Win-win situation for an EU funded research project and MBA students
A current example from the MBA Energy Management of the WU Executive Academy perfectly illustrates the difference research-led teaching can make not only for the participants themselves, but also for the advancement of innovation and society in general: The results of an EU-funded research project to facilitate the financing of international projects fostering energy efficiency flow directly into the curriculum of the MBA. In return, the participants share their knowledge and their systemic understanding of the interrelationships of the global energy industry, which they gain through their holistic education, with the research project team - a win-win situation for all.
The structures of energy supply and demand are in transition. As the world searches for more sustainable energy solutions for a growing population, energy efficiency and investments into new renewable energy projects become increasingly important.
However, potential energy project developers and financers face barriers regarding the accurate assessment of energy projects’ feasibility and achievement of investment security. This represents a major challenge for a development towards a more sustainable energy future as this uncertainty of both investors and developers may lead to delayed or discarded investments in projects relevant to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
Within the EU financed HORIZON 2020 research project E-FIX, a team of WU researchers led by Jonas Puck, Professor for International Business and Academic Director of the MBA Energy Management of the WU Executive Academy, intends to address this gap within an international consortium of 14 partners with financing and energy expertise from six countries from Central and South Eastern Europe (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland) and the Caucasus (Armenia and Georgia).
The goal of the project is to develop a toolkit for the assessment of such projects based on the most recent scientific knowledge and relating to recently developed innovative financing mechanisms: credit lines for energy performance contracting, crowdfunding models, and leasing models for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The project started in March 2018 and lasts until February 2021.
“On the one hand, the knowledge we accumulate within the project is directly transferred into the courses of the MBA. Project members also gave visiting presentations to our MBA students, taught classes, and supervised MBA theses’ of participants. On the other, the project strongly benefits from the input we receive from participants, as they usually have a profound understanding of global energy markets“, says Jonas Puck. In order to develop successful renewable energy projects and to understand the paramount role of energy efficiency for a sustainable energy future, it is crucial for decision makers to have a holistic understanding of global and local energy markets.
Prof. Jonas Puck
The issue of energy supply has long ceased to be a regional one. However, energy has become a global phenomenon that one cannot deal with unless one is aware of the big picture and understands how the individual pieces interrelate and interconnect. Even small changes in sectors of the markets can have a global impact. Fluctuations in oil and gas prices, for example, have an effect on the demand for, and hence the prices of, renewable energies.
Subject-matter expertise not only in the area of renewables is becoming more and more important. But for the next 20 years, there will continue to be a need for fossil energy, so here, too, making sure that well-trained experts are being brought forth is essentail. And this is exactly what the MBA Energy Management is doing.