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The Energy Transition Centre opens its doors for student involvement

By Nazeefa Ahmed, December 15 2022

On November 8, the University of Calgary, in partnership with Innovate Calgary, launched the Energy Transition Centre, inviting academics, students, and industry personnel to take part in researching and innovating clean transition technologies for business. The centre will also support start-ups to commercialize these technologies to compete in the private sector.  

“Along with our partners, this one-of-a-kind initiative nurtures emerging startups and their founders by de-risking and high-grades energy transition technologies in collaboration with industry, academics, students, researchers, end users and the community,” reads a statement on their website. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet the centre’s associate director, Puneet Mannan, spoke about his role as an activating agent, stating the U of C’s role in being part of the energy transition sector.  

“My role focused on technology commercialization,” said Mannan. “I will help monetize the intellectual property assets at the University of Calgary and I will bring value back to the university so the institution has a greater role in the ecosystem than just being a post secondary institution or an academic institution.”

Mannan hopes that the centre will harness clean energy methods to add to Alberta’s oil and gas industry, thus making clean transition a collaborative effort than an opposing one.  

“Transition doesn’t mean that we are polarizing, and that we are going to be dismantling  the oil and gas industry,” said Mannan. “You will be surprised that many of the key supporters that we have on the energy transition side are the big oil and gas players, such as Suncor and PC Energy.

“Transition means that we are looking for a better way of doing what we already do well,” Mannan continued. “So, from the perspective of the oil and gas sector, it might mean that we come up with new or better ways of extracting resources from underground using, let’s say, a combination of renewable or geothermal energy.”

Mannan encourages students of all majors and education levels to get involved with the centre’s goals, from researching the social effects of energy transition to being involved in the startups that are creating the technologies. 

“Undergrad students have capstone projects in their final years and I’m making an appeal for all of them to get involved as I have a partnership with the Financial Institution,” said Mannan. “They are looking for some notable projects, research ideas, papers related to energy transition and sustainability. So some of those focus areas they would be interested in are the social impacts of energy transition, and indigenous ways of knowing. Hopefully, we will also be announcing some training and internship opportunities within the next year.”

Engineering students and other STEM majors are encouraged to attend events happening at the centre to find internship and work opportunities within their specialization.  

“Students can come to events happening in our space related to young professionals,” said Mannan. “Come over, participate in those events, and be part of the ecosystem. Try to understand what the needs of the industry are, and try to position your careers according to those needs.”

Students with well-thought-out ideas are encouraged to reach out to Mannan directly. Any other questions or queries about internships can be addressed to the general email listed on their website.

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