Masters graduate: ‘We are the European experts on climate change innovation’

Marvin Kant is part of the first group of students to graduate with a Climate-KIC Masters degree. He took part in the programme as part of his studies at Climate-KIC partner Technische Universität Berlin, where he has completed a business oriented degree in Industrial Engineering.

He was awarded his Climate-KIC certified Masters degree at a ceremony in Wroclaw, Poland, in 2013. He is now on the board of the Climate-KIC Alumni Association.

Q: What was it that made you want to take part in the Climate-KIC Masters programme?

I wanted to experience something different from the typical teaching methods at my university, which are really formal. You have lectures, there are case-studies but I had never been, at that stage, on a learning journey. That was the catchphrase: ‘journey’ or ‘adventure’ in meeting others.

I also appreciated the international context, the different mindsets and different cultures. I come from a really diverse and also a more general background, which was engineering and business.

But I hadn’t worked a lot with real scientists, engineers and sociologists.

Q: How has Climate-KIC’s programme benefitted you?

It used different methodologies from what I was used to. It was more a learning-from-doing approach, which gave more insight into climate change mitigation and adaptation – and climate innovation in general.

I was aware of the topic, but I was not really into the topic. Climate-KIC facilitated more depth in this really important subject.

We had inspirational lectures from scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs. It was inspiring to see how other people in Europe were engaged in green technologies.

Q: How was the synergy between your university course and the Climate-KIC programme?

When I joined Climate-KIC’s Masters programme, I already had a focus on entrepreneurship, technology, assessment management and innovation.

As I’m also doing chemical engineering, my focus moved onto more sustainable constructions or processes.

In one project for my university course, I decided to do a topic that was more related to carbon emissions and carbon trading. If I hadn’t had done Climate-KIC, I don’t think I would have done it.

It was the spark to move my technical knowledge from my engineering classes more into the field of clean-tech and climate change innovation.

Q: Do you think Climate-KIC graduates have an important role to play in Europe?

I think Climate-KIC has a unique approach. There is a really big potential in Europe already in terms of more efficiency, fewer emissions and behavioural change.

I think there’s a high potential in Climate-KIC for making climate change innovation a role model in Europe, and then spreading it to countries where it could have even more impact.

It will spark businesses and start-ups that can be more innovative than big corporations and then work with them in order to spark off innovation again within the partnership.

It is also about raising awareness: as it gains more of a reputation, the community of Climate-KIC alumni can pull in all expertise in the field of clean tech and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Q: You are very active in the alumni association – what is it you do?

I am on the 2013 board – I represent Climate-KIC’s local representations, which means I get feedback from the local alumni and the local education centres across Europe and bring this to the board.

We then decide on events and on how we can support the alumni communities on a local level. We are a global community of 500 alumni and counting, but we are acting locally.

We organise regular meetings on a local level – and workshops where we invite guests, a keynote speaker, we watch a related film or see a presentation.

Later on, we discuss the topic so we actually have a benefit – either related to entrepreneurship or climate change, or to personal skill development for our future careers.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the Alumni group?

We would like to be giving the community a step up with more co-development, more content, but also gaining from Climate-KIC’s community in terms of expertise and reputation.

We will become more well-known over the next couple of years as people see that we are the European experts on climate change innovation, mitigation and adaptation.

Q: Why would you recommend Climate-KIC to other students?

I strongly recommend it if you can manage it with your study. You have the network, you gain the extra experience and there are less traditional teaching methods.

You are actually going on a journey that is in an international, multicultural and interdisciplinary context. You learn a lot about innovation and climate change and how to bring them together.