The next researchers on wind generation design

International qualification programme funded by the European Union meets in Kiel

Implementing the energy transition requires innovative technical solutions developed by well-qualified professionals. The aim of the EU project "WinGrid" is a top-class, transnational education for young scientists. The doctoral programme provides up-to-date knowledge from science and industry to build reliable and efficient wind power plants. Next to universities and industrial partners from the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Israel, Kiel University (CAU) is the only university in Germany participating. Early stage researchers from all over the world are meeting in Kiel for a multi-day workshop with lectures, practical exercises and company visits until 7 July. The programme is funded by the European Union as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions with around 4.3 million euros. It is led by the University of Warwick, England. 

"Switching to renewable energies is an international challenge"

"The energy transition cannot be achieved with the current shortage of skilled workers. More over switching the energy production completely to renewable energies is an international challenge that does not stop at national borders. Therefore we set on a close and transnational cooperation between science and industry to train the next generation”, explains Marco Liserre, Professor of Power Electronics at the CAU and host of the meeting in Kiel.

The programme WinGrid includes academics, industrialists and consultants from several countries to train early stage researchers in both software and hardware, exposing them to current issues, projections of future ones, and industrial secondments to enrich their expertise. A central prerequisite next to an excellent academic performance is the willingness to be open for new perspectives: For doing their Ph.D. the participants not only change the university after their studies, but also the country. Stays at other research institutes or companies and scientific schools lasting several days are also part of the programme. Here the early stage researchers meet at one of the partner institutions, present the current status of their work and learn about the research approaches on site. By visiting companies of the region ranging from wind turbine developers, transmission system operators, power system analysts and renewable energy consultants they get to know important players in the energy transition. At the same time the network meeting of the project consortium takes place.   

Investigating the interaction of wind turbines and the electricity grid

The focus of the meeting in Kiel is the role of power electronics in feeding electricity from wind turbines into the power grid. "What happens to our power grid when we integrate wind plants? We want to investigate, understand and improve this interaction to ensure a stable and efficient power supply," says Dr. Marius Langwasser, co-ordinator of the WinGrid programm at Kiel University. The central technical interface are power electronic components such as "smart transformers", which the Italian-born Liserre has been working on for many years, since 2013 at the CAU. In a power grid with decentralised producers and consumers of energy such as wind power and photovoltaic systems or charging stations for electric cars, the demand for and the supply of energy is constantly changing. The intelligent transformers are supposed to help regulate these fluctuations and ensure a reliable energy supply.

Two of the fifteen participants of the international programme are doing their Ph.D. under the supervision of Marco Liserre at Kiel University. "Professor Liserre is an internationally renowned expert in power electronics, which is why I chose Kiel," says Ziqi Zhou, who studied electrical engineering in China and is now working on finding effective and economic solutions to damp the sub-synchronous resonance based on wind farm system. "I like the international approach of the programme and working with people from all over the world," adds Anuradha Mudalige from Sri Lanka. To receive the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Sustainable Transportation and Electrical Power Systems he has already studied in England, Spain and Portugal. Now he is working on controlling HVDC connected Wind Power Plants for providing fast inertial response. "Coming from the coast myself I enjoy that here in Kiel, too."

About the project funding:
  • Title: WinGrid: Wind farm – grid interactions: exploration and development
  • Partner: Aalborg University (Denmark), Imperial College London (United Kingdom), Kiel University (Germany), Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), University College Dublin (Ireland), Tel Aviv University (Israel), DNV Netherlands (Netherlands)
  • Funded by: European Union
  • Funding programme: Horizon 2020: EXCELLENT SCIENCE - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
  • Funding volume: 4.290.017,04 Euro (505.576,80 Euro for Kiel University)
  • Duration: 1.10.2019 - 31.03.2024

Scientific Contact:

Prof. Marco Liserre, PhD
Chair of Power Electronics
Kiel University


Group picture
© Julia Siekmann, Uni Kiel

At the workshop on Kiel, participants in the international doctoral programme "WinGrid" learn about the research on power grid integration at Kiel University and about regional companies in the energy industry. © Julia Siekmann

Two men in front of a chalk board
© Julia Siekmann, Uni Kiel

Professor Marco Liserre, host of the meeting in Kiel (left), welcomes the participants at the Faculty of Engineering, together with programme leader Professor Xiaowei Zhao from the University of Warwick. Some members of the project consortium attend the meeting digitally.

[Translate to English:] Gruppe Menschen vor einer Vitrine
© WinGrid

Getting to know the scientific infrastructure and the local culture of Northern Germany: A joint excursion took the PhD students to the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology ISIT in Itzehoe and to the Multimar Wattforum in Tönning.

More information:

Website of the training programm WinGrid:
Website of the EU funding:


About Kiel Univerisity's Priority research area KiNSIS:

The nanoworld is governed by different laws than the macroscopic world, by quantum physics. Understanding structures and processes in these dimensions and implementing the findings in an application-oriented manner is the goal of the priority research area KiNSIS (Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science) at Kiel University. Intensive interdisciplinary cooperation between physics, chemistry, engineering and life sciences could lead to the development of novel sensors and materials, quantum computers, advanced medical therapies and much more.


[EN] Pressekontakt:
Julia Siekmann
Science Communication Officer, Research area Kiel Nano Surface and Interface Sciences