with them and the important point is really that we have people on the industry side that do understand the problem and can actually also be a spareing partner for the students. 




And then what is the economics of one of these programs right? So I mean I see the partnership but partnership probably implies that both sides have skin in the game. So how does this work. 




Ah, it's actually very simple. Ah we don't have a contract so it's really I think between the student and the industry partners to do the work. Um, it's basically for them what they need to invest is coming up with the idea. And then supporting the students and this is of course there are resources and the industry partners are providing these for free and the students do the work right? So This is basically how it works there. There are some like yeah there are some. Support. We also get for running workshops etc. But in general, it's a very low levelve engagement in terms of like how the contractual work is done or or even like ah finance-wise so it's very low, low. But um, the win is basically on both sides. So it's for us. It's a big win because we can. Gift. Ah real world problems and interaction to the students which otherwise they will not get if they would just talk to professors or to teachers and on the other hand, the industry partners can get them access to the students can actually also um, get insights that would. Otherwise maybe be difficult to get it within the organization I mean what is important to see that the students they come from all different backgrounds from all different ah cultures worldwide as well. So you get a very broad view on a topic and I think that's quite unique. 




And we're talking still pretty abstract. Do you have ah a use case or a story of a success that you could share maybe a little bit less abstract of maybe an example of how this worked. 




Ah, absolutely I mean 1 1 example that just comes to my mind when when you're asking. This question is was actually from sib cargo. So sbb is the local um train company in Switzerland right? and cargo they're running the cargo trains and. They have an issue that ah for and cooling cars. Ah so train that cars is that correct work and they use a diesel engines to cool them down and of course if they want to decarbonize they need to have a solution how to do that. And it's not non-trivial because ah typically these cars have to be maneuverred around the detector route so they're not connected to one train all the time so we have to now to think is it better to have hydrogen. There is it better to have batteries is it better to actually electrify the whole train system. So it's a quite complex question when you think about this both from technology point of view but also economically what does it make sense. So the students their job was then to analyze all these different solutions both in terms of technical feasibility as well as economic and even regulatory questions. To try to see what could be the solution there and it was very interesting to then see these different options. The answer was at the end. It's not easy as quite often. But for sbb there was a very valuable input on to think about how they want to move forward there if they want to decarvenize. 




It's okay so that that's good example. Um I Guess where do you go from here right to. We've got the programs. We've got the students. What else are you engaged in what are their activities. 




So I've talked to numbers. Yeah, go ahead. 




I mean in terms of sorry in terms of the collaboration between the students and the industry partners already mentioned that quite often that this then evolves to an internship or even like a first job. Think that's quite important so we have in our program. The um ah mandatory internship which we put there, especially also that because we think that the students need to have access to or to grow their network and industry. So this is definite definitely happening there. And then of course what we you do more and more is also then like if you put the students aside a little bit more is then have research project when we have industry partners and it goes from very small projects where we have own a couple of months a very specific question where we do an analysis or run scenarios. Together with industry partners up to very large consortia with different institutions involved twenty thirty professors where we then have industry partners being um, ah in the advisory board. For example, so helping us better shape. The research questions. But also rf was interested in indirect results there and maybe to give a concrete example we have one large consortium called puzzle finder where we run scenarios of the energy transition. 




Up to 2050 and I say scenarios because we have ah not just one but not money and try to Analyse Do the analysis of what could be feasible how it could be done with a specific focus on flexibility and sector coupling and there we have industry partners in there like siemens like and also. Amine energy solutions that actually are very interested in the results of this but also get very valuable input during the research project because they know the market. They know their technology and if we do the scenarios and of course we need to assume many things all the assumptions need to be Checked. And this is a very valuable and important and feedback we get from industry partners and the industry partners Then of course see what what's happening there. Get access to the latest developments in tools in in um, in a formulation of these problems and pathways. 




This is also very valuable collaboration. We see so it's not there, not directly involved in the research, but really ah, acting as very important for us. 




