About the project
BE-HyFE is a Belgian academic collaboration project, funded by the federal Energy Transition Fund, bringing together all Belgian knowledge institutes to join forces in fundamental research on the topic of hydrogen.
Hydrogen is currently experiencing a 'momentum', both politically and in the industry. Belgium has a lot of assets in the field of hydrogen: the largest hydrogen pipeline network in the world crosses our country, Belgium has a strategic position in Europe and many companies in Belgium have hydrogen technology in-house.
Additional academic fundamental research is crucial for providing solutions to the many technological and non-technological challenges posed by the role of hydrogen in our energy transition. At the different Belgian universities and knowledge institutions the expertise is highly specialized and outstanding. However, the research is fragmented and collaboration between the institutions (in the domain of hydrogen) is at this time rather limited, which is a missed opportunity.
With BE-HyFE we want to strengthen the cooperation between the Belgian hydrogen research groups and, by additional fundamental research in hydrogen, stimulate an interdisciplinary approach to create an academic hydrogen backbone for the Belgian industry.
The goal of this project is to achieve a Belgian hydrogen homebase of academic knowledge and expertise by establishing a core group of 16 broadly trained and highly networked early-stage researchers (ESRs) to support the Belgian industry in finding both technological and societal solutions, guaranteeing security of supply and meeting our environmental targets.
To ensure a broad and multi-disciplinary approach to the current and future hydrogen challenges in the Belgian context, it is important that the ESR team obtains excellence in its own research field, recognizes the importance of collaboration and positions the individual topics in the broader framework. In-depth background training will therefore enable the researchers to apply a holistic approach towards their own research and will make them experience the benefits of cross-pollination between disciplines and domains.
This approach is obtained by the Innovative Training Network (ITN) methodology and is based on three pillars.
Our knowledge partners will host 16 carefully selected PhDs covering the whole value chain of hydrogen, in order to provide both technical and non-technical solutions for current and future hydrogen challenges. Internal rotation will ensure maximum collaboration and cross-pollination between the knowledge institutes, research groups and topics.
Our ESRs will receive extensive training on scientific and technical skills, soft-skills and industrial orientation, within the context of both their own research and the Belgian hydrogen context. These skills will enhance the multi-disciplinary aspect of their work. Some of these training events will be open for other Belgian hydrogen researchers.
We aim to create a life-long network, starting with our core group, but also linking the larger Belgian academic community working on hydrogen & providing collaboration and network opportunities with the industry. We also envision an international approach, linking with forgeign companies, knowledge institutions and similar hydrogen networks.
BE-HyFE stands for Belgian Hydrogen Fundamental Expertise and reads like ‘beehive’, which is what we want to offer to our research community: an organized structure in which our researchers all work for a common goal, gathering expertise (instead of honey!), cross-pollinate one another with knowledge and - next to the focus on their own research topic - see their role as ambassadors for the Belgian academic hydrogen network as a collective responsibility.
To establish a Belgian homebase for hydrogen research, which can support our industry in current and future challenges, we need to gather all of our excellent researchers, knowledge and expertise.
Our 16 BE-HyFE early-stage researchers will be the starting point of our academic network, but we also need YOU! So, if you want to become part of our Belgian academic hydrogen network, then join our community.
To ensure that our researchers are aware of the challenges and potential hurdles of hydrogen technologies in the industry, we want to set-up a dedicated network which links the academic world with the Belgian industrial players.
This will be established o.a. via our official Industrial advisory board, secondments, company visits and mutual knowledge exhange.