Networking opportunities provided at Climate Innovation Leadership & Journey programmes lead to start-up collaboration

After hearing about EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate Innovation Leadership (CIL) & Journey programmes from her university, Carlotta Storchi was intrigued by the focus on climate innovation and practical knowledge application. After participating in 2021, Carlotta feels she is now equipped with the theoretical and practical climate action skills to make a positive impact in her community. She is already working with a start-up linked to the CIL programme, focused on sustainable mobility and behaviour change.

“My experience of the Climate Innovation Leadership & Journey programmes felt very strong and powerful. I especially appreciated the opportunity to network, share ideas and meaningfully contribute to group work. If you’re thinking of applying, it’s a great choice to make – if you’re prepared to fully commit yourself to the work, you will gain a lot of knowledge and confidence.”

Carlotta Storchi, Participant in EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate Innovation Leadership & Journey Programmes 2021

An environmental engineer by training, Carlotta Storchi first heard about EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate Innovation Leadership (CIL) & Journey programmes in her MSc on Earth Resources Engineering at the University of Bologna. “My university course coordinator told me about it, I thought it sounded interesting, much less traditional and less theory-based than anything I’d done before. It seemed engaging – dealing with innovation, climate change, systemic change – and it sounded like there were plenty of opportunities for participants to challenge themselves,” she said.

Going into the programmes, Carlotta wanted to further apply what she had learned at university. “My BSc was very theoretical and I was keen to put ideas into practice. Working in groups was another attraction because this wasn’t common in my undergraduate studies.”

The Journey part of the programme was especially enjoyable for Carlotta: “It was a tough programme with long hours – but the good thing is you have to engage – there’s no time to be distracted!” She adds, “An important lesson I learned is that there is no such thing as “having no time” – the programme helped me see that if you give yourself a deadline you can finish your work, it’s just a matter of motivation.”

Carlotta also enjoyed the networking opportunities provided: “The opportunity to meet the wider global climate community was one of the best experiences. The reciprocal support was fantastic – I especially appreciated receiving feedback from people who come from very different backgrounds. In my group project, I worked with people from across Europe on a proposal to offer nature-based solutions to cities looking for sustainable renovation methods – and the opportunity to share ideas between projects was also very valuable.” 

Carlotta is now working with a start-up, Go2Places, which is linked to the KIC’s Climate Innovation Leadership programme and projects. Focused on sustainable mobility and behaviour change, Carlotta says, “Go2Places is developing a technical certification to measure the sustainability of local activities – the goal is guide people to spend more money with more sustainable businesses.” Carlotta is working from Bologna, while her colleagues are based across Europe – they hope to roll out the certification in different locations.

Carlotta says the takeaways from CIL & Journey, “will stay forever – I grew as a person and a professional and it has helped shape my post-graduation career path. I hope to work in ‘less traditional’ jobs, more independently, more with start-ups. I now have the confidence and tools to take these steps and make a positive impact.”