And we've been talking private sector throughout this conversation. How about policy in government is there relationships there because I haven't heard that come up yet in this interview. 




Um, yes, ah, absolutely so myself I before I became the director of the energy science center which is now almost ten years I was actually working myself at the Swiss federal office of energy. So our ministry of energy or department of energy if we want. Um. In Switzerland and so I know where well how the administration how policymaking at the end also works and that helped me a lot also of course in in my work here I did cage to help make this link between policy and science I mean that there's this policy science interface. And what we do here is that we have a lot of exchange with the Swiss federal office of energy. For example where we show them our scenarios we discuss with them our assumptions they tell us why they maybe have different assumptions and we try to do to see. Okay. Can we can we get in line there but this is this is what 1 example. So for example, the official and a key perspective and of the Swiss federal of ah office of energy we were involved in the discussion of the assumptions and we could show them why we do something different and they adopted etc. But then also um. Ah, in terms of concrete questions when it's about for example now with security of supply. We have a group here called um, research group for energy networks where we did analysis on the on the system adequacy of our electric system. 




So where we do analyze how close basically are we of a blackout which is of course now very timely and this is done here as well. So it's direct and policy input that is used then for policymaking. 




All right? So we kind of come the public sector the private sector I Guess are there Trends in what students are coming in and wanting to study so has that evolved as well as we get. The energy transition are you getting more people that want to be in the physics of it more people on you know the software Ang you Wanted. You know what. Is there really a trend or some sort of thing you see changing in the student base of where they want to go to energy in the future would they hope to get out of the programs. 




It's a very good question I'm not sure I can give you a clear answer there what we do see definitely is the whole area of data management all the way to machine learning. Ai applications. This is definitely something that is coming in more that of course we have been saying this for a while but also students realized that actually accessibility of data and then of course using this data to. Ah, make more or to create more efficient energy systems is very crucial I think this is new and I think it has a lot to do with decoverization and then combined with decentralization that the future energy system is no longer just. Basically a top-down system where you have large power units and then transmission and then distribution and then consumers. But you have really this this interlinked ah system where you have active elements at the consumer side at the transmission side at the distribution side and this all somehow has to work together. And this is quite interesting because well one thing is the so-called sector coupling right? that suddenly like the mobility sector gets very close to the damage sector. But it's also interesting in terms of disciplines and that we need to work together with um. 




Ah, computer scientists with ai specialists. Ah and this is this is quite new and interesting. So it's no longer a classical engineering just electrical engineering I think it's really much broader and I think this is what we see and that's also something where we try to adapt our program in the future years ah we have a broader range there to to provide. 




And you mentioned data science and that's always a passion of mine and using them the data um is the University getting access to data from your partners and is there kind of anonymized data for data sets for you to. 








Work with is that easier challenging for you. 




I'm not sure if this is a rhetor question or real question. But it's it's always challenging. Let's put it like this of course there is a trend as well. We see first utilities. For example, the historic local utility if it said. Have now they now have an old data site their own where they provide almost real-time data for energy consumption. But it's very um, ah, it's not very harmonized right? So we have the city of s sueg but you have data but then for the rest of swizund you don't have it. And I think this is a challenge and especially if you look at the crisis situation or potential crisis it situation that we have now I think 1 thing we realized with the covid crisis is that access to real-time data is crucial. And in Switzerland but many other countries it was clear that at the beginning when the crisis evolved we didn't have this data. We didn't know like our emergency rooms are there full or not and do we have more space or not and then only after time. Ah well. Realize that this is needed and then governments even imposed that this needs to be published etc and I think in energy we have a little bit the same situation of because it's different and more complex etc. We have a lot of privacy issues and things to be solved but at the end it's also like we realize. 




European right? that we have this crisis situation and having access to data is very important and there are areas where we do have access others especially when it goes to consumer data is not and I think there we all need to work together to make a better situation. And I think it needs the support of policymakers need the support of government but then also the industry itself utilities and network operators and even down to excuse me and science to understand what is actually needed and how for example, can it may. Made in a way that it's still anonymized and not and to not run into privacy issues right. 




