All Posts in EIT Alumni News
In June 2017, three new enthusiastic and talented alumni were welcomed onto the EIT Alumni Board, excited to build on the solid foundations created in 2016.
The Board of the EIT Alumni is made up of four members representing the four existing EIT Community Alumni associations, namely: EIT Digital Alumni, Climate-KIC Alumni Association, The CommUnity by InnoEnergy and EIT Health, supported by an EIT representative. In the near future, the alumni associations of EIT Raw Materials and EIT Food will also appoint a member from their own alumni board to represent them as part of the EIT Alumni Community.
The first EIT Alumni Board was created in May 2016 as a means of strengthening the EIT Alumni community, shaping its future, and fostering collaboration between the KIC alumni associations. Importantly, the EIT Alumni Community creates a real and effective link between the EIT and EIT Community students and innovators.
In its first year of operation, the role of the EIT Alumni Board has primarily been to create an effective governance structure for the community and to hold added-value activities for members. As this initial period comes to an end, the EIT Alumni Board can now focus on increasing levels of collaboration between the KIC Alumni groups, and work on building a strong community, which supports and enables its members.
The new Board for 2017
The new board members hope to bring a fresh burst of energy to the EIT Alumni Community and are excited to build on the strong foundations established by the previous board in 2016.
- Our new EIT Alumni president for 2017 is Falko Döring, Community Manager of the CommUnity by InnoEnergy
- Our new Vice-President is Esmee Kooijman, current Secretary of the Board of EIT Climate-KIC Alumni Association
- Our new Community Manager is Francesco Bonadiman, current President of the EIT Digital Alumni
- Our new EIT Representative is Laurent Roux, Entrepreneurship Officer at the EIT.
- Our Treasurer continues to be Antonio Martinez Millano, the EIT Health representative.
While the original board may leave big shoes to fill, our new board members are certainly up to the challenge!
Thank you to the previous Board
Of the original five board members , we say farewell to four of them:
- Our former President, Estefania Tapias (Climate-KIC Alumni Association),
- Our former Vice-President, Borce Stojkovski, (EIT Digital Alumni Association)
- Our former Treasurer, Claudio Geyken, (The CommUnity by InnoEnergy)
- Our initial EIT Representative, Nadja Dokter, Head of Strategy and Impact team
These initial Board members have put a great deal of time and effort into setting up the EIT Alumni Board and we would like to thank all of them for their great work and commitment to the EIT Alumni Community.
For more information on the new board members, check out our Board Page
On Friday the 12th of May, we launched the first of our profiles of 'Inspirational EIT Community Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs'
These profiles are designed to highlight some of the great and successful women in our community, to inspire a future generation of women entrepreneurs, and to create a buzz around the opportunities an entrepreneurial education can offer.
Unfortunately, it is true that there is a gender imbalance in the field of entrepreneurship. We hope that these profiles will be one small step towards improving this!
Without any further ado, allow us to introduce Estefania Tapias, current President of our EIT Alumni Board and former President of the Climate-KIC Alumni Association!
Our next profile will be posted on Friday the 2nd of June. Keep an eye out!
During the course of 2017, EIT Digital will meet former Master School students and ask them why they chose their programme and how they see their professional future. Last week they met with Andra Lungu.
EIT Digital Master's Students
EIT Digital Master Schools offer two year programmes in 19 of the best European universities, providing ICT and entrepreneurial training. Every year, 500 graduates join the alumni network and begin a career in the best European and international companies and organisations.
Andra is a student from Romania who joined the Cloud Computing and Services (CSS) Master after a bachelor degree at Bucharest Polytechnic University. She tells EIT Digital about her learning and experiences during the two years of her Master's.
What studies did you do before joining the EIT Digital Master Schools programme?
I started studying Computer Science in high school as I was good at maths, so it was quite a logical path forward. I then passed my bachelor degree at Bucharest Polytechnic University in Computer Science. The content of the programmes at the University were technical and I graduated as an engineer in 2013.
How did you come across the EIT Digital Master Schools programme?
An assistant professor at the Bucharest Polytechnic University recommended the EIT Digital Master Schools programme to me when I was searching for a Master's programme after University. The Cloud Computing and Services (CSS) Master had all I wanted from a Master programme and offered me the benefit of studying abroad in both France and Germany.
What motivated you to join the programme?
I liked the idea of experiencing two different cultures in the course of my study. It was also a challenge, as I knew the French language but not so much German. To me, it was the opportunity to discover new cultures and work in two different countries.
Can you tell us about your experience as a student in France and Germany?
