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IDEAS exchange programme comes to Abertay

30 May 2014

We’re delighted to be welcoming the IDEAS Consortium to Abertay this week!

IDEAS is a project which provides scholarships for students in Asia who wish to study in Europe.

Abertay is the only university in the UK taking part.

The overall objective of IDEAS is to create partnerships in research and education that will strengthen ties between Europe and Asia.

The focus is on science and technology, and the aim is to exchange ideas and disseminate knowledge and good practice so that students can build and manage large and complex projects in their home countries.

This year, we have been hosting Pema Youden from Bhutan.

She came here to study for her MSc in Energy and Environmental Management, but is already a qualified electrical engineer, working as a Tutor at the College of Science and Technology in Phuentsholing, which is part of the Royal University of Bhutan.

When she returns to Bhutan, Pema will be using the experience she has gained through IDEAS to help establish Bhutan’s first postgraduate degree programmes.

Here, she tells us about her experience over the past year, what made her apply to take part in IDEAS and how she feels about returning home to be involved in such an exciting project.

"In Bhutan, we don’t have any postgraduate education programmes, so IDEAS has been a wonderful opportunity for me to further my education.

"But as well as having a new qualification, when I go back to Bhutan after I graduate I will be helping to implement new teaching methods for our students.

"We teach for five to six hours a day in Bhutan, whereas here, teaching is only two hours or so, and students are encouraged to go off and do their own reading.

"Additionally, all student assessments are exam based in Bhutan, whereas here students also do coursework which goes towards their final mark.

"This is definitely something I will be hoping to establish back home, as it has been hugely beneficial for me.

"It’s been wonderful to find out new things in this way, to learn from a wide range of different sources, and to have the opportunity to read in more depth about issues that are of interest to me.

"Of course, we encourage our students to innovate back home, but there are not as many platforms for people to do this as there are here, where innovation just seems to come as second nature because there are so many ways in which to exchange ideas.

"As well as these new teaching methods, I will also be helping to establish Masters and PhD programmes within the university where I work when I go back.

"The College of Science and Technology is quite a new part of the Royal University of Bhutan, but it is responsible for tertiary education in the field of science and technology for the whole of the country.

"So that’s a really exciting prospect - being able to take the knowledge I have gained here back to Bhutan to set up something entirely new for my country.

"We’re planning to offer these postgraduate programmes from 2015 onwards, and I’ll be helping to develop and teach these courses, so I’ll be pretty busy once I graduate from Abertay!

"From a personal point of view, the course here has been fascinating. Looking at the management side of energy and the environment– the policies and legislation involved - was something completely new to me, and it’s been interesting to examine these issues in relation to my own country.

"Most of our energy comes from hydropower, so we don’t have much pollution there. There is limited industry, so the environment is very clean. But when it comes to climate change, it is becoming a bigger issue. Melting glaciers could cause flooding in the future, so we have civil engineers developing methods to break the ice and remove it before it melts so that the people who live lower down the mountains aren’t affected by the increasing temperature.

"I have learnt so much through IDEAS – both academically and in terms of teaching methods – and have met people from all over the world who have come here to study, so it’s been a wonderful experience.

"I will definitely be encouraging other people to apply to take part in the programme - Abertay has been a wonderful place to study and this opportunity has been fantastic.

"Scotland itself is a beautiful country. I feel so lucky and fortunate to be here. Everyone has been so polite, helpful and respectful, and this has all helped make it a really beautiful place to live."


The IDEAS Consortium meeting taking place at Abertay this week will be the fourth time the partner institutions have come together to discuss the programme.

The two-day event will be a chance for the organisers to evaluate the impact of the project over the past year and to discuss plans for the future.

The partner institutions are as follows:


Mälardalen University, Sweden

Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Abertay University, UK

University of Tartu, Estonia

Universitat Politecnica de Valencia,Spain

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain

Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, Germany


Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

Lahore University of Management, Pakistan

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan

Tribhuvan University, Nepal

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