Understood and the other thing I've noticed through the interview and it makes sense because e t h is Switzerland premiere universities. But what projects do you have across greater Europe right? You've mentioned you've eluded a couple corner cases and I know. Um, even from other guests I've had from mit that they will come over and go to eth for different forums and different pieces. So it's worldwide respected institution. Um, but it's a great asset here in Europe. So what are some of the things you're doing outside of Switzerland. 








Right? right? So I mean as I said we have 55 members professors and are members of the energy science center and most of them are actually involved in in European or worldwide projects and ah. 




Just to give you 1 example, there's for example, Anthony Pat where professor Anthony Pat I'm working very closely with him in many projects as well and he is running 1 right in 2020 program where we we're looking at ah European European wide net zero um a green ask gas emissions scenarios for the anderine supply. And what they did is they analyzed really the whole system not just electricity and looked at what would be different pathways that are still feasible and reach net zero and the main result was basically their money. It's not just one It's not very surprising but. But it's interesting to see and they came up with a whole tool an interactive tool where you can then actually play with these assumptions and see how it evolves so and their ethic actually played ah an important role alpha as leader of many of these projects of course now we have the issue that were not associated within Europe in the and the research program. So that's a real. Problem for eti that's very clear because historically and until recently we as ek were very strong there in in initiating and leading European programs. Yeah, and then from the energy science center director have many interactions with the Uk. With Germany with Italy France and so there are many links that we do common analysis et cetera that we're doing but it's mainly happening really in the within the research lab within the professorships. No. 




All right? So that answered that question. The other thing that comes to mind from just knowing where you guys are at and having talked to number companies. What are some of the successful companies that that have recently launched an energy coming From. Eth So. There's a number of interesting companies we had on the podcast. But what? what currently is kind of getting the buzz in the world. 




Um, yeah I guess I mean one company that not all everybody but a lot of people are knowing is climb works right? That's I think ah one of the big examples. Ah 1 technology to be able to implement negative emation technologies. Um, with all its challenges, etc. But they're a very interesting company but there are a couple of of companies that just came up that maybe are not that well-known. Yeah, and I would like to mention 2 1 is neustark and nortark is a company where they are looking at. It's actually I mean. Could even argue. It's maybe not 100 % linked to energy but it has it very strongly what they trying to do is actually create and um, cement using ahco 2 from the atmosphere so using doing a C O two sync. And with this creating a stronger cement that can be used for building so it's quite an interesting technology because in general building and buildings are co 2 intensive so they help or be able to create actually a building sector that could also go towards net zero and. 




Um, in what kind of energy. Do they use to to do that that to create that you know cement is this this? um like a see heliion type stuff that we talked about in the past or is this something different type of thing. 




Greenhouse gasses. 




Right? I mean the thing is of course they I mean the the good thing but also the challenging thing is that they use electricity. But of course, electricity is easier to decarbonize than the other processes. So the idea is really to kind of move to electricity while also um, taking c o two out of the atmosphere so creating a and negative emission solution. It needs more electricity. So of course that then goes back to how to how to provide this electricity but this is a challenge at least technically we did solve. We know how to produce electricity that is very low. Low co 2 Ah, but it needs to come together. 




Cut it. 




And then maybe the other example, it's also quite interesting. It's ethnoton written xnaton ethnoton ah they are a start-up from ethu as well where they do local energy markets so they create communities where you can trade the produced electricity from your roof. With your neighbors. You can also buy electricity from your neighbors. You can even involve storage and that's a very interesting aspect. It's both interesting from a technical point of view how to implement it has lot to do with data with measurement. But it's also interesting from a social point of view that you create this this. These communities that together they produced electricity and it's interesting that this company because we're talking about the national ah expansion if you want ah they are successful in in Austria and Germany. Not so much in Switzerland and it has to do for example with market liberalization with other things as well. But so they are really active. Ah you pinned-w white. They're quite new or young. They're a couple of years young but now it on in very quickly. So that's another example of of spinoffs and start-ups that really go out of Switzerland and have an impact European wild or even worldwide. 




