Scott Agnew
Scott Agnew

In July 2016, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management PhD student Scott Agnew travelled to the United States and the Netherlands. He was able to gain maximum benefit from his GSITA by participating in a staggering number of events while he was away. Below Scott outlines some of the things he did and the ways in which they have already enhanced his research.

The Graduate School International Travel Award provided me with a range of opportunities and experiences that helped me access content knowledge while further developing a range of technical skills. These include:

Knowledge in the field of study

I attended Intersolar/ESS, one of the largest solar and battery conferences in the world. The presentations at the conference provided me with the latest updates in technology, economic, social and policy developments related to my field of study. I also gained immense value from talking to other conference participants, by participating in industry activities and organizing one-on-one meetings while at the conference.

While attending the System Dynamics Conference in the Netherlands, I not only gained insight into methodological aspects of my research but I also connected with system dynamics energy experts that provided excellent opportunities for feedback and future collaboration.

Networking skills

I had the privilege of interacting with content and technical experts from around the world at both conferences, a number of industry events (including a private tour of the Tesla factory) and workshops. I also met many new contacts through participation in meetings with the Australian System Dynamics Chapter, the Asia Pacific Chapter and the Energy System Dynamics Special Interest Group. I will maintain continued participation with these groups. This intensive exposure helped me increase my confidence and my ability to gain value from networking opportunities.

Presentation skills

I had excellent opportunities to demonstrate my presentation skills during this trip. At Intersolar/ESS, I presented my research to an audience of more than one hundred. I also chaired a conference session titled: “Applications: self-consumption and autonomy - Residential and commercial PV Storage Systems and Mini-grids”. 

I participated in a two hour poster presentation at a PhD Colloquium in the Netherlands where I presented my research. I also participated in an ‘Angel Advisor’ program during the colloquium where I presented my work to two world-leading academics in energy and system dynamics and received positive feedback on my approach. This experience was invaluable and provided me with some excellent advice with which to further progress my research.

The Tesla factory

Technical research skills

A key objective of the PhD Colloquium and System Dynamics Conference in Delft was to improve attendees understanding and application of system dynamics methodologies. This was achieved through conference proceedings and a range of technical workshops and specific discipline/content meetings. In addition to attending the conference, I also attended many of the workshops particularly those that included specific modelling approaches and the use of particular software packages.


In San Francisco I met with a renowned industry expert who invited me to write a chapter of a book he is planning in the coming year. While in the Netherlands, I met with a senior academic (and industry consultant) from the University of Western Australia. We spent some time, working through systems approaches for applications in the energy sector and discussing opportunities for future collaboration.