2023 IEEE Belgrade PowerTech

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SS11 Powering Together: Insights into Twinning and Capacity building Projects for Sustainable Power Systems

Wednesday, 28 June 2023
09:00 - 10:30

C - Atlantic


This special session will focus on the benefits and challenges of implementing Twinning projects in the context of capacity building. Twinning projects involve partnering two or more organizations of different countries, to work together on a project that aims to strengthen the capacity of the beneficiary organization.
Various aspects of twinning capacity building projects will be presented, including the objectives, implementation process, and key success factors. The benefits of twinning projects, such as knowledge sharing, skills transfer, and improved collaboration, are highlighted, along with some of the challenges, such as cultural differences, language barriers, and sustainability.
Knowledge transfer can take many forms, including formal training sessions, workshops, coaching, mentoring, and on-the-job training. The goal of knowledge transfer is to ensure that individuals or organizations have the information and skills they need to perform a particular task or function effectively.
Capacity-building projects are essential because they can help individuals, organizations, and communities build the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their goals, respond to challenges and opportunities, and promote sustainability over the long term.

This special session will count on the expertise of the following speakers that will present several Twinning capacity building projects, all funded by the European Union:

1) Prof. Leposava Ristic, will present the SUNRISE project, which aims to support the University of Belgrade in improving excellence in power system decarbonisation through the development of a Real-Time Simulation Laboratory, research staff training and mobility, and new exploratory research projects with partners.
2) Dr. Valentina Janev, will be presenting the SINERGY project, which aims to develop effective energy service concepts to unlock untapped demand-side resources for energy efficiency and flexibility, with the objective of strengthening the research capacity of the Institute Mihajlo Pupin in Belgrade, Serbia.
3) Dr. Brian Azzopardi, will be presenting the PROMISE project, which aims to promote research excellence and growth for photovoltaic researchers by bringing together a group of technological innovators, universities, and partners to find a place for photovoltaic research. The project will also focus on gender balance and sustainable development in the sector.
4) Dr. Derek Baker, will present the SolarTwins project, which aims to train early-stage researchers in solar energy and catalyze joint research between Turkish and European research centers. This project emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration and co-developing solutions to decarbonize industry.
5) Dr. Paulo Brito, will be presenting the Waste2H2 project, funded by the European Union, focuses on producing sustainable hydrogen from residual biomass through thermal gasification and gas purification. The project aims to strengthen the scientific and technological capacity of the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre in Portugal by enhancing their research profile, promoting a circular economy.

Overall, the presentations will provide a comprehensive understanding of twinning capacity building projects, their benefits and challenges, and best practices for successful implementation.



Dr. Oihane Abarrategi, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)




Prof. Leposava Ristic, School of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Dr Valentina Janev, Mihajlo Pupin Institute, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Dr Inġ. Brian Azzopardi, , Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) | The Foundation for Innovation and Research Malta (FiR.mt)

Dr. Derek Baker, Middle East Technical University (METU / ODTU)

Dr. Paulo Duque de Brito, Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre (IPP)