Fantastic. So I think we've covered the pretty full gamut of what's going on it sounds like there's a lot happening. Um I have enjoyed talking. Quite a bit about what what's going on I you know I always enjoy finding out what's happening in our backyard since I happened to live in Switzerland and I happen to be in zurch it's always very exciting to have this right? outside the door. Um I guess from the employee's early business point of view. Um, if they're not currently engaged with you how would one of our audience members get engaged with your program then what would the steps be that they would need to do if they found out said hey this sounds interesting. Maybe we should be doing something or we're trying to solve this problem and it's a long term problem for us and maybe we engage a student. How did they get involved. 




It's actually very simple. It's just 1 step just write me an email right? So ah, did I mean it is yes. Yeah, so you find my email on webpage. That's a good thing when you're at the at the research institution right? It's all open. So um. 




So just drop you a direct email. 




I Mean it is part of my job to be the single point of contact we touched upon this before. So I think really the best is to just write me an email tell me what are your interests. What are you need and then we can see how we can how we can. Do that and yeah, and normally it's quite straightforward of course as always.. It's a question of research and the question of time both at both ends right? but I mean normally after a couple of of Steps. We always find a good solution that that is interesting for both sides and in all of these collaboration I think the best. Ones are those who were there really um advantages on both sides. Ah when situation and think if we find something like this then then it will be successful. 




And then you mentioned also that your students have a required internship. So one of the challenges I had coming as an American over and working with Swiss University students is they have very little free time when they're actually in school especially at eth because they seem to be very diligently working on their studies. So you know it's. 








Which we want them to yes e. 




It's unlike the us where you might do work and go to school. It seems like in Switzerland people tend to go to school and then do internship as an internship in my experience. A lot of the students. So how long is this mandatory internship that they normally take. 




Right? So the the minimum is twelve ah weeks. But normally it's it's ah like four to six months that they're spending in an industry. Yeah with an industry partner and then it's full-time so during this instantship. It's really full-time. 




And yeah, it's a little bit of a different system. But yeah and and for the students I mean what is interesting is always ah if they can find um, ah in the chips where English is is being used. Because we have a lot of international students and they sometimes have a hard time finding ah an intership position because they don't speak German So whenever there's interesting partners that also allow englishpe students that helps a lot And yeah I mean if you have an open position for chip but also let me know we. Always have a channel with our students where we tell them look. There is an interesting indundship position and we can do the matchmaking. 




And then out of curiosity. How big is the student pool and how many people are doing internships at a given year is is it like a handful at a given time period or are we talking like 20 or 30 like with what's the magnitude of so there's about 40 students going out the industry so that's a pretty. 




Ah, it's about forty forty students every year better? yeah. 




Pretty good subset of students and in the program overall just out of curiosity about how many students and I think you mentioned this earlier and I may have missed that are in the the energy program. 




So yeah, it's it's a little bit burning but it's around 100 students that we're having it at it every time. Yeah. 




It's round a hundred students. Well I appreciate the conversation. Thank you for giving my audience and myself the time today. It's been a pleasure having you on the podcasters and thank you so much. 




Thanks a lot to you for having this interview I enjoyed it very much as well. 




And for our audience I hope you've enjoyed this content as much as I have I know it's content that I've been looking forward to getting out to you because the program does seem interesting and a lot of the producers or producers on the podcast in the past have come from this program. And so I can see firsthand the results and in in the passion of the students out energy that are coming out of this program. So I hope that you do reach out take advantage of the offer to reach out to Christian because I think it'll be very fruitful for you if you like this content. Please forward. It subscribe to it. Make sure you comment on it. And we look forward to speaking to you again next week. Bye bye. 


Who is our guest and The Energy Center at ETH Zurich 
Public and Private Partner opportunities and examples
nergy Policies and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy engagement
Current trends in the ETH student base
European reach of The Energy Center
ETH Energy Startups of note
How to get engaged