TUM’s Sustainability Hotspot

Today, one billion people lack access to electricity, making it one of the grand societal challenges of our time. As a PRME signatory, we are striving towards a sustainable future through responsible management education – including not only the energy transformation in industrialized nations, but also the development of new, sustainable energy systems in regions that have so far been completely undersupplied. Following our mission to create solutions on our journey towards sustainability at TUM, we founded the TUM SEED Center at the beginning of 2020. Whether you want to expand your knowledge or directly contribute to the topic of “Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development in the Global South” – this is the place for you.

TUM SEED offers higher education at the convergence of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship while conducting research to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


As a Center of Excellence in Research and Teaching, TUM SEED offers higher education at the convergence of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship while conducting research to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the long-term initiative, we at TUM aim at contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 7: access to clean and affordable energy for everyone.

The core team of the TUM SEED Center is composed of six great minds at TUM: Prof. Dr. Frank-Martin Belz as Director, Johannes Winklmaier as Project Coordinator, Prof. Dr. Walter de Vries as Director of the PhD Program, Clement Bossard as Assistant for the Living Labs, Michelle Zorombory as Assistant Project Coordinator, and Sofia Abid for Communications.


Research and teaching with impact in Living Labs

By creating “Living Labs”, the TUM SEED Center and its partner universities provide rural areas in the Global South with sustainable energy systems. At the same time, master’s students benefit from experimental and practical learning opportunities, international exchange and research that goes beyond borders. The goal is to create a direct impact on communities, as well as on research and education – by ensuring energy access and improving living conditions.

Since the Living Labs will be located in the countries of the respective partner universities (Peru, Ghana, Ethipia, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, India and Indonesia) they will enable all participating higher education institutions and their students to acquire a high level of expertise in development work and collaboration without the need to travel far. To get this done, Community Interest Companies (CIC) install eight mini-grids, which in turn are affiliated with the eight partner universities in the Global South.

Until 2024, the Living Labs will be implemented in a stepwise process – integrating community members in each step to co-create, validate, test and further develop new technologies in this setting. Since the installation and expansion of the sustainable energy system is a technical challenge, while the establishment and operation of a CIC is an entrepreneurial one, the project provides an interesting framework to merge research and technology with entrepreneurship.

The TUM SEED Center estimates that each Living Lab will provide energy services for approximately 1,000 people. This means that by the end of the project, around 8,000 people will have access to sustainable energy – with newly educated master’s students and doctoral candidates acting as catalysts for the program.


International and interdisciplinary doctoral and master’s programs

Going hand in hand with the Living Labs program, the TUM SEED center launched the interdisciplinary doctoral and master’s programs in “Sustainable Energies and Entrepreneurship in the Global South”. Reliable water supply for both agriculture and households usually depends on the availability of energy: While functioning water pumps ensure clean and affordable water for communities, irrigation water provides for food production.

The doctoral and master’s programs offer an educational space to experiment and deep-dive into the topics of sustainable energy, water, food production and entrepreneurship. Consequently, the curriculum of the master’s program is designed to convey the basic foundation of those fields as well as the main developments and future challenges of the latest generation of mini-grids.

To further ensure international exchange, leading experts in the context of the Global South as well as visiting professors and post-doc researchers from partner universities offer their students valuable insights into sustainable energy projects and entrepreneurship in their home countries.

Together, the doctoral candidates, post-doc researchers, scholars and master’s students complete the interplay of the Living Labs, the interdisciplinary research and the impact of sustainable teaching methods.


You can find more information on the TUM SEED Center and its programs here.

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