March 6, 2024

UCalgary panel promotes energy literacy and 'real dialogue'

Schulich Connects event provides new insight and fosters networking
A panel of four people
From left: Kerry Black, Aggrey Mwesigye, Sara Hastings-Simon, Bryan Helfenbaum. Samantha Lafleur

The Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary recently hosted a breakfast aimed at enlightening attendees about the future of energy. 

The Feb. 29 Schulich Connects session, Engineering Energy Solutions, featured a panel of experts, including UCalgary professors, discussing energy, developments in energy tech, and energy additions. 

The panellists included Dr. Aggrey Mwesigye, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringDr. Sara Hastings-Simon, PhD, associate professor in the Faculty of Science; and Bryan Helfenbaum, MBA’07, associate vice-president of clean energy at Alberta Innovates. The moderator was Dr. Kerry Black, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and the Canada Research Chair in Integrated Knowledge, Engineering & Sustainable Communities.

Helfenbaum says events like these are a wonderful way to promote knowledge about energy. 

Energy literacy, across the board in Alberta, in Canada, is not where it needs to be,” he says. “There's a lot going on in the energy space right now, and there's a lot of rhetoric, some real, some false. And so bringing some experts together and engaging in real dialogue is so important.” 

Mwesigye says this can lead to key partnerships. “It's an avenue for us to interact with people from the private sector because most of what we do here at the end of the day needs to be adopted,” he says. “It's adopted by people in industry, it's adopted by people in government. So, that interaction is key and crucial to the work that we are doing.”

Hastings-Simon says this sort of event can also help researchers open their eyes to issues industry faces, helping them understand and solve those issues.

I think that having information and having connections also between academic researchers, and between folks in industry that are working directly on these problems, are all really important so that we stay up to date on what's happening and also really understand what are the challenges that industry is facing that can help influence the questions that we as researchers are asking,” says Hastings-Simon.

Schulich Connects is a regular series of panels aimed at faculty, featuring events every few months. The series is sponsored by TD Insurance.

For information on the next Schulich Connects event, visit the program’s web page.

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