(Climate-)Changing direction: From IT to Climate Adaptation – Københavns Universitet

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07. december 2016

(Climate-)Changing direction: From IT to Climate Adaptation


Before becoming a student at the University of Copenhagen Marco Carreira da Silva went through a journey of his own in the process of finding the right education and future perspective. Now he finishing his Climate Change studies and working closely with the Climate-KIC network, which UCPH is a partner in.

By Lisa Svane Baltzer Parsberg, Communications Officer, UCPH Innovation Hub

Pursuing his dream of becoming an IT-Engineer Marco Carreira da Silva started his academic career in Lisbon, Portugal, where he obtained a degree in Computer and Telecommunications Engineering. But already before finishing his studies he knew, that working in the IT sector for the rest of his life wasn’t meant for him.

Marco Carreira da Silva to the left in the picture.

“I decided that I wanted to do something different, but I wasn’t sure what. In the process of figuring out, what to do with my future, I started working with AIESEC – an organization that fosters youth leadership and entrepreneurship,” says Marco.

After running AIESEC in Ljubljana, Slovenia for 1 year, Marco decided to keep his newly found entrepreneurial fire going and moved to Mozambique to help start two AIESEC offices with three other entrepreneurs.

Learn More Mozambique.

“After spending 1 year in Mozambique I started my own NGO called ‘Learn More Mozambique’. I wanted to inform high school students about their future possibilities through career counseling, conferences, workshops, lectures and inspirational talks with different people and having a variety of professionals meeting the students,” Marco explains and continues:

“But unfortunately the time wasn’t right for an NGO such as mine in Mozambique. It was way too early for a country, where the main focus is to get children in school in the first place.”

Motivated by UCPH-students level of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn

Marco went back to Europe and looked for the right Master program - and where to go. While thinking and researching he worked in Romania for 2 years with computer costumer support as a team coach handling difficult customers and was responsible for issues surrounding his team.

“Finally I found a Master at Aalborg University in Copenhagen called Techno-Anthropology that was focused on innovation of sustainable science and technology. During my masters I was glad to attend a few classes at the University of Copenhagen,” he says pointing out, that it was a great experience for him:

“The classes at the University of Copenhagen were very professional and interesting. I was especially motivated by the students’ level of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. And that, to a certain extent, influenced my decision to complement my education with another master at UCPH – Master of Science in Climate Change.”

Transforming urban waterways with Climate-KIC

While studying Climate Change at UCPH Marco Carreira da Silva heard about Climate-KIC, which is a network of public and private professionals working to find solutions to the environmental crisis we face.

“My first connection with the Climate-KIC network was a Climathon in Vejle, were I was fortunate enough to be on the wining team. It was a 24-hour event, where you join a group of unfamiliar people and take on a climate challenge,” Marco describes and smiles:

Nordic Ideation Day.

“We were a pretty international team and our academic backgrounds are very diverse. Together we came up with Transparent Urban Waterways as a way of handling floods. Imagine seeing rainwater in transparent channels that integrates artistic elements inside like light, vegetation and sculptures. It can transform the way people experience water and give new life to cities.”

After the Climathon the team took part in the Climate-KIC competition ‘Nordic Ideation Day’ at DTU and received 15.000 Euro for further development of the actual solution. The idea of Transparent Urban Waterways is now being enrolled in the Climate-KIC program Pathfinder, which can help the idea forward.

A complete Climate-KIC journey

Marco is also starting up a new business optimizing urban climate adaptation solutions. A startup he has been forming recently. His plan is to take this idea through the Climate-KIC programs as well.

Marco’s experience with the Climate-KIC programs is quite extensive, since he has been part of a Climathon, Nordic Ideation Day, Pathfinder and joined one of the Climate-KIC summer school programs this year called Journey.

“One of the biggest benefits of Climate-KIC is that you get access to climate business expertise. That has been the most important thing for me so far. I haven’t used the network as much yet, but it is my intention to find cofounders and business connections through the network. I anticipate that Climate-KIC is going to play a big role in expanding my business across Europe,” Marco says and points out:

“With my new startup I hope to join the Greenhouse program – and everything that comes after. Climate-KIC is really good, because it brings academia, private and public sectors together.”

Greenhouse is a unique pre-incubation program offered by Climate-KIC, which gives motivated entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their green business ideas.

Marco Carreira da Silva is also a part of the UCPH Innovation Hub that helps him to get in touch with the market and supporting partners, while guiding him through different parts of developing his business.