Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Renée Heller New Professor of Energy and Innovation

Promoted from AUAS senior lecturer-researcher in Sustainable Energy Systems to professor in the Faculty of Technology.

23 Sep 2020 10:31 | Centre for Applied Research Technology

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) senior lecturer-researcher Renée Heller has been appointed professor of Energy and Innovation as of 1 September, taking over from Robert van den Hoed. This research group is part of the Faculty of Technology and the research programme Urban Technology. Renée Heller has a solid career in the field of energy transition and will further strengthen the connection between research, education and professional practice. “I want to raise the bar even higher.”

Renée Heller brings six years of experience in education and research at the AUAS. As senior lecturer-researcher in Sustainable Energy Systems, from 2015 she was responsible for the specialisation in Sustainable Energy Systems of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Engineering, which she helped create as project manager. In Urban Technology, she also carried out research in the field of heat distribution grids, smart grids and integration of solar cells in building façades and infrastructure.

From physicist to consultant

Renée Heller trained as a physicist at Utrecht University where she worked on solar cells (thesis in 1995) and hydrogen storage (doctorate in 2000). After her doctoral research, Renée Heller spent fourteen years working for Ecofys, a sustainable energy consultancy. She spent nine years with the research group on technical innovations in the horticultural sector, and five years as unit manager of the Built Environment and Integrated Energy Systems group.

Connection between research and professional practice

At the AUAS, Renée Heller wants to further strengthen the connection between research and professional practice that she made at Ecofys: “For me, practice-based research is the best way to contribute directly to changes in society. As a professor, I want to take the lead on the theme of energy transition in the development of an interfaculty Centre of Expertise. This provides a good opportunity to increase the impact on and with our partners and thus contribute to the climate ambitions of the City of Amsterdam.”

Raising the bar even higher

Renée Heller wants to further shape collaboration with the energy field in the Amsterdam region. “Only then can we tackle the challenges facing the city. Think of using our research to support ambitions for high CO2 reduction and the shift away from natural gas. The team has a strong position in research into charging infrastructure and energy systems to strengthen the field. We are currently working with the City of Amsterdam and around 30 other partners to create energy-positive areas in the international Atelier project. This is a great way to raise the bar even higher.”

Strengthening connection with education

Renée Heller also wants to strengthen the connection with education: “With innovative projects like Atelier, you can involve practice-based research in education by means of a minor, such as the ‘Energy-positive City’ that I initiated. My experience in combining education and research puts me in the unique position of having a good understanding of how the two can reinforce each other.”

Urban Technology

The research programme in and Centre of Expertise on Urban Technology researches, designs and implements solutions to urban challenges, together with partners in the professional field on the themes of Energy Transition, Circular Transition, Mobility & Connectivity and Designing Future Cities. In this way, the programme contributes to sustainable, liveable and economically strong cities of the future. Urban Technology is part of the Faculty of Technology.