My work so far includes the environmental and economic optimization of bioenergy supply chains, quantifying potentially relevant developments of biochemical production, and analyzing the function and organization of energy commodity markets and multi-level governance discussions. My methods are characterized by interdisciplinary research, often based on the team efforts of co-authors from different European countries and the United States.
As I am pursuing my dream of an academic career, I have to face critical questions: What is the scientific added-value of my skill-set and theories, how can I sustainably contribute to societal and technological development and, first and foremost, how can I finance this work?
Distilling the essence of my relatively young career, the notion of quantifying the benefits of the strategic and robust involvement of the primary economic sectors—excluding coal mining and oil and gas extraction—comes to the fore. Agriculture, forestry, and the blue economy (e.g., algae) have much to offer in terms of food, material, energy, ecosystem and negative-emission services. These sectors can be further summarized as the “bioeconomy.” Energy system models are used to simulate potentially relevant futures, to inform coordinated action and strategic planning. But a novel set of tools is needed for these models to enable them to account for the systemic benefits of a bioeconomy designed for providing, for example, resilience and stake- and shareholder diversity. My goal is to establish a circular bioeconomy modeling group in Austria with a steady exchange of pre- and postdocs between the continents that can develop respective modeling tools and effectively distribute them among engaged scientists around the world.
At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), I am part of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department. The LBNL offers the optimal environment to develop the core concepts and ideas I have been working on and to assess their groundbreaking potential and feasibility. LBNL experts are excited to co-develop and crossbreed basic research questions, methodologies, and scientific practices while exploring differences and nuances between the EU- and US-specific approaches and realities. LBNL ties to the University of California and Stanford and my already established professional connections in the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Department of Energy (DOA) increase the chances of generating high-impact results. This way, the Fulbright Schuman postdoctoral research grant helps me to pursue my ultimate dream.