Ioannis Tsalamanis - Uniper Energy

MSc student Ioannis Tsalamanis shares a minidiary about his placement with Uniper Energy

The placement process

The opportunity for a Summer placement was one of the things that caught my eye on Lancaster’s syllabus and it convinced me to accept the place that was offered to me. The placement process started a few weeks in the second term and the excitement built up immediately. The first list of available projects was released to us all and was regularly updated thereafter whenever a new project was agreed between the course coordinators and the company. The list was very long, much longer than the number of students in the class, and a significant amount of time was spent reading the descriptions, discussing with colleagues and asking the placement manager for advice. Big, medium and small companies offered very interesting projects, suitable to everyone’s taste and preferences.  Nevertheless, liking one project and actually convincing the company through the interview to select you was a different thing and smart project choices should be made based on the individual skills required. Interviews were held face to face or though phone and Skype. I was offered a place at Uniper UK, one of my top choices, to work on wind farm wake effects, and decided to accept it.

Initial project specifications:

Once I had accepted Uniper’s offer, a meeting was held between all sides to discuss a rough outline of the project tasks and specifications. The allocated academic supervisor was there to ensure that the goals were feasible for the duration of the placement and relevant to the scope of the course. Officially, my placement started in the beginning of June and the first week was spent to familiarise with the project goals and finalise the project specifications. I got all the help I needed from the company’s supervisor and access to all required data and previous relevant work.

Halfway there:

Having spent almost 6 weeks at the company’s offices in Nottingham, I was convinced that I made the right project decision. It was very interesting to work on renewable energy technologies and modelling the wind wake effects on large wind farms is a very important factor for predicting and optimising the power output of onshore or offshore wind farms. The collaboration with the team was great and I felt as a valuable member of the team.

Final thoughts:

Reaching the completion of the placement, the outcome of the project was discussed with the company team and there was an opportunity to understand the role of this outcome to the company’s future plans. Personally, the placement provided a transition from the academic environment to the industrial environment and gave me the opportunity to prepare for the job interviews that came afterwards. Moreover, the fact that there was a short industrial placement after the MSc was highly appreciated by most of the interviewers and offered a great means of describing how my data scientist skills were applied and enhanced.  Most importantly, the placement allowed me to understand the significance of the role of the data scientist in the structure of a company and helped me boost my confidence as a future data scientist.