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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Sino-Norwegian Alliance in Photovoltaics

Alternative title: Norsk-kinesisk samarbeid i photovoltaics

Awarded: NOK 4.3 mill.

The present collaboration brings together nationally leading institutions in Norway and China. Indeed, UiO and IFE, constitutes a strong team for PV research and education in Norway. On the Chinese side, the project is coordinated by Tsinghua University (THU), which is regarded as the most reputable Chinese university internationally. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a supporting partner, comprising a world class research and development network also offering advanced research training at the MSc and PhD levels in relevant fields. Moreover, the choice of the industrial and non-governmental partner-organizations is thematically relevant and objective-specific. All in all, the project pave a way for long-term cooperation between Norway and China in the field of photovoltaics, nanotechnology and advanced materials, increasing quality in education and research at the institutions in Norway and increased international renown of all partners.

This is successfully undertaken project even though the second part of the project became affected by the pandemic, because of practically full stop of the mobility options to/from China during 2020-2022. Nevertheless, the output demonstrated by the project before the pandemic started is quite impressive. There is a clear highlight with organization of 2018 and 2019 Summer Internships travels for the Norwegian students to participate in the work at the R&D unit of the JinkoSolar. Notably, the JinkoSolar is the world's largest - in terms of the GW of solar panels delivered to the market - and probably most advanced - in terms of keeping the efficiency records in silicon solar cells - company. Altogether 10 Norwegian MSc/PhD students were selected based on competitive calls in 2018 and 2019. Importantly, students were coming from several universities in Norway, e.g. UiO, NMBU, etc. It must be noted that cooperation with JinkoSolar was further spined by IFE and carries out now in form of new research and innovation projects funded both in Norway and China. Another great output is the collaboration agreement reached between UiO and the Tsinghua University, probably the most prestigious university in China and highly ranked worldwide (e.g within first 20 in times university ranking). Importantly, this cooperation is now used as a platform for building a bigger network between Norway and East Asia - NEARTEAMS - which stays for Norway - East Asia Research Training and Education in Advanced MaterialS. As such the successful grant obtained for NEARTEAMS from INTPART is to a large extend an outcome of the present project.

The present proposal is thematically backed up by several eligible projects, including the Norwegian Research Centre for Solar Cell Technology (known as SolarUnited that includes >10 Norwegian enterprices) - one of the active centers for environment-friendly energy research, also meeting topical priorities of the Call in terms of partnerships in the area of energy. Focusing on the excellence - we bring in collaboration nationally leading institutions. Indeed, UiO and IFE, constitutes a strong team for PV research and education in Norway, highlighted e.g. by our leading role in SolarUnited, running MSc program in Material Science and Nanotechnology (MENA), and the PV Research School. On the Chinese side, the project is coordinated by Tsinghua University (THU), which is regarded as the most reputable Chinese university internationally. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a supporting partner, comprising a world class research and development network also offering advanced research training at the MSc and PhD levels in relevant fields. Moreover, the choice of the industrial and non-governmental partner-organizations is thematically relevant and objective-specific. E.g., a well know Chinese enterprise - Jinko Solar - was selected to introduce the trainees with both Si based and thin-film based PV-technologies. Importantly, the research and education are categorically interrelated, already since all research tasks are carried out with the participation of MSc and PhD students. The same "pool" of the students is the target group for taking part in courses, internships, and schools. Feasibility of establishing a joint MSc program is accessed in the course of the project too. All in all, the project pave a way for long-term cooperation between Norway and China in the field of photovoltaics, nanotechnology and advanced materials, increasing quality in education and research at the institutions in Norway and increased international renown of all partners.

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Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research