Students from the Energy & Environmental Engineering course at Edinburgh Napier talk about their experiences.

I studied Energy and Environmental Engineering because our world needs more energy engineers to drive sustainable change.  

My name is Andrea Garcia Sanchez and I have recently graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a BEng (Hons) in Energy and Environmental Engineering. Before applying for this course, I was unsure of the type of engineering I wanted to study. I did some research into courses across the UK and was drawn to the Energy and Environmental Engineering course at Edinburgh Napier University because it was different to what other universities offered. The university’s statistics and links with industry were also appealing to me.

I have always been concerned about the environment and sustainability issues and I wanted to become part of the positive change that is needed. 
When I saw the course description I instantly felt that this was what I had been looking for. This course was the first in Scotland to focus on renewable energy and carbon accounting instead of just the traditional energy industry. I started to visualise myself as a renewable energy engineer and I liked it.Andrea in a lab smiling for the camera

To anyone interested in renewable energy or sustainability issues, this is the degree for you. The course provides a broad range of theoretical and practical knowledge about mechanics, energy systems, building services, maths, management, product design and so much more. I feel like because of the vast amount of skills and knowledge you will leave with, this course will open many doors for a career in the industry. I would recommend people to do this course, as our world needs more energy engineers to make sustainable change happen.

“There are amazing lecturers with plenty of professional experience, who are always ready to help and support students”


The School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier have amazing lecturers with plenty of professional experience who are always ready to help and support students. I had some modules that I found challenging, but I made sure to ask plenty of questions and my lecturers were always very patient and helpful.

The facilities provided at the university, such as the 24 hour Jack Kilby Computing Centre and the laptop loan service really supported my studies. Without them I wouldn’t have managed to get through my course. There are also very useful workshops such as CV builder sessions or job fairs which add to the student experience. 

Edinburgh Napier University has a broad range of services in place to support international students like myself, making life a lot easier. They provide lots of information about life in Edinburgh – accommodation, medical services, jobs, facilities – to help us settle in here, and a lot of effort is put in to make you feel welcome at the university.

“During my time volunteering, I learnt about the importance of engineering in developing countries and it gave me a clear idea of how renewable energy can be implemented to improve every aspect of society”

Throughout my four years at university, I made the most of my student experience. I worked as a student ambassador, which involved supporting with the university’s open days. I was also a maths peer tutor for the final two years of my degree, due to my passion for maths. It has been a great experience to help other students as well as assisting my lecturers in maths masterclasses for primary school students.
A highlight of mine has been participating in the Academic Program for Entrepreneurship International boot-camp which is organised by the Bright Red Triangle every year. This involved spending a week at the Strascheg Centre for Entrepreneurship in Munich, focusing on critical thinking and entrepreneurship working with students from all over the world to develop our skills.Andrea smiling whilst holding up the IET prize to the camera

As well as all of this, I have volunteered as an English teacher in Myanmar, which is possibly the best experience of my life so far. During my time volunteering there, I got a better understanding of the importance of engineering in developing countries and it gave me a clear idea of how renewable energy can be implemented to improve every aspect of society.

I have recently been awarded with the Institute of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) ‘Most Outstanding Student’ prize.  The IET provides accreditation to the engineering courses at Edinburgh Napier University and every year, the university can award their most outstanding student amongst all the degrees with the IET prize. 

During the course, we do not see the results of other students so it’s difficult to compare and realise how good you are, so the award was a complete shock to me. I am very proud of myself for winning this prize and this now means I have two years free membership as part of the IET which I am very excited about.

“Living in Edinburgh for my student experience is a dream!”Andrea smiling with her degree certificate

It has been amazing to discover the culture and the history of Scotland, and I have felt welcome here from the very beginning. There is a multi-cultural atmosphere everywhere and you can meet people from all over the world. Edinburgh is full of beautiful places and attractions, and I would also highlight how connected Edinburgh Airport is to other countries and how accessible it is from the city centre at all times, which I felt was an important factor as an international student.

Studying and working whilst living abroad is not an easy thing to do and it was one of the biggest challenges I faced during my university experience. I also struggled with time management at the beginning. However, as I had the support of my family and friends as well as my lecturers and classmates, this encouraged me to keep doing my best and organise my days better and it made a real difference. 

Advice for students considering Energy and Environmental Engineering

My advice to anyone considering studying this course would be to go for it. Work hard, read articles and the recommended textbooks and don’t leave things to the last minute. But most importantly – enjoy it. 

I feel very happy to be a graduate from Edinburgh Napier University and I am very proud of its active role in women’s empowerment in STEM. I am looking forward to becoming part of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and hope this is the beginning of a successful career in the renewable engineering industry.