Université de Rennes 1 in France was a great start to my studies, the programme manager, Stéphanie Halochet, did a lot to help foreign students set up in France. She was a bit like a second mother, helping us with administrative work and day-to-day issues. Rennes is a small city and to me, coming from Bucharest, it was fun and unusual to have people recognizing me in the streets, like in a village.
During the Summer School in Finland after the year in France, I was able to develop a personal entrepreneurial project based on information and big data, which helped for my second year in Berlin.
My second year at the Technical University of Berlin was even busier. I didn’t suffer from the language barrier as people spoke English and Berlin is an international city. At the time, a lot of startups were being created and I felt right in the middle of the buzz.
The EIT Digital Master Schools taught me entrepreneurship as well as competences in my field of research. In the first and second year, my project was about big data, so logically I joined the startup « Flink » to work as a research assistant during my studies. It was great to work in a team of startupers and get both academic knowledge and business experience at the same time.
During the programme I liked how we could combine startup ideas with technical courses in a fun way. In Bucharest I just studied engineering, with EIT Digital I could also get into the business side of technology. It was also very interesting to compare evaluation methods in Rennes and Berlin: The French academic system is more theoretical whereas the German academic system is more practical.
What did you learn about yourself during your studies?
I learned that I can face cultural challenges, become friends with other Europeans, and I learned to become independent by working and studying at the same time.
What have you done since the Master's programme?
After the degree I came back to Bucharest and joined Orange to work for a project in big data - my job consisted of developing methods and tools to analyse data from phone networks. I am now working for Adobe on a gateway project: we develop a bot to detect anomalies and work on algorithms in machine learning.
Do you wish to move again in Europe?
Yes, I would like to travel again, but maybe not just in Europe. I can envisage America as a next adventure. Silicon Valley next, who knows?
Why would you recommend the EIT Digital Master Schools?
In this programme you meet people from all around the world, with very different backgrounds, you experience the challenge of working together in the same project.
Joining the EIT Digital Master Schools means joining a huge network of alumni and friends from all over Europe. I still have good friends and many great memories of events, the graduation ceremony and of our Summer School in Oulanka (Finland).
In conclusion, I would recommend the Master's programme as it is a great experience which allows you to go out of your comfort zone and discover new cultures, as well as study in the best European Universities. With my experience at the startup « Flink » and my year at the Technical University of Berlin, my CV was very attractive for the big tech companies I have worked for.
It is a unique personal and professional experience.
Article taken from EIT Digital. Original author - Alexis Poulin
2nd annual meeting of the EIT Digital Alumni a triumph.
On the 20th of March, EIT Digital Alumni held their 2nd annual community meeting, this time gathering in Brussels. The idea was to create a memorable and exciting platform, a forum for discussion, a journey for the alumni.
They aimed to inspire. They succeeded.
The event began in the late hours of the 19th. As the last rays of sun shining on the Grand Place were slowly eclipsed by the towering steeple of the City Hall, alumni assembled in the square for a night of networking, sightseeing, lively conversation and (we can only presume) the sampling of a few Belgian beers.
The next morning, fresh faced and ready to collaborate, the alumni streamed down the thin winding veins of Brussels town centre. Their destination? The European Parliament; the heart of Europe.
After a stirring tour of the site where unanticipated exits are taken and passionate speeches are given, the alumni were transferred back to the Egg, suitably inspired.
After a quick registration, the alumni were treated to a keynote speech from the unconventionally captivating Mills, the co-founder of ustwo.
His key points?
- Follow your passion! Don't let anyone say you can't do it. Live your dreams. If you have an idea, dare to pursue it. Don't be afraid of what other people think about it. JFDI!
- Know that it's going to take all your time!
- Embrace succailure. Learn from your failures. Use them to mould you into the person you want to be.
- Love your 'fampany'. Companies shouldn't be about the individual. It's all about the collective, looking out for each other and growing together.
After a tasty bite to eat, the participants reconvened for a panel discussion from three illustrious figures of EIT Digital. Willem Jonker, the CEO, Anders Flodström, Chief Education Officer, and Edna Ayme-Yahil, the Head of Communications, took to the stage offering a fine balance of personal insights and practical advice to spur the alumni forward.
The latter half of the event was given to presentations delivered by alumni, for alumni.
Reports from board members on successful events gone by, plans for the future, and new intriguing opportunities were intertwined with the presentations of alumni working groups, eager to display and discuss their new initiatives and the benefits they would bring. Not only to their alumni family, but to society as a whole.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Almost 24 hours after the initial Grand Place reunion, alumni had the chance discuss the day’s events, mull over ideas and reinforce new bonds.
So as you can see, the event was, by all accounts, legendary!
