Niall Grant shares his experience of travelling to Bucharest earlier this year for the RE-SERVE Exploitation Seminar and Project Meeting.
Bucharest, a busy city with a variety of historical buildings and monuments dedicated to significant moments in Romanian history, was the city to host the seventh RE-SERVE project meeting and my very first.
RE-SERVE is one of the many research projects that are a part of the Horizon 2020 initiative. The goal of this particular project is to simulate and plan for an electrical grid which receives 100% of its power from renewable energy devices that can exist in a multitude of locations. Ranging from a wind farm to the solar panels of a private home, this project involves collaboration with various education and business institutions from all over Europe. Those present at the conference were representing businesses including Ericsson, Transelectrica, ESB Networks, GridHound and FEN which were working with various third level institutions like UPB (Romania), Politio (Italy), UCD and WIT (Ireland).
While I have represented the TSSG in various meetings around Ireland, it was certainly a first for me to represent TSSG in a foreign country and to do so alone was exciting. I was happy to undertake the travel as it provided an opportunity to finally put a face to the voices I had heard on numerous telephone conferences. It was also an opportunity to learn about other interesting projects that the partners have planned or are working on. Some obvious concerns did arise such as being unsure about what to expect from a meeting like this. Thankfully that concern was mostly deterred due to a combination of past experiences with other meetings and the advice given by the team leader, Miguel Ponce De Leon. I encourage anyone with questions or concerns about an upcoming trip or meeting to relay those queries to someone more experienced and, if possible, don’t leave it to the last minute; allow time for any follow up questions.
The first day commenced with a self-introduction from each member present, before we dived into the projects’ exploitation seminar portion of the conference. The goal of this seminar was to consider various developmental factors which might be of interest for private businesses and not necessarily for research projects. Everyone was split into one of three groups and each group had a certain goal they had to plan for. I was assigned to a group focusing on the idea of creating a spin-off company from the RE-SERVE project. We quickly realised the need to identify various factors we had never considered in the research project, such as the target customer, hardware requirements, types of employees, competitors and more. We had interesting discussions on the idea and it certainly helped conversation flow through various members.
The second day involved an overview of the various work packages involved in RE-SERVE. The scope of the project is rather large so, to make it easier to manage, the numerous tasks that are expected of RE-SERVE are grouped into work packages. Meetings such as this one I attended are used to showcase the work that has been accomplished since the previous meeting and to highlight the tasks to be completed before the next one. Some work packages are more theory based, which involve considerable amounts of writing and research papers, while other work packages involve the testing of these theories using simulations and live field trials.
Once this overview was completed, points were made about how RE-SERVE will come to an end in mid-2019. Planning for the final review and advisory board meetings became the main task for all work packages and suggestions were made on what to produce and present. We agreed on our final tasks for the project bringing the 7th meeting of the RE-SERVE project to a close.
I would encourage anyone in my position who is undertaking the next step in their career and representing their company abroad to take some time to explore what your host city has to offer. Shortly after the conference ended, one of the project partners who is living in Bucharest became my personal tour guide and brought me on a whistle stop tour of Bucharest. I was brought to local hotspots, shown hidden gems that are off the beaten track and discovered more about the city that I could ever have imagined. I was surprised to learn how this city has survived world war bombings, lived through a monarchy that lasted for centuries and all the while celebrating 100 years of independence. Bucharest…I will be back.
Written by Niall Grant, Bucharest, Romania, 10th – 11th October 2019