Energy and Environmental Engineering graduate, Colin Cochrane, reflects on his experience studying at Edinburgh Napier University.

“I’m an Energy and Environmental Engineering graduate from Edinburgh Napier University”Colin Cochrane with a rickshaw driver in India

Before studying at Edinburgh Napier University, I had previously completed an honours degree in Graphic Communication with Design, however after having a predominantly engineering based career following this, I decided to return to university in the hopes of being able to develop my skills and knowledge in the subject and further my career possibilities. I chose to study Energy and Environmental Engineering at Edinburgh Napier as I had completed a year at West Lothian College on the affiliate programme they have with the university, which allowed me direct entry into Year 2 of the course.

“The staff and students at Edinburgh Napier were very supportive and friendly”

My experience at Edinburgh Napier University was very positive. I found the staff and my fellow students to be very supportive and friendly. I met many friends on this course which I was grateful for, particularly in times when deadlines were approaching and during exam periods.  Lecturers were always approachable and willing to help which made university much less stressful and gave everyone the best chance to succeed. 

“I learnt technical, personal and communication skills during my time at university”

I developed a lot of skills whilst I was studying, both engineering based skills such as the use of programmes including Autodesk Inventor, Microsoft Project and MATLAB, as well as personal skills that will help me in my career such as time management, teamwork, leadership, data analysis and communication skills. These skills I have learned during my time at university have given me the confidence to begin my career knowing I can succeed within an engineering-based environment.

“I got to travel to Kolkata thanks to a grant made available by Edinburgh Napier”

A large part of my final year was focused on my honours project, where I researched and designed an electric rickshaw for use in India, with the main focus of reducing the physical demands of the driver and help the impoverished community of rickshaw drivers. As part of the project, I was able to travel to Kolkata, India with financial help from the Edinburgh Napier Small Project & Mobility Grant Scheme. This gave me the opportunity to collect first-hand data by testing the current rickshaws, speaking to drivers and observing the local topography and traffic conditions.

“This project has opened a lot of doors for me”

After completing my honours project, I was a speaker at the annual Electric Vehicle Conference held by the Transport Research institute at Edinburgh Napier University. Through speaking at this event I have been able to gather interest in the project and I am currently in talks with the a Scottish based engineering company to develop the project further with the aim of being able to take the new rickshaw design to India, where I hope I can improve the working conditions for the rickshaw drivers.

“Edinburgh Napier enabled to travel across the world for my projects”

My biggest highlight from my time at Edinburgh Napier were the numerous opportunities given to the students. As well as my travels to India for my honours project, I also took part in an industrial exchange to China, which was a great experience that gave us an insight into the standards and practices of the industry internationally.

“My advice would be to put yourself out there”

My best piece of advice to students or recent graduates would be attend networking events within the field you wish to work in, most of my job opportunities have come from speaking to people at events such as conferences. Also don’t be shy to ask for what you want, companies at networking events are often on the lookout for talent and as a graduate you will be well placed to contribute to their business. Be confident and put yourself out there.

Could you please let us know your name and the course you studied at Edinburgh Napier University?

My name is Adam Al-khateb. I studied BEng Energy and Environmental Engineering course at Edinburgh Napier University.BRT Alumni Adam

Could you please tell us a bit about your startup?

We provide sustainable property solutions to the residential housing sector. We help homeowners, landlords and letting agents reduce energy consumption and bills through energy efficiency. We also offer health and safety and marketing services. 

How did you come up with the idea of your startup and why did you approach the Bright Red Triangle team for support?

During university, I knew I wanted to start up a business, but I did not know which path to take. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University, I decided to start my business during the Covid-19 lockdown. That is when I approached the Bright Red Triangle for support. I was very happy that Bright Red Triangle works with not only current students but also with graduates as well. 

How did Bright Red Triangle support to upscale your startup?

The Bright Red Triangle really helped me to establish a good foundation for the growth of my business. They also help you to establish your goals and objectives which can turn your ideas into a trading business. I personally found the 1-1 sessions with a business advisor really valuable and also the programs and events they run. The support that you get from the whole BRT team is amazing. I am connected with the BRT team members till today and would like to give back one day.

Do you think Edinburgh Napier University encourages its students to build their own startup and become entrepreneurs?

Yes definitely! I think the Bright Red Triangle is an important part of this. They encourage students, graduates and staff to set up businesses, which creates an entrepreneurial environment at Edinburgh Napier University.

Would you recommend entrepreneurial minded students to build startups through the support of BRT team?

Yes, I would highly recommend students to approach the BRT team for guidance on building a startup. Even if it’s just an idea, I would encourage getting in touch with them. They can help you with building confidence, providing direction and a plan to turn your idea into reality. 