EIT Climate-KIC's ClimateLaunchpad competition is your ticket to European and global success. Provided you have a green business idea and have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. (As EIT Alumni you should be one step ahead of the game!!)
Your idea can be an innovation in renewable energy, a sustainable transition in the food chain, a mind shift in urban mobility or any other way to tackle climate change.
Train. Compete. Launch.
How it works
To enter the competition you submit an idea or innovation that can make environmental impact. The climateLaunchpad will help you fast track that idea into a business and bypass all possible pitfalls along the way. You’ll learn how to get your idea funded and launched.
Once you are selected to join ClimateLaunchpad, the Boot Camp and coaching sessions will help you develop your idea to a rock-solid plan. You will pitch this during your National Final. The top 3 winners of each national competition will go on to compete in the Grand Final.
Even if your idea is on the back of a napkin, you’re most welcome to join. National Juries select the best proposals to join the National Finals.
Climate Launchpad countries
In 2017 the competition is open to participants based in Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom (England: Birmingham & London), and Ukraine.
Some of the deadlines are in the next few months, so get involved now! You don't want to miss your chance.
Once you’re accepted into the competition, the games begin:
Step 1: Boot Camp
ClimateLaunchpad kicks off with a 2-day Boot Camp in your own country. Trainers will teach you all you need to know about jumpstarting your business.
Step 2: Intensive coaching and National Finals
The Boot Camp is followed by a period of intensive coaching. You’ll perfect your pitch, value proposition and business model. We’ll make sure you are ready to rock the National Final where you get to pitch in front of your National Jury. The Top-3 of each country enters the Grand Final held in October in Limasol, Cyprus.
Step 3: Grand Final in Cyprus in October
The Top-10 competitors in the Grand Final will get direct access to the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator, the renowned business school where great ideas grow into great businesses. On top of that there is also prize money. The overall winner of the Grand Final receives € 10,000, the runner up gets € 5,000 and the idea that comes in third place wins € 2,500.
All other National Finalists who made it to the Grand Final get a chance to pitch their idea to the review board of EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator. Impress them and gain access to their programme.
You have been challenged, join the competition. But before you do, make sure that you:
- have not yet started a business or you started it less than one year ago;
- have no substantial revenue;
- have attracted no more than € 200,000 in investment;
- have not yet sold products, solutions or prototypes on commercial terms.
For more information, please check the FAQ.
All good? Don’t miss out: enter your idea by filling out our application form.
ClimateLaunchpad. The world’s largest green business ideas competition.
We have finally, officially published our EIT Alumni Yearbook for 2016!
This looks at some of our highlights of 2016, including the Start-up days event, EIT Alumni Connect and various cross-KIC events and workshops.
These events offer a unique opportunity for sharing knowledge and experiences, discussing entrepreneurial ideas with fellow students/alumni in a cross-disciplinary way and finding partners for exchange of ideas and potential collaboration.
Want to know more about the EIT Alumni? Read about our events and much more in the 2016 EIT Alumni Community Yearbook!
you can also check out the image gallery from the EIT Alumni Connect event at INNOVEIT 2016 here!
If you have any questions or want to let us know what you think, leave a comment below.
Follow the EIT Alumni Community:
Are you a studying in a EIT labelled-educational programme? Or you have already graduated and you would like to keep in touch with the community and connect with the other EIT Alumni? Join the LinkedIn group at http://linkd.in/1b8pfme .
Nothing tops finishing up your master’s thesis with a feeling of a job well done. Except perhaps making a major discovery AND winning a prestigious award! EIT InnoEnergy MSc EMINE student Alicia Raftery did just that when securing the honourable Sigvard Eklund award for 2016.
The late nuclear physicist Sigvard Eklund dedicated his life to utilising nuclear energy for peaceful purposes – and his foundation carries on that tradition. This year Alicia was one of proud winners receiving their award at the SKC (Swedish Centre for Nuclear Technology) annual symposium in September 2016 in Hindås.
Alicia shares her passion for nuclear energy with us – and how EIT InnoEnergy has been a big part of the picture.
Always having an interest in nuclear fuel fabrication, during a 3-week nuclear fuels course at Cadarache (part of her master’s study) it just clicked. She reached out to KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) to obtain a master’s thesis position in their nuclear fuels lab. This hands on experience allowed her to develop this possible new fuel concept – also the theme of her thesis, “Fabrication and Characterization of UN-USix Nuclear Fuel”.
