Vera Silva holds a doctorate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London, and is currently appointed as the Electricity Markets & Systems programme manager, one of the Energy Management programmes run by EDF’s R&D division.
What are your major research topics?
When I began my career in Portugal in 2001, I worked on the development of big data methodologies for analysing and optimising electrical systems. A few years later, as a researcher at Manchester University, I was involved in investigating the potential of energy storage to boost the flexibility of intermittent energy sources. I joined the EDF’s R&D team in 2009 to study the impact and opportunities of introducing electric vehicles into the electricity system for greater flexibility, then focused specifically on the issues surrounding the European electricity distribution system in terms of its flexibility for renewables and its interconnection opportunities based on a scenario of a 60% contribution from renewables.
Is the electricity system something you're passionate about?
Clearly yes, and it's been that way ever since I began my studies! What interests me particularly is its adaptability to innovation and new uses. In the broader sense, I'm enormously interested in the future and innovation. I want to understand the future, project myself into it and – most importantly – lead the way towards it by developing emerging technologies.
What are the day-to-day tools of your job?
Computers and math, of course, but – above all – working cooperatively as a research team member! The central focus of my research is the mathematical modelling of electrical systems and components in order to optimise them, which is absolutely central to the activities involved in the research programme I'm leading at the moment.
"I want to understand the future, project myself into it and – most importantly – lead the way towards it by developing emerging technologies".
What is your personal contribution to the scientific community?
I'm one of those pioneers who has offered a system-wide 'multiscale' overview of the electricity system, from end consumer to balancing supply and demand within a major interconnected system.
How would you sum up your vision of research in a single phrase?
Open-mindedness and building on experience!
Research Programme Manager for Electricity Markets & Systems at EDF’s R&D division
Operational director of cross-disciplinary European electricity system research
Senior engineer working on the European electricity systems structure and markets for the integration of distributed energy resources
Project Manager at EDF’s R&D division
Doctorate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London