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Lukas Bertels wins Hermes Circle London Thesis Award 2021
Lukas Bertels wins Hermes Circle London Thesis Award 2021

Alumnus Lukas Bertels from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) won the Hermes Circle London Thesis Award 2021 for his master thesis on the energy transition and the consequences of the removal of subsidies on solar panels. The jury was impressed with the combination of qualitative information gathered from 'business insiders', quantitative market analyses, and trends. 

Energy transition without subsidy

Subsidies play a key role in the energy transition currently, but in the long term these subsidies are not sustainable. Bertels, who completed RSM’s MSc Global Business and Sustainability in 2021, researched how subsidies on solar panels in the Netherlands can be reduced. He made a comparison with the United Kingdom and Spain, which have already significantly reduced their subsidies. The main lesson he draws from this research is that the transition must be done in a proper way. Yet there are also differences between the countries. Bertels explains: "For example, the higher electricity price in the UK provides more room for corporate deals to emerge, where there is currently less negotiating room for Dutch solar developers to tap into such solutions."

Impact on career

During his studies, Lukas gave masterclasses at secondary schools on the energy transition. "I wanted to bring the energy transition and the theme of sustainability to the attention of young people. Thanks to this prize, the theme also gets a lot of visibility. That can only benefit the world," he says. After his studies, he hopes to work for a company specialising in sustainability. 

Lukas is now pursuing a second master degree at Bocconi University in Milan. He wrote the thesis as part of his internship at Solarfields during his master studies at RSM. His thesis supervisors Dr Taslim Alade and Professor Lucas Meijs had nominated Bertels for the Hermes Circle London Thesis Award. 

The Hermes Circle London Fund

The Hermes Circle London Fund is a fund of the Erasmus Trust Fund. The annual Hermes Circle London Thesis Prize of €1,000 is awarded to outstanding theses that address the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands by exploring economic, financial and legal issues. Hermes Circle London consists of former members of the Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (RSC) based in the United Kingdom. Bertels received the award from Dick van den Broek and Hugo Ruys, of the Hermes Circle London Fund. 

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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Lucas Meijs