Masters graduate: ‘Climate-KIC has opened up unexpected opportunities’

After completing the Climate-KIC Masters programme and summer school, Olivier Membrive is now doing a PhD in climate science. His doctoral work takes place at the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory at École Polytechnique near Paris and focuses on the remote sensing of methane.

Olivier studied Ocean, Atmosphere, Climate and Spatial Observation at UPMC in combination with Climate-KIC’s programme, graduating with his Climate-KIC certified Masters degree in 2013.

Q: What extras did Climate-KIC bring to your Masters degree?

I found the courses great because if I had done my degree without Climate-KIC, I would just have had a standard French-oriented climate science degree. Now, a broader international network has opened for me.

I know people from different backgrounds and different countries from all over Europe who are motivated about innovation for climate change mitigation. It has made me more open to the idea of entrepreneurship, which I wouldn’t have a clue about otherwise because I have a physics and science background.

It has broadened what I can do now and has opened opportunities that I wouldn’t have expected to have. I really think it’s great to have joined Climate-KIC because it has added real value and broadened the opportunities I have.

Q: What do you think is the benefit of your Climate-KIC qualification for future employers?

If they hire students who have been through the programme, they can be sure that we have worked in international teams because that’s what we did in the summer school.

We had to work on projects with students and accommodate different cultures and different backgrounds.

That’s the added value of Climate-KIC: it creates both young graduates motivated about climate change issues, but who also have a real international background they can use straight away.

There are many students that haven’t had the chance of such an international experience.

Q: How did you find the involvement of Climate-KIC’s partners in the programme?

One of the sessions that I really remembered and liked was during the summer school. I was in the Netherlands and we went to Delft and had a talk from Deltares, which is one of the Climate-KIC partners in the Netherlands.

It was about life in deltas. They told us about their vision of how to do climate communication and how to make it sustainable. They are a big company and they presented to us what they do.

For every sector in the company and every project they have, they try to make it sustainable and to project what would be the impact on the climate. They went through how to implement it at the size of a big company.

It was good to have this interaction as it showed that even they run into difficulties. We were working on a start up project within the summer school – we had to develop an innovation project and work together as a team to present a business plan and to learn the processes of how to write the business plan and present it.

Having this lecture and seeing a big company reflect in the same way as we did over every project – it made it more real.

Q: Would you recommend the Climate-KIC programme to others?

Everything it brings you is more than what you could expect at the beginning. There are skills I developed with Climate-KIC that I would never have had the opportunity to develop otherwise.

It gave another point of view that I didn’t have in my studies, it gave the entrepreneurship point of view, which really added value to what I did in my Masters.