  Dr. Leposava Ristić, associate professor at the Department of Power Converters and Drives, School of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, has achieved BSc, MSc and PhD at the same faculty. Her research interests are: energy-efficient application and control of electrical drives; multi-motor and multi-phase electrical drives and power converters in industry and renewable energy sources. She is a member of the IEEE and Industrial Electronics Society, a member of the Management Board of the Society for Power Electronics in Serbia and a member of the working group KS N009 / RG-2, „Electrical equipment and systems on railways” of the Institute for Standardization of Serbia. She has been a member of the Program Committees of several international conferences, the organizer of several special sections at these conferences. She is engaged as a lecturer in more than 10 subjects at all three levels of study, she is the author of more than 80 conference papers, eight papers in journals on the JCR list, eight papers in journals not on the JCR list, one chapter in a book in English, one chapter in a book in Serbian, as well as four books in Serbian. Dr. Leposava Ristić has been the mentor of numerous master’s and graduate theses, a reviewer of scientific papers for many reputable journals, as well as for conferences. She participated in more than 15 national projects financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, as well as in many commercial projects with the Serbian industry (https://www.etf.bg.ac.rs/en/faculty/staff/leposava-ristic-2504).
  Dr Valentina Janev is a Senior Researcher at the Mihajlo Pupin Institute, University of Belgrade, Serbia; Associated Professor at the Belgrade Metropolitan University and IEEE Senior Member. She has extensive experience in research, software systems development and maintenance in different industrial domains for clients from Europe. Since 2018, Valentina Janev serves as an external expert engaged by the European Commission, Research Executive Agency for evaluation of EU research proposals and projects. She was a Coordinator of the EU project LAMBDA (Learning, Applying and Multiplying Big Data Analytics, July 2018 – June 2021, https://project-lambda.org/) and she currently serves as Project manager of the SINERGY project (Capacity building in Smart and Innovative eNERGY management, January 2021 – December 2023, https://project-sinergy.org/).
  Dr Inġ. Brian Azzopardi (BA) is co-Founder and Chairman of The Foundation for Innovation and Research – Malta (FiR.mt), Senior Lecturer II at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and Visiting Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta (UM). Since 2011, he has held senior academic and research positions in the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Malta. He has also served the industry, government agencies and ministries and research centres since 1998. He is the Coordinator of the Horizon 2020 / Horizon Europe projects: JUMP2Excel (finalised), NEEMO (current), TRANSIT (launched in Oct 2022) and PROMISE (launched in Oct 2022) and contributed directly to over €10M to affiliated institutions on projects with over €30M budget over the past decade. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and a member of The IET, EI, RSC and Chamber of Engineers. He is also the recipient of the MCST-JRC Young Scientist Award and 3rd Place in the STEM Young Researchers Award. In 2008 he received the Eur. Ing. title followed by the CEng and the EI Chartered Energy Engineer titles in 2012. In 2002, he received a BEng(Hons) from UM and a PhD from The University of Manchester in 2011. He also received teaching and pedological qualifications from MCAST (2008) and PGCHE from Oxford Brookes University (2012). Dr Inġ. Azzopardi is the editor and co-author of two books, 100+ research papers in peer-reviewed impact-listed journals and conferences, and invited speaker and the Chair of MEDPOWER2022 Conference. He has supervised over 10+ postgraduates Masters and Doctoral Candidates and Postdocs.
  Derek Baker is a Prof. Dr. in Mechanical Engineering at Middle East Technical University (METU / ODTU) and a Lead Researcher in the Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) research division “ODAK” of Turkiye’s Solar Energy Center of Excellence ODTU-GUNAM in Ankara, Turkiye. He is coordinating two EU Widening Projects. The first is the 3.5 year Horizon 2020 (H2020) “SolarTwins” Twinning Project that ends on 30 June 2023. SolarTwins aims to step-up the scientific excellence and innovation capacity of METU and ODTU-GUNAM in the area of CST through Twinning with the globally leading CST institutions CIEMAT-PSA (ES) and DLR (DE). The second is the follow-up 4 year Horizon Europe (HE) “SolarHub” Excellence Hub project that started on 01 Jan. 2023. SolarHub aims to strengthen connections between and scale-up 2 Greek (Thessaloniki and Athens) and 3 Turkish (Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir) solar energy innovation ecosystems as a single, hybrid, cross-border, and interconnected Solar Energy Excellence Hub with an emphasis on agriculture applications. Derek Baker is also the institutional Principle Investigator for the H2020 GeoSmart and HE CST4ALL projects, and a researcher on the H2020 SFERA-III project, all of which are strongly coupled to SolarTwins and SolarHub.
  Paulo Sérgio Duque de Brito has a degree in chemical engineering, Processes and Industry
specialization, in the Technical Superior Institute; has a master’s degree in “Corrosion Science and Engineering” by UMIST, Manchester University; is a PhD in Chemical Engineering, by the Superior Technical Institute in the electrochemical – on fuel cells. He has also an MBA –Master of Business and Administration.
Currently, he is a Coordinator Teacher in the Superior School of Technology and Management
of the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre (IPP). Is coordinator of the research centre VALORIZA – Research Centre for Endogenous Resource Valorization and the Coordinator of the Master Technologies for Environmental Valorization and Energy Production. The main areas he investigates are related with Bioenergy, waste environmental treatments, materials corrosion and energy galvanic production. He has published more than 250 works, in books, articles and conferences presentations.



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