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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment

Bryn Pickering -

Date in FIBE: 2014-2019

Very brief history before joining: I grew up in North Wales, then moved to the significantly less hilly Cambridge to study Engineering. I specialised in Energy, Sustainability and the Environment and wrote my MEng thesis on the University's renewable energy deployment efforts.

Title of thesis plus a very short summary: "Practical Optimisation of District Energy Systems: Representation of Technology Characteristics, Demand Uncertainty, and System Robustness" My PhD covered the mismatch between district energy system modelling efforts and the reality of system operation. A key focus was on the impact of electricity and heat demand uncertainty on the validity of model results, and how methods could be applied to improve the resilience of the modelled systems. My work led to me becoming a core developer of the open-source energy modelling framework Calliope.

Why did you join FIBE?: I became interested in pursuing an academic career towards the end of my undergraduate studies, but didn't know in what direction I wanted to take my research. I joined FIBE for the partially taught first year, which gave me the opportunity to explore various aspects of civil engineering and find a niche that interested me.

How did it help you?:  FIBE offered a space to pursue my research without pressure. I was able to organise my own research, since the funding came to me directly, and was even supported to study abroad and present at conferences. I also learned about all sorts of other aspects of civil engineering, although didn't manage to capitalise on this in terms of collaborative / cross-discipline research efforts. 

What are you doing now? I am currently a postdoc in the Climate Policy group at ETH Zürich, developing energy system models to research the decarbonisation of Europe's energy system by 2050, and teaching on the topic of quantitative methods in policy analysis.