New EERA Chair: Ready for a low carbon Europe

So as of today (3 May @18:00) I am the new Chairman of EERA, The European Energy Research Alliance. It is with great enthusiasm and awe that I enter into this key position in the European energy research landscape together with the Vice Chair Brigitte Bach of AIT.

  • What is EERA? EERA is a Public research alliance that brings together more than 175 research centres and universities, working together in energy research to build on national and European research initiatives. EERA is a cornerstone in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan).

Big shoes to fill

EERA was formed in 2008 to create greater momentum in energy research in Europe.

The key objective of the EERA is to accelerate the development of new energy technologies (Photo: Shutterstock)

The chairmanship has shifted from The Netherlands (Ton Hoff, CEO of ECN) to Denmark (Henrik Bindslev, head of RISØ) further on to Finland (Erkki Leppävouri, CEO of VTT) and to France with Herve Bernard from CEA.

Big shoes to fill indeed, and by their chairmanship we have established 17 joint programmes with research in energy and EERA is a legal entity under Belgian law.

Last year we also installed a full time Secretary General in EERA to manage the activities with our excellent secretariat. Rue de Namur 72 is where our offices are and in true European spirit there is a diverse mix of nationalities here.

So what is my plan?

Having established the foundation of EERA we will now work closer on the strategic positioning and delivery of EERA. We are delivering true excellence in our Joint Programmes and it is now time to integrate the knowledge from these programmes and deliver on the Set Plan objectives in R&D.


We are well underway in doing this by contributing to the implementation plans of the 10 actions in the SET Plan. This means a more holistic approach which also aligns with the SET plan countries various instruments.

EERA can also deliver on cross-cutting issues, some of them are already embedded in the joint programmes.

Key issues are transport, smart cities, smart grids and the consumer

Transport is key for Europeans and we know that we will transform mobility into a service driven by zero emission technologies. This is also interlinked with smart cities, where we have a joint programme and not to forget smart grids and a consumer oriented energy system.


I could go on and then it would fall natural to discuss all our 17 programmes- it is all interlinked in the backbone of our society – energy.

EERA will also consider being a platform of Pan European tools and data for better understanding of the European energy system and how it will perform under various policies and scenarios. As a third party entity we can offer a neutral platform for sharing data and tools.


And, did I mention the international collaborative arena? Well, this is something I want to discuss with our Executive Committee, how can we make a difference to boost further international co-operation for instance under the Mission Innovation initiative.

Doubling energy R&D funding

Many European countries are members of Mission Innovation and EU is a member.

The target of doubling energy R&D funding from 2016 to 2021 is a right step in leveraging energy R&D to address the most imminent issue our planet is facing- global warming.

The inspiration from the Paris Agreement is clearly to motivate such efforts and I am eager to explore how we can help in this respect together with our ExCo and co-ordinated with our main assets- the Joint Programmes.

I attended COP21 in Paris. What happened there was a huge source of inspiration for me. (Photo: COP)

So watch out for EERA- past efforts have made it possible to leverage our impact and to deliver on the SET Plan objectives. With 17 Joint Programmes, 175 members from 27 countries we are ready to make a difference in the European energy landscape, co-ordinating energy research for a low carbon Europe!

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