Perseverance and storyline key to unlock Marie Curie grants

Friday 01 Nov 19


Charlotte Bay Hasager
DTU Wind Energy
+45 46 77 50 14


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN): a network that collaborates on establishing international PhD degree programmes and industrial PhD programmes. The purpose of ITN is to support the PhD training of "Early Stage Researchers" for periods of between 3 months and 3 years through researcher training and PhD programmes at consortia comprising universities, research institutions, research infrastructures and companies from the EU. The network receives funding from the EU funding programme Horizon 2020.

The Department of Wind Energy coordinates two Marie Curie projects:

LIKE (an abbreviation of LIdar Knowledge Europe). The project started 1 October this year and supports the training of young researchers in lidar-based wind measurement technologies and their use in the industry. 15 Early State Researchers are trained in the project. Professor Jakob Mann heads the scientific section and Charlotte Bay Hasager is the manager of the project.

Train2Wind. Finding an upper limit for the size of offshore wind farms is the purpose of this project. The researchers will try to answer the scientific question: how big is an infinitely large wind farm? Here, an "infinitely large" wind farm is understood as a wind farm where the wind profile above the wind farm is no longer changed. This is investigated by measuring and calculating the effect of the entrainment of new energy from the undisturbed air above the wind farm. Professor Jakob Mann heads the scientific section and Senior Researcher Gregor Giebel will manage the project.

The H2020 programme for Marie Curie Initial Training Networks is an important instrument in furthering Europe-wide coordination of education of early stage researchers. Competition for Marie Curie funding is fierce and only about five procent of all proposals are successful. This year, DTU Wind Energy managed to succeed as the coordinator of three proposals. We talked to one of the coordinators, Charlotte Bay Hasager, about her project on the use of Lidar measurements and what it takes to write a successful proposal.

With the approval from Marie Curie ITN the projects of the department achieve financial funding for the PhD education of so-called "Early Stage Researchers" through training programmes for reasearchers and PhD programmes.

The path to obtaining the funding can be long but a good research application is crucial in order to be considered for the funding. Senior Researcher from DTU Wind Energy Charlotte Bay Hasager was successful with her application. The application is concerning the project Lidar Knowledge Europe (LIKE), and here the intention is to educate young researchers in laser-based technology for wind measurements – a technology which is to be used in the industry, too. In response to the question of what the key to this success is, she says that it is an advantage to have experience with the EU system as well as to run projects. And, in her words, it is good “to have a look at what is happening in contemporary research in one’s field, so that one hits an area where research and PhD students are needed." She mentions the importance of a good network of researchers at the international universities and in the industry, too: In the LIKE project she cooperates with ten partners and 17 other institutions and companies.

Senior Executive Officer at DTU Wind Energy Mattias Andersson has lots of experience with research applications and he has three pieces of advice for the researchers when writing research applications. Firstly, have in mind that Marie Curie ITN is not funding for research projects but for projects that revolve around education of researchers. Charlotte Hasager agrees: “Here, you have to tell a different story. You have to argue for ensuring a level of knowledge that can develop society and young people”, she explains. Second, persistence is essential, as it may well require multiple applications to get through the needle eye to the funds. Charlotte Hasager's experience confirms this. She tried three times and then the final application was indeed prepared thoroughly. Along the way, a consulting firm was hired to help authoring the text of the application and another company designed a logo. Mattias Andersson summarizes the utility of seeking assistance in his third advice to succeed with project applications: do get all the help you can. Among other things, it is possible to draw on the skills that DTU centrally can bring to the process. Here Charlotte Hasager experienced that the Central Research Support at DTU could advise on potential pitfalls in the application process, among other things.

Charlotte Hasager's own will to succeed was crucial, and it is clear that she is passionate about the project. In her own words, she emphasizes that you have to believe in the idea and maybe see if you can stand out a bit from the crowd of applicants: ”One little cunning thing I did was this: In the application I wrote that just like Marie Curie used X-ray to show things that are not normally visible, we use lidar (instrument for mapping the wind speed and turbulence, ed.) to uncover what is not visible: the wind."

With the funding from Marie Curie ITN, Charlotte Hasager expects to contribute to covering the shortage of PhD students, which currently characterizes the field, and thus strengthen the research and development of the lidar technology.