How did your course prepare you to build your startup? What skills did you acquire that you’ve put to use? 

My course has provided me with the theoretical and technical knowledge required to understand my industry. It also gave me a strong foundation for professional progression. 

What is your future plan with your startup?

I would like to recruit a team of staffs and expand my business to different parts of Scotland. My aim is to make the building sector more sustainable and make a positive impact on environmental conservation in Scotland. 

Could you please let us know your name and the course you studied at Edinburgh Napier University?

My name is Riccardo Lener and I am a third year BEng (Hons) Energy and Environmental Engineering student at Edinburgh Napier University.

Could you please tell us a bit about your startup?BRT alumni Riccardo Lener

In October 2022 I founded a company, called Riserva, inspiring to the word’s original meaning: land protected and managed for the sustainable preservation of the ecosystem within it.

This is exactly what we’ve been working hard towards in the last several months, developing innovative digital solutions integrating environmental management, community inclusion, and education.

Currently, we’re focused on an Environmental Assessment Platform, EnvOS, providing holistic data-driven solutions around the implication of human activities on the ecosystem; with the scope to enable governments and organizations make better informed and integrated decisions around the sustainability of a project.

How did you come up with the idea of your startup and why did you approach the Bright Red Triangle team for support?

During my experience with the United Nations, involved in a “Sustainable Supply-Chain Management” internship in summer 2022, I was inspired by the different skills and practices learned regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

I wanted to therefore apply these towards enabling better sustainable and informed decisions, in an easier and more tangible manner surrounding industrial operations; followed by extensive research of the several inefficiencies regarding current EIA processes.

At the end of the summer, I approached an American start-up, Rebyld venture studio, to whom I proposed and pitched this idea, where a successful partnership was achieved. Now our team is composed of young and experienced industry professionals, inspired to pursue Riserva’s vision.

At the start of the 2022/2023 academic year, I have been introduced to the Bright Red Triangle staff, whom environment clearly displayed ambition and innovation. I therefore took part in some of their events and kept in touch with some members of staff who were always available and happy to help.

How did Bright Red Triangle support to upscale your startup?

Apart from the useful events and workshops held at BRT, I personally mainly reached out for business advice regarding presenting and pitching. If you start your own business, you will come to see how being able to effectively pitch, thus sell, your idea to a board of judges or investors, is of fundamental importance if you need funding to start and grow your company.

After not being successful in the first occasion of the Bright Red Sparks pitching competition, through revising and adjusting my presentation, I won the competition held in April 2023.

Do you think Edinburgh Napier University encourages its students to build their own startup and become entrepreneurs?

Within the university, at least in my campus at Merchiston, I personally didn’t hear about BRT until I was talking to a professor about my idea. He then referred me to BRT and from then I’ve been in touch with the staff and different other people met in the various workshops.

Edinburgh Napier University has been providing students involved in their own entrepreneurial journey with the resources necessary, as to help them make the first step and grow their ideas to something concrete and exciting.

Would you recommend entrepreneurial minded students to build startups through the support of BRT team?

If students have a project or business idea in mind, or if they just want to know more about the entrepreneurial journey, then I would strongly recommend reaching out to the BRT team. From different workshops and events to a designated location to work on projects and get advice, BRT offers a lot of help and insight, together with a friendly and motivating environment.

How did your course prepare you to build your startup? What skills did you acquire that you’ve put to use?

I strongly believe pursuing an engineering degree opens many other different doors, not only related to engineering. This is because the various modules taught throughout the years really set up a skillset that will allow you to manage not only mathematical related problems, but also other tasks and challenges faced in other disciplines and environments. From problem solving, critical thinking, data analysis, to teamwork, time management, and creativity.

These are skills that I have personally developed, together more in-depth energy and environmental related knowledge, such as material selection and renewable energy, which I have been applying to my extracurricular projects, such as Riserva.

Who from your course supported you on your journey with your startup?

All of the different professors I have reached out to from my course, but also other sections in the University, demonstrated kind availability and gave me valuable advice. Additionally of course, talking to friends and colleagues is a great way to get diverse perspectives and suggestions.

What is your future plan with your startup?

My startup was founded with the purpose and vision to allow governments, organizations, and companies to make better decisions surrounding the sustainability of their projects; with a data-driven approach that enables better understanding of human impacts while reducing the mitigation and environmental management costs.

As of now we’ve been gaining a lot of interest from academics and industry professionals, and having finished with our product’s MVP, we’re in talks with potential partners and clients interested in the development of the platform EnvOS.

Furthermore, we are also starting to work on a very exciting educational platform that will renovate how environmental management and sustainability is integrated into university modules and degrees.