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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Energy Challenge – an interdisciplinary approach

Hydrogen economy as socio-technical challenge
Connected dots with symbols of a ship, airplane, car and H2

With the huge impact of emissions that are warming our planet, we urgently need to change the way we generate energy from fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) to clean, renewable energy. Although we know this, the energy transition is not going so fast. What are the challenges for energy transition? This summer school addresses the future of a hydrogen economy and the social-technical challenges involved. The course is meant for master students to do their first exploration of the complexity of challenges in energy transition, to get in contact with a real-time energy challenge and obtain skills in defining broad challenges into smaller research questions.

The course will start with students visiting an energy network operator and will be introduced to the challenge of shifting the supply from natural gas towards green gas and hydrogen. In the following three days, students will get an interdisciplinary introduction to this challenge by lecturers from different disciplines – technical and scientific, energy law, environmental psychology, economics and spatial science. On the final day of the course, the students work together in smaller groups and learn how to define the broad challenge into smaller research questions. Students may choose the discipline that they want to focus on. At the end of this day, the student groups present their research question to their peers.

Practical information

27 August – 1 September 2023

Groningen, the Netherlands


(including lunches, coffee, bike rental (for 2 days) and closing reception)

€ 270

Please note that students from ENLIGHT universities are eligible for the same fee as UG students.

The Summer School has partial scholarships available for students from less privileged countries. If you would like to apply for a partial scholarship, please let us know in your motivation letter why you think you should qualify for the scholarship.

Academic coordinator

Maaike de Heij, Wubbo Ockels School



The course is for master students, with a relevant bachelor in science, economics or social science, who are interested in energy transition in general and a hydrogen economy in particular, and the challenges involved.

The course is meant for master students to do their first exploration of the complexity of challenges in energy transition, to get in contact with a real-time energy challenge and obtain skills in defining broad challenges into smaller research questions.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Course schedule

Lectures with interactive discussion on topics such as

  • What is hydrogen and how to make the energy transition?
  • What is the public perspective on energy transition and specifically the use of hydrogen?
  • What is the economic perspective on hydrogen as a new energy source?
  • What are legal challenges related to hydrogen?

Excursion to:

  • Gasunie, an energy network operator, to learn about the challenge the company is facing of shifting the supply from natural gas towards green gas and hydrogen.

Social events

  • Welcome drinks and city tour
  • Closing reception/dinner

Read the full course schedule.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  • explain and discuss various dilemmas and policy options related to energy transition;
  • apply insights from different academic disciplines on a challenge related to energy transition;
  • reflect on the complex dilemmas in energy transition using the complementary insights from the various disciplines;
  • further define the challenge into a smaller research question


  • Preparation: 10 hours
  • Lectures: 32 hours
  • Presentation: 14 hours

Upon successful completion of the programme, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 56hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Introduction to Lecturers
Prof. Dr. Christian Zuidema

Prof. Dr. Christian Zuidema

My research and teaching come together under the heading of 'Planning for Sustainable Tranformations'. Following my PhD work on environmental planning, I increasingly engaged with topics such as sustainable urban management and integrated energy planning. My research interests also include theoretical work on governance renewal, post-contingency, adaptive planning and decentralisation. I am and have been involved in numerous international research projects, notably on the topic of Integrated Energy Planning.

Prof. Dr. Goda Perlaviciute

Prof. Dr. Goda Perlaviciute

My key research interests lie in public evaluations and acceptability of energy sources, systems and policies; and which factors influence these evaluations and acceptability judgements. I focus on theory development and applying theory in addressing acute environmental and energy problems. My teaching involves both bachelor and master courses in environmental psychology, as well as masterclasses and trainings to practitioners and decision makers in the energy domain.

Prof. Dr. Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani

Prof. Dr. Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani

After my PhD on “High efficiency energy systems based on biomass gasifiers, SOFCs with Ni/GDC anodes and gas turbines” at TU Delft, I continued working on the topic and became Professor and Chair of Energy Conversion at the University of Groningen. I am supervising research activities related to the development of fuel cell systems with a special focus on Gasifier-SOFC integrated systems. I run a laboratory for hydrogen and fuel cell systems and supervises several PhD students and post- doctoral researchers. I teach courses on hydrogen, fuel cell systems and thermodynamics of energy conversion.

Prof. Dr. Machiel Mulder

Prof. Dr. Machiel Mulder

My research and teaching focusses on the economics of energy transition. As an energy economist, I have been closely involved in the analysis of energy issues for many years, looking at topics such as energy economics, energy policy and energy transition. I supervise several students, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. I also teach in several bachelor and master courses, including one on Economics of Regulating Markets.

Prof. Mr. Dr. Lorenzo Squintani

Prof. Mr. Dr. Lorenzo Squintani

As Professor of Energy Law, my research and teaching ginterests include EU substantive law and EU environmental, energy and climate law. In addition, I am Director of the Wubbo Ockels School for Energy and Climate at the University of Groningen, which mission is to work together for a greener and fairer energy transition and climate policy. I am also founder and member of the managing board of the Like!Me Living Lab which studies how to improve the effectiveness of public participation practices in the field of energy and environmental matters.

Dr. Maaike de Heij

Dr Maaike de Heij

Scientific coordinator of the Wubbo Ockels School

Mr.Dr. Daisy Tempelman

Mr.Dr. Daisy Tempelman

I am lecturer on Legal Issues in the Energy Transition at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. I wrote my PhD thesis "Alternative Gases and Liability" on liability around green-gas feed-in and hydrogen blending.

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter, clearly stating why you want to join this summer school, what you will bring to the school and what you hope to learn (max. 1 page)

The deadline for application is 12th of June 2023.

Last modified:25 May 2023 10.13 a.m.