Working closely with KTH PhD student supervisor, Kyle Johnson, she created a composite nuclear fuel of uranium silicide and uranium nitride using a relatively new sintering method called “spark plasma sintering” (SPS). The project was a great success in the fact that a high-density fuel pellet with enhanced thermal conductivity was created, but it also uncovered a new “unknown” ternary phase. “Westinghouse is going forward with the next step of irradiation testing the fuel in the US, putting the fuel in a research reactor to see how it behaves”, explains Alicia.
Kyle submitted her thesis for the award, recognising the significance of the results. “She was an incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and thorough young scientist – who always willing to get her hands dirty (not something just anyone does in a nuclear fuel lab).“
Alicia already felt like a winner, having received a scholarship from EIT InnoEnergy for the entirety of her master studies. “The EMINE programme exposed me to a wide network in industry and academia, both in Sweden and France.” Excited to begin her PhD studies in January 2017, she’ll spend the first two years studying in the US and the second two years in Belgium. “I think the high level of education I received in the EMINE program definitely contributed to my acceptance into this PhD position.”
She is currently working at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, gaining experience at a national lab before going on to graduate school. When asked what the future holds, “I’ve really enjoyed studying in an international environment. I see myself as a project manager on international collaborative projects.” But what continues to drive her passion in the field of nuclear energy? “I consider nuclear energy not only to be the most practical energy solution, but also endlessly interesting. And I am a true victim to the notion that my contributions to nuclear research will make a real difference in the world.” It’s clear to see she is already on her way. Congratulations on the discovery and award!
Taking place in six cities, two hundred EIT Alumni and Students will be uniting on the weekend of 2 to 4 December 2016 to create a positive impact through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The EIT Alumni Startup days is a community building initiative that enhances cooperation across the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities. By bringing together graduates, researchers, developers, young professionals and start-up enthusiasts in 6 cities across Europe for a 54 hour event, we connect a global network of entrepreneurs and innovators.
The event will be taking place in Barcelona, Berlin, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Paris and Stockholm and will kick off on the 2nd December, lasting 54 hours and finish on the 4th December. Challenges addressed by the participants will come from corporate sponsors, companies within the local innovation ecosystem or EIT Alumni members wanting to expand and seek help for their start-up propositions.
The second edition of this pan-European event builds on the successes of the inaugural Startup Days, which saw 170 participants develop concepts, network and enhance vital cognitive and team working skills. From last year’s event, ideas were conceptualised such as; bridging gaps between farmers and people who live in the city; a dictionary for hand gestures; to solving water pollution by utilising micro-algae.
EIT Digital has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) course on the online learning platform Coursera.
This is the third Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) EIT Digital has placed on Coursera, as part of a planned programme of over fifteen courses due to be published this year.
EIT Digital introduced the Software Architecture for the Internet of Things MOOC, which was developed in cooperation with iMinds. The course is also employed in an innovative ‘flipped classroom’ approach. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures at home, and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor, which is quite the flipped or opposite situation of ‘regular’ on campus courses. The MOOC is part of a bigger online programme called ‘Internet of Things through Embedded Systems’.
"This programme will provide access to the on-campus EIT Digital Master Programme in Embedded Systems for bachelor students all over the world,” says Martijn Klabbers, Online Education Activity Lead at EIT Digital. At the end of the online programme, students can get a certificate, and at the end of the blended programme (including the online part and the on-campus program) students receive the same double degree and EIT label as regular on-campus EIT Digital students. Klabbers adds that professionals and people with other degrees can join in the MOOC as well. “EIT Digital innovates in digital education, building upon, and improving the reputation of European Universities of Technology. It does so by transforming existing courses at these universities to an online format and demonstrating the excellence of these courses. These courses are part of the regular Master Programme, and the transformation includes the active participation of European universities.”
The courses on Coursera are offered by more than 140 institutes, like Stanford University, Princeton University, Eindhoven University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Sapienza University of Rome, University of London and Lund University in Sweden. If learners want to join and apply for the on campus program, they need to purchase the Coursera certificates for all courses (50 euro per online course).
EIT Digital expects to launch more courses on Coursera in the near future, Klabbers reveals. “Soon we will launch a follow-up about Internet of Things. In August, we will launch the first course of a series about System Validation. Also we are working, in cooperation with the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, on three courses about Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Furthermore, there is an Advanced Computer Architecture series from the Technical University of Berlin to be released in the same time period. Next year a similar programme on the topic of Data Science will be published on Coursera and open for learners all over the world.”
EIT Digital has already offered two other courses on Coursera in cooperation with Åbo Akademi University and Eindhoven University of Technology. These are, respectively, Development of Real Time Systems and Quantitative Formal Modeling and Worst Case Performance Analysis, which will have follow-ups published soon.