American University of Beirut

AUB partners on integrating energy efficiency and renewable energy in higher education

​Sally Abou Melhem <>, Office of Communications

AUB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering hosted the second steering committee meeting of the Erasmus+ HEBA project on November 15 and 16, 2018. The purpose of this meeting was to plan and follow up on on-going and future seminars in the European Union (EU), titled “Training of Trainers,” that are related to energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE+RE), as well as the setup of EE+RE laboratories in MENA partner institutions. The meeting was endorsed by the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources at AUB and attended by representatives from the project’s partner universities in Austria, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. 

The Erasmus+ HEBA project aims to increase the teaching and research capacity in the field of EE+RE at six universities in Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. This comes in response to global environmental challenges and in support of the MENA policies oriented at saving energy demand in buildings and industry, and increasing the use of renewable energy. AUB and the Lebanese University are key partners on the project in Lebanon. All the ministries for environmental affairs of the involved countries are adopting new environmental policies and programs. The HEBA project is also aligned with the larger framework of the external policies of the EU in which energy is one of the high-priority areas defined in the recent EU strategy “Agenda for Change.” 

Higher education institutions in the region have launched various academic programs on renewable energies at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The current programs will benefit from enhancing the ability to integrate true multi-disciplinarity into the curriculum. The courses, modules, and adapted curricula are to be based on the particular needs and challenges of the building, industry, and energy sectors in the region. They should also provide insights into implementation of research results, development and deployment of new technology, and encouraging entrepreneurship. 

Partners of the project in the MENA region will draw from the European countries’ long experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy in terms of technical capacities and useful policies, monitoring of process and consumption, training of experts, and promoting an eco-friendly approach among the different final users. AUB’s role is to ensure the achievement of HEBA objectives through developing, updating, and elaborating the relevant course syllabi in its Applied Energy Master Program and didactic materials for HEBA modules, especially the industrial sector. AUB is also participating in the “Training of Trainers” seminars in the EU and will integrate HEBA’s training on various aspects of EE+RE in existing AUB curricula and in the design and set up of the EE+RE laboratories at AUB. 

This project highlights the necessity of collaboration between different disciplines within the field of efficient energy. The international dimension of such collaboration is essential for broadening the shared knowledge base, multiplying the network and bringing about quality outcomes in terms of training the next generation of renewable energy specialists. This link to the industry and private sector, according to the project coordinator and director of the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Nesreen Ghaddar, will in turn contribute to creating jobs and generating growth, innovation, and investments in sustainable use of natural resources and cleaner technologies, resulting in energy and resource efficiency and a low carbon economy.

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