20. Jun 2023

The Lighthouse Project What-if-Lab attracts international students

Since the start of What-if-Lab in 2022, 15 students have chosen to collaborate with water companies to solve some of the climate and environmental challenges that companies face in the water sector.

Lighthouse project attracts interest abroad

This time, the project has managed to find its way to students in both the Netherlands and Sweden.

Danya, who studies International Development Management in the Netherlands, and Mikael, who studies Sustainable Urban Planning and Design in Sweden, have traveled to Denmark, where they have been matched with Envidan and WaterZerv, respectively, through What-if-Lab.

According to Mikael, he has been welcomed with open arms and curiosity about the knowledge and expertise he possesses.

Specifically, Mikael has worked with Envidan and Aarhus Municipality on an urban planning area north of Aarhus, which is still on the drawing board. Through his master’s thesis, Mikael has, among other things, worked with the concept of Water Wise Cities and how urban planning can work with rainwater as a resource to create sustainable and livable cities.

According to Mikael, coming to Denmark to write his thesis has been an exciting process:

I became aware of What if Lab and thought it sounded like a good opportunity to collaborate with a company on my project, I also really liked the idea that I didn’t have to take care of the formalities myself, but that I could just concentrate on my assignment and the collaboration.

He continues:

Envidan has been really open to me and has asked curious questions. I’ve also had the opportunity to spend a few days with them, gaining insight into their everyday life and being part of the project meetings.

Dhanya is interested in stakeholder collaboration in climate adaptation projects and is helping WaterZerv to further develop and improve InflowGo – an AI-accelerated model that aims to make rainwater modeling accessible to all stakeholders in the water sector and improve collaboration in the sector rather than working in silos.

For Danya, it was the idea of going abroad and writing a thesis that drew her in. But the concept of What-if-Lab itself was part of what made her go. She says:

I was looking for a place where the assignment was not completely defined in advance, but where I could choose my problem and interest and then be matched with a company. In addition, it was also very important to me that at What-if-Lab, I would have a physical office space together with other students, and that I would be able to get the sparring I needed.

Water as a future career path

As part of their participation in the What-if-Lab project, they have become part of a network where they have taken part in the Young Water Professionals annual conference and attended the Ocean Youth Summit, where they have gained insight into what the Danish water sector has to offer.

It was not a foregone conclusion that their assignment would be based on a challenge with a water focus, but they both agree that they have now discovered an industry and an area that is really exciting and could easily become a possible career path in the future.

Read more about What-if-Lab at: https://lighthousewatertech.dk/projekt-whatif/

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