Geothermal Training Programme

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  • The mandate of the UNU Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP) is to assist developing countries with significant geothermal potential to establish groups of specialists in geothermal exploration and development by offering specialized training for professionals employed in geothermal research and/or development. UNU-GTP also offers a few successful candidates the possibility of extending their studies to MSc or PhD degrees in geothermal sciences or engineering in cooperation with the University of Iceland.

    The six-month training programme at UNU-GTP is an integral part of the MSc programme, which is then completed at the University of Iceland in the form of lectures and thesis work according to faculty agreements. Completion of the MSc degree, awarded by the University of Iceland, is expected to take about 18 months in addition to the six months at UNU-GTP. The PhD programme is based on a similar arrangement.

    Focal Points

    The focal points for this programme are UNU-GTP Director Dr. Ingvar B. Fridleifsson and Deputy Director Ludvik S. Georgsson.

    Purpose

    The aim is to assist developing countries with significant geothermal potential in building up groups of specialists that cover most aspects of geothermal exploration and development. With strong groups of specialists, the countries should be able to harness their indigenous geothermal resources, thereby helping to provide a reliable base load, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessen reliance on imported energy, bring electricity to the rural poor and possibly lower electricity/heating/cooling prices.

    Approach

    Transfer of deep knowledge on geothermal issues is achieved by offering MSc/PhD fellowships to selected fellows who have shown outstanding academic performance and an interest in pursuing further studies, and who are supported in their endeavours by their institutions/utilities.

    Gender

    Out of 28 MSc fellows who had graduated as of June 2011, only one was a woman. This is due partly to fewer women showing an interest in the studies than men. An improvement is expected in the gender ratio as the proportion of women entering the Programme is rising. Some of the women who have pursued advanced degrees at the UNU-GTP/University of Iceland have been mothers who have left their children in the care of their family at home during their studies in Iceland. It may be that family situations discourage women in some cases from pursuing prolonged studies in Iceland.

    Target Audience

    The MSc programme is open to a limited number of former six-month fellows who have an excellent academic record and show an interest in pursuing further studies. Likewise, the PhD programme is targeted towards former MSc fellows who have shown outstanding academic conduct and willingness to pursue a research project that will be of value to their home institutions and the geothermal community in their home countries.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Furthering knowledge in an academic field
    Target: Former six-month and MSc fellows working at agencies/utilities and earth science institutions responsible for the exploration, development and operation of geothermal facilities in developing countries.
    How: By offering MSc/PhD fellowships to selected individuals. Funding, accommodation, study facilities, and general support is provided by UNU-GTP while fellows undertake their studies at and receive their degrees from the University of Iceland. Through research work, fellows further their knowledge within their specific geothermal disciplines.

    Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
    Target: Former six-month and MSc fellows working at agencies/utilities and earth science institutions responsible for the exploration, development and operation of geothermal facilities in developing countries.
    How: By offering MSc/PhD fellowships to selected individuals. Funding, accommodation, study facilities and general support is provided by  UNU-GTP while fellows undertake their studies at and receive their degrees from the University of Iceland. When the Fellows return to their positions at home, they bring with them increased knowledge, which has spillover effects on coworkers, and that benefits their institutions and countries.

    Research Findings

    MSc theses and PhD dissertations are published by UNU-GTP and sent to selected libraries and former Fellows. The research findings commonly add to knowledge about geothermal systems or utilization in participants’ home countries and can be used as a basis for decision-making or for further studies. The theses are also available on the UNU-GTP website, http://www.unugtp.is as are other UNU-GTP publications.

    Policy Bridging

    Over the long-term, the MSc and PhD programmes influence geothermal policymaking in developing countries with geothermal potential as former fellows rise to high-ranking positions within national geothermal institutions with strong links to governmental bodies, such as ministries. There are also specific examples of project work from MSc studies that is intended to be advisory to local power companies and governments regarding the future of geothermal utilization.

    Value Added

    The Programme increases knowledge within the UNU system on issues related to geothermal exploration and development and thus contributes to increased understanding and utilization of renewable energy resources and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. The training focuses on strengthening institutional capacity in developing countries on issues related to geothermal exploration and development. Institutions with a strong base of geothermal professionals will help putting renewable energy issues on the agenda of governments and policymakers.

    Dissemination

    The MSc theses have been published in the UNU-GTP publication series, and can be obtained from the UNU-GTP website. http://www.unugtp They are given an ISBN code and sent in printed form to selected libraries, geothermal institutions and former fellows. The theses commonly address specific aspects of geothermal exploration or utilization in the fellows’ home countries and are often important contributions to increased knowledge and further development of geothermal resources in those countries. They commonly form a stepping-stone that can later be expanded upon by the fellows themselves or others for further research or development.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    The MSc and PhD programmes are on-going programmes that take into account the needs of developing countries with significant geothermal potential that have the resolve to use this potential for the benefit of their people. As many developing countries have not taken significant steps towards the utilization of their geothermal resources, and others have displayed a need for accelerated expansion of their geothermal experts base to develop geothermal resources in a world affected by changing energy prices and global warming, it is foreseen that UNU-GTP will play a supporting role for a long time to come.

    Evaluation

    The quality of the studies is ensured by the University of Iceland. As the programmes are operated continuously with the aim of building a strong base of geothermal experts in developing countries with geothermal potential, the best indicators of success are the number of former fellows who are working in the geothermal sector in their countries, the number of papers published by former fellows in conferences and journals, the policymaking and energy vision in the countries, increased utilization of geothermal resources for electricity generation and district heating, and the contribution of geothermal to the national energy mix of the relevant countries.

  • The UNU Geothermal Training Programme is hosted by Orkustofnun, the National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA).

  • Title: MSc theses and PhD dissertations
    Author(s): MSc and PhD Fellows
    Available at: UNU-GTP in printed form; on the UNU-GTP website in printed format
    Publisher: The United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme / The University of Iceland

  • UNU Geothermal Training Programme
    Dr. Ingvar Birgir Fridleifsson
    ORKUSTOFNUN, Grensásvegur 9 IS-108 Reykjavík, Iceland
    T: +354 569-6000
    F: +354 568-8896
    E-mail: ibf@os.is