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The Land of the Sun

Written by Chloe Boyle, FdSc in Psychological studies, ǿ and University of Plymouth.                    

Firstly, I would like to give a special thanks to Dr Caroline Chipperfield and Hannah Rollins, you have guided and supported us on this trip and truly changed our lives. You have challenged us to think in new ways, see things from different perspectives and nurtured our growing passions and curiosity in renewables and international relations. Words cannot express how grateful we all are to you both and we will forever be thankful.

It’s perfect, that renewable energy experts in the land of the setting sun[1], as it is so aptly named, are leaping forth in the race to develop new technologies towards a more renewable and sustainable future using innovative renewable energy solutions. We have recently witnessed the jaw dropping sunsets in Morocco, and the drive to develop renewable technologies and a skilled workforce, during our trip to IFMEREE SA in Tangier.

The purpose of this visit was to further develop international collaboration with other institutions that share the values of our university centre, hence gaining an insight into the world of green skills, renewable energy, and sustainability. Our hosts immersed us both into the taught programmes and Moroccan culture, going above and beyond. To say that the visit was impactful would be an understatement and we will forever be grateful to have been given this opportunity especially as mature students.

We were guided through many educational workshops by the dedicated teaching staff and supported by both staff and students. The level of dedication and expertise in their chosen disciplines, shows through the brilliant projects and innovative ideas. We all made strong connections in just a few days, and it resulted in quite an emotional farewell. We didn’t want it to end! The passion, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial spirit witnessed, was infectious and has sparked something within us all.

Reflecting on our experience, many of us have made it our mission to further strengthen that connection with Morocco, and with IFMEREE SA. Losing sleep for many nights, my mind processed all this new information, my emotions and excitement of future prospects, not just for myself but for my fellow students, both establishments and our wider communities. Eventually, making sense of the basics of an idea to develop the ǿ Sustainability Society using the idea to develop the multidisciplinary nature of this trip, to further the concept and develop it back in the U.K.

ǿ Sustainability Society

The Sustainability Society is made up of a multidisciplinary team of students who collaborate on innovative projects, supported, and implemented by other organisations and policymakers. Under the umbrella of this Society the teams of students work together on sustainability projects striving towards a net zero future. Running a number of projects alongside one another applying our skills to projects that require them.

Through our research, the Society would work together to solve problems such as how to engage communities in renewable technologies, for example, making wind turbine designs or solar panels more appealing or creating new ideas to fight climate change.

Developing and carrying out a collaborative research project provides an opportunity to gain insight into new areas and enhance research that has or is already being conducted elsewhere.  It can broaden horizons and aid in the development of mutually beneficial partnerships with each party (and in our case) contributing to solving global problems.

Collaboration is a part of evolution, it’s in human nature, especially in situations that are complex. Usually, people come together in times of crisis and to stop bad things from happening. This project, like many others we know of, focuses on using collaboration for good. Collaboration begins with people and is vital for firms to survive and to thrive. We can pool our resources, skill sets and curious minds to become more innovative, effective, and efficient. After all, Innovation is the machine that powers the continual transformation of the worlds energy system[2].

Many organisations within the renewables sector say that it is the time for a new evolution, to ‘embrace digitisation’ and use these platforms as a catalyst for collaborative projects. It is no longer a luxury that organisations work on solutions individually. Input and ideas are needed from a variety of sources – whether this is in the adoption of renewable technologies in communities or other installations where the costs of developing projects can be quite high.

As a student of psychology and with a particular interest in behavioural science and renewables, there are many project ideas and research questions that could be investigated.  This project can act as a catalyst for any future research. Alongside the global goal of achieving net zero by the year 2050, The ǿ Sustainability Society, would like to contribute to this with the development of a new model, using a digital platform and software.

What does the software include?

This tool will be designed with collaboration in mind. A modern application with a variety of functions such as a meeting room function with a chat feed, teams can for example, CAD design remotely, students will be able to use a knowledgebase of relevant data and research available for reference, make notes collaboratively with the document writing and a research storage facility. It will also have the additional option of data collection. Researchers can develop and distribute surveys, and similar experiments via the platform. Data is then sent straight to a secure file linked with the project in question. Each project will have its own secure area with protected files, to protect intellectual property, and any patents or copywrite.

Once projects are completed, they can be added to the green innovations map. The map will highlight the projects completed and will show progress towards the global goal. This tool will allow for seamless collaboration between international organisations. The benefits of this tool are the obvious strengthening of international relations/ collaborations by simplifying communication and that it keeps everything ‘in one place’ for researchers.

Where do you come in?

We are initially looking for students to join our inclusive society. It doesn’t matter on your background or which course you are studying; you just need to be enthusiastic about our cause. We are seeking students with computer science and/or software engineering skills to assist in the development of the digital platform. Are you passionate about climate change, do you wish to use your digital to start to change the world? Let’s join, collaborate, and make this dream a reality.

[1] The land of the sunset; the west, with the Kingdom’s official Arabic name being al-Mamlakah al-Maghribīyah (المملكة المغربية; transl. the kingdom of sunset/the west)

[2] Understanding the Psychology of collaboration; what makes an effective collaborator? Dr Mehmet Chakkal, Dr Maxx Finne and Dr Mark Johnson, Institute for collaborative working, University of Warwick; 2017)


25 April 2024


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