ENSYSTRA: Energy Systems in Transition

    • ENSYSTRA is a PhD-training program funded by the European Union (EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks). As part of the project, the doctoral students are trained in methods of scenario analysis and energy system modeling as well as open science in an interdisciplinary environment. The study area is the North Sea region as a 'living lab' for the energy transition from fossil to renewable energies.

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    Project term:

    01.01.2017 to 30.09.2021


    System Integration

    Project leader:

    Head partner:

    University Groning / New Energy Coalition Groningen

    Collaboration with:

    Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands, Aalborg Universitet, Denmark, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Universitetet I Stavanger, Norway, Chalmers, Tekniska Hoegskola AB, Sweden



    The ENSYSTRA project is a PhD-training program funded by the European Union within the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks  (MSCA-ITN-2017).

    The network puts together a study of key energy technologies and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation options in the North Sea region in terms of (techno-economic and sustainable) potentials, system integration modelling (of the electricity system and the energy system at large), and spatial aspects at different spatial scales (from the European to the regional energy system and their respective interactions). It includes political and social drivers, as well as market and energy infrastructure issues. The network combines collaboration between different disciplines, modelling arenas and relevant energy industries and regional authorities. The network and the combination of its expertise, tools and data provide a diverse and rich learning environment for a pool of Ph.D. researchers, who are  trained in a program with ample possibilities to collaborate between the different projects and partners involved. The ENSYSTRA training network not only targets pressing questions regarding the governance of the energy transition, but it also provides a knowledge basis, methods & modelling frameworks, expert pool and network that will remain important for decades to come. This will be important for the North Sea region, which constitutes the main focus area of this program as well as for other comparable regions, both in Europe (e.g. the Baltic region and the Mediterranean) and in the global arena.


    In the ENSYSTRA project, the aim is to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR’s)  in state of the art science of energy systems transition, scenario analysis and energy modelling tools and methods. The overall objectives of the ENSYSTRA project are:

    • To advance the methodological and modelling capabilities of the energy system analysis field by building on state-of-the-art methods and modelling tools, by enhancing model (and methodological) collaboration, and by enhancing linkages between different relevant disciplines as well as academia, applied research and industry.
    • To train ESRs in a strong interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral perspective on energy transition, with strong insight in the linkages between different science fields and methods.
    • To provide ESRs with key skills and competences to apply interdisciplinary analysis and state-of-the-art science in an industrial, governmental and applied knowledge institutes setting. Such a profile of the ESRs will enhance future career opportunities in different sectors.
    • To establish long term collaboration in the field of (energy) systems analysis between key partner universities
    • To create and strengthen the linkages between academic disciplines (cross- and interdisciplinary approach), industrial sectors and government bodies which are relevant to support the energy transition process of the North Sea region.
    • To create wider impact on relevant scientific arenas that come together in energy system integration and transition management, both from a methodological perspective, as well as with the aim to advance academic teaching in these areas.
    • To contribute to better accessible energy science based on open -source, -data, -access and –knowledge,and to train ESR’s in the practice of open science.

    To achieve the objectives, the PhD-students in this project have access to a rich  set workshops, summer schools  and scientific courses. In addition the students will work in close cooperation with relevant industry partners.

    Workpackages at the Europa-Universität Flensburg

    The EUF holds the workpackage lead for the modelling projects of ENSYSTRA and will host two PhD-students that will be working on open source energy system modelling. Specifically the following two topics are covered:

    1. Modelling dispatchable loads in interlinked power, heat and transport models
    2. Simulation of sustainable pathways of the EU-28 energy system

    In addition the EUF will provide open science sessions in workshops and host a summer school for interdisciplinary (open source) modelling in 2018.