Welcome to the MISTRAL blog!

We’re very excited to bring you the MISTRAL project blog. MISTRAL (Multi-sectoral approaches to Innovative Skills Training for Renewable energy And sociaL acceptance) is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) to support 15 highly motivated Early Stage Researchers in their careers. MISTRAL will be active from January 1st 2019 to 31st December 2022. This blog will bring you writing from ESRs about their work and experiences, project updates, and more! Please also …

There’s one aspect of life online that I am really enjoying: never before have I been able to jump between courses, talks and seminars spanning such contrasting contexts. We are a global village. This article grew from a fascinating panel discussion that popped up by chance in my feed. A whole open-source, publicly available, one-to-one chat – all taking place right there in my kitchen. It seems I’m not alone. Nature recently released results of a poll of 900 of …

As a PhD student, only reading books about your research topic sometimes gets tedious. From time to time, I enjoy getting my nose out of academic literature and picking up books from other genres. Recently, I got my hands on “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling. The premise of this extremely popular book was highly interesting as Rosling promised to expose all the things about the …

Last month, millions of people in Texas suffered through freezing temperatures and the loss of power due to a winter storm which knocked significant electrical generation capacity offline. Texas’ electrical grid suffered a catastrophic failure in a period when demand was surging due to the need for residents to heat their homes.Details of the technical and regulatory failures which led to this crisis have been covered by journalists and academics, and the essential summary of the complex situation is this: …

Deciding to do a PhD abroad is the start of a journey with a lot of unexpected turns. From deciding on which topics motivate you and where you want to pursue your studies, to eventually getting into a doctoral program, can be exhausting. However, if you are persistent and lucky enough, your journey can take you to places you could have never imagined. For me, it started with an email inviting me to an interview in Saarbrücken, Germany, a small …

My name is Mariangela Vespa, and I am an Early Stage Researcher in the MISTRAL project. I am a PhD Student, but above all, I am a mum. My day alternates between work/kindergarten/baby food/diapers/university. When I participated in the MISTRAL application process, my baby was just a few months old. It all went very fast, the first email inviting me to an online interview, the second one for an in-person interview in Saarbrücken (Germany), and a final email for an …

The pandemic is affecting everyone, including the MISTRAL Network. More so since our project is rooted in principles of mobility and trans-institutional collaborations and exchanges. Innovative Training Networks (ITN) within the context of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions typically include many on-site events such as Summer Schools designed to strengthen the bonds between Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and facilitate the initiation and blossoming of collaboration. MISTRAL includes three Summer Schools. The first took place in September 2019 in Belfast (see first picture). …

Knowledge Exchange and MISTRAL

MISTRAL is a publicly funded research and training programme, with responsibilities to carry out rigorous research that benefits all of society. We are committed to making a research contribution to the sustainable energy transition and are developing partnerships with a range of different stakeholders to help us do this. A crucial element of this is the way we engage with non-academic interests and exchange ideas about our research findings. This is a neglected aspect of effective research, so we are …

I cannot help but join the long list of names* to criticise academic language. Too often I see comments recommending researchers not to use words such as ‘I’, and to write in the passive tense instead, and to use complicated words to sound more authoritative, professional or academic. What frustrates me most is the impracticality of it. I am an early stage researcher and a PhD student. Even with more than 6 years (and counting) of higher education in two …

My colleague Robert Wade and I presented an overview of our draft paper “Size Matters: The Cultural Political Economy of Research and Innovation of Wind Energy” which we are co-authoring alongside researchers from the Technical University of Denmark (Tom Cronin, Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, and Cristian Pons-Seres de Brauwer). Presented at the MISTRAL Online Symposium hosted on the 13th and 14th of May 2020.