Minister Officially Launches Energy Systems Engineering Programme at NUI Galway
Monday, 28 June 2010
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan T.D. officially launched the B.E. Programme in Energy Systems Engineering today (Monday, 28 June) at NUI Galway. The new course, which will be based in the new Engineering Building currently under construction at NUI Galway, has been developed in partnership with key members of the Energy industry including; ESB, GE Energy, Airtricity, Bord Gáis, Wavebob, a wave energy technology company, and ARUPS and RPS, two consulting engineers' practices. Speaking at the launch, Minister Ryan said: "The Government has set out ambitious plans for energy, and particularly renewable energy over the next ten years. In order for these plans to come to fruition, we must seek to build on our technical expertise, and continue to add to the highly-skilled energy workforce in this country. These are the skills we need to move from our current level of 15% renewable electricity to 40% by 2020 and to develop this industry to its full potential. It is in developing a strong academic platform, with practical, on-site experience that our future successes will be guaranteed. I must commend NUI Galway and its industry partners for their foresight in developing this course, which I'm sure, will be in great demand". The strong links with industry provides the degree programme with very practical routes. The partnership will also support innovation and technology transfer, working with a cluster of energy companies in the West of Ireland including Wavebob, Eirecomposties, Enerit, and C&F Engineering. The Energy Systems Engineering programme will incorporate aspects of traditional civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, with emphasis on energy policy, economics, environmental issues and a strong focus on informatics. The programme will include a range of additional optional modules which will provide students with maximum flexibility to choose from diverse career paths. The multidisciplinary programme will culminate in integrated design projects that address the sourcing, conversion and utilisation of energy. Subjects on offer will also include strong elements of civic engagement and service learning, with, for example, student volunteers travelling to India and Africa to install solar systems. Students are also required to study a broad range of related subjects, including Economics, Sociology and Politics, and Law and Science. The current National Development Plan and Programme for Government have placed a strong focus addressing energy issues. The new course on offer has been developed to meet a range of requirements of the 'Green Tech' sector and will play a key role in the furthering the Government's Smart Economy agenda. Additionally, the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation listed energy as a research priority. The course will enhance and further support the strong energy research activity that already exists on the NUI Galway campus. Graduates of the programme will be multidisciplinary engineers equipped to solve problems across the whole spectrum of energy systems. The new degree programme can be applied for through the CAO as change of mind option. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says; "The B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway is designed to meet Ireland's future demand for graduates in the emerging energy sectors. The new programme builds on a strong tradition of engineering in the University going back more than 150 years. These energy graduates are critical to Ireland's recovery and can play a crucial role in the emerging fields of renewable energy and smart grids". Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented on the new course: "NUI Galway is well positioned to deliver such an engineering programme in energy, as it has a strong range of all relevant engineering disciplines within its College of Engineering and Informatics. The new Engineering Building on campus, due for completion next summer, incorporates many sustainable energy and environmentally friendly features. In itself, the building will provide a real-life experimental environment for students of the new programme".