Advancing knowledge within the Swedish hydropower sector

Every year the Swedish Hydropower Centre provides courses for PhD students and working professionals in the hydropower sector. The goal of the course is to advance the knowledge in the field and facilitate cooperation between industry and academia.

Hydropower is a complex field and engages people with many different skill sets. The Swedish Hydropower Centre, SVC, conducts research within two overarching themes, Civil and Hydraulic Engineering and Hydropower Technology. The so-called Research Academy, provided by SVC, works to broaden the knowledge within the field for both students and working professionals. Great value lies in expanding one’s knowledge beyond your own field of expertise and the Research Academy aims to create opportunity for this.

– We wish to increase synergies between different areas of knowledge within the field of hydropower technology to support the development of new methods and expanding the network between academia and industry. Very few people have an adequate understanding of the full span of fields of knowledge, but such an understanding is useful if we are to develop the role of hydropower. Interdisciplinary research projects are an important aspect of future developments that could provide important knowledge, says Michel Cervantes responsible for the Research Academy.

Since the start of the 21st century, the need for skilled workers in the hydropower industry has increased and many of the industries workers are nearing retirement, Michel Cervantes points out:

– Much has happened in hydropower over the last 20 years. Many of the industry’s workers have been active for many years and will soon retire. We need well educated and trained personnel that can pick up where the previous generation leaves off. This is particularly a challenge now that many older power plants need to be refurbished in accordance with the Swedish national plan for hydropower and adapted to new environmental requirements. Climate change will also have an important role to play in this transition. Research is needed and here SVC has an important role to play. Through the Research Academy we also have the opportunity to further educate those already working in hydropower.

Throughout the Research Academy course researchers from SVC present the most recent knowledge and the course results in higher education credits. During a week of interesting lectures participants learn about dams and dam safety, as well as learning about structural dynamics. On the topic of rotor dynamics, the participants go over the gyroscopic effect to investigate how it impacts eigenfrequencies in the system.

Michel Cervantes stresses the importance of students acquiring a broad education:

– As a PhD student you need to be able to utilise systems thinking and apply your research in a broader context. This is why it is helpful to have a broad set of knowledge that goes beyond your own field of expertise. Such a breadth in knowledge will also make you an important asset for the power sector and you can promote and support synergetic effects between different fields of hydropower technology.

Next year’s Research Academy will be held during the fall of 2022. More information will be posted in Energiforsk’s web. You can also sign up to our newsletters to stay up to date.