DENSYS program application
My name is Iheanacho Chigozirim Marvellous and I graduated as one of the best students in the Marine Engineering department class of 2018. However, before this I had developed an ardent passion for the electric energy industry after some gruesome experiences with the delivery of electric energy in my country.
Between the months of February 2015 to June 2017, my community in the city of Aba had no electricity. For two years my family and I went through the pains of living without electricity. This was the first time I got interested in the electric energy industry. As the only engineer in the home my parents looked up to me to understand what had happened to the "electricity" and why. Researching the answer exposed me to the magnitude of the problems faced by the energy grid in my country and I considered doing something about it but I was very young at the time. However, when I heard the news of a hospital in the city of Port Harcourt that had lost 10 of the 11 babies placed in an incubator due to a national grid collapse and another case reported by the reputable Guardian newspaper of power outages during surgeries(see here: ; theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jan/07/surgery-by-torchlight-hospitals-in-nigeria-suffer-losing-power-and-staff) I decided there and then that I was going to participate in the electric energy industry in my country to ensure that things like that would not continue happening.
Suffering the economic consequences of being cut-off from grid for two years while paying taxes is endurable but seeing the "life or death" of new-born babies determined by an unreliable grid makes the problem much more critical. This is why getting the best education possible through the Erasmus Mundus-DENSYS scholarship program is the most logical "next-step" in my journey to becoming an energy entrepreneur. For most western and European applicants, the motivation for enrolling in the "DENSYS" program might be the development of a "sustainable" grid alone, but for most African youths like me it is more than just that. It is about the design and development of a grid that is not just efficient and sustainable but most importantly "reliable".
This is why the structure of the DENSYS program is at the very heart of fulfilling my ambitions; to start and run a company that builds and operates micro and Nano grids for essential services like hospitals and banks. Since the lives of patients in hospitals in Africa are dependent on the integrity of the grid, it makes sense that the hospital's source of electric power is "decentralised" to enhance the resilience of the grid and thus improve reliability. It is this line of thought that made me choose the DENSYS Master program over every other Smart grid program out there, most notably the "Smart Grid and Energy systems" program offered by the University of Bradford in the UK. While the University of Bradford's "Smart Grid and Energy systems" program focuses majorly on the technical aspects, the DENSYS program engages a more holistic approach using the "T-shape" methodology. With the vertical bar representing the development of core engineering competences and the horizontal bar representing other auxiliary competences like economics, energy business and humanities. Also the intercultural experience provided by studying in three different universities in three different countries will expose the scholar to the various local solutions to the global energy sustainability problem. This "holistic" approach of the DENSYS program will improve my chances of becoming a successful energy entrepreneur.
I strongly believe that I have the passion and the academic aptitude to successfully complete the DENSYS program. Driven by passion, I attempted to start a small solar energy installation company with a senior colleague during the summer holiday of 2016 but that effort failed because of deficient technical competence and our academic obligations. That experience created a strong desire in me to develop my technical capability, so I spent the following six months personally studying the book "Smart Grid: Communication-enabled Intelligence" by Stephen F. Bush. The books spiked my curiosity about the smart grid and emphasised the role of the emerging technologies such as embedded internet of things(IOT), Artificial intelligence and big data analysis to development of proper smart grid. During my compulsory Student Industrial Work Experience which I underwent at an engineering firm, assisting the chief-engineer maintain and operate ship power plants I spent that six weeks taking a Python programming course at a reputable IT education centre which I completed with a distinction. I took this course and other subsequent Data science courses on the internet to develop the ability to analyse big data from a smart grid. Although I was in the Marine Engineering department my passion for innovative energy solutions made my school nominate me to join a team of students to represent our school at the African Engineering Conference on Energy. Immediately after graduation, I took up a personal project on "Home energy Management" which required the understanding of embedded system, especially IOT. Over the following five weeks I took a projects-based course on embedded systems at a reputable IT hub to better understand the communication potential of the smart grid. As an undergraduate I scored maximum grades in the subjects of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics which are necessary requisites for the Master's program.
If I am accepted into the DENSYS program, it would give me the opportunity to play an effective role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number seven (SDG 7) in my continent. Also, one major aim of the European Green Deal is to work with international partners to improve global environmental standards. This program would enable me to facilitate the achievement of the EU energy objectives in my country and beyond.