Sofia comes from Lisbon, Portugal, where she completed a licentiate in Economics and a Master in Energy & Environment before moving to Lund. She received a Ph.D. in Economic History in 2011.
Few months after receiving her PhD from our department, Sofia was employed from the University of Southern Denmark as post doc researcher financed by a grant from Carlsberg Foundation (Long-run energy transitions, CO2 emissions and economic growth: the Danish case). She enjoys her new position, in particular she says “the best part of an academic career is working in interesting projects, independence and opportunity to travel and present your work in an international setting”.
What is the main focus of your research?
I study long-run energy transitions in an international comparative perspective. My research deals with the role of the different energy resources for economic growth and how environmental impacts of fossil fuel use change as societies transform from agrarian to the service societies of today.
Why is it important?
Presently, the world is facing a prospect of future high energy prices and climate change problems. A transition from fossil fuels to low carbon energy sources seems now a pre-condition for a sustainable future. Many are worried with the effect that this huge transition might have on employment or economic growth.
Huge transitions like this don’t happen from day to night. I believe that only a long-run perspective of energy transitions helps policy makers to understand the intricate relationships between energy, economic growth and the environment.
How did the study at the department help you in your career?
In my case, PhD studies are a prerequisite for doing a postdoc, so of course studying at the department was fundamental for helping my academic career. I have benefited enormously from being in Lund as I had access to the resources of an international network that allowed me to work with my subject in a comparative perspective.
The decision to study in Lund was mainly to work with people with the same research interests I had. Lund has also much to offer to international students: a rich intercultural experience, nature &quality of life. It’s a relatively cheap town for Scandinavian, and students are well treated here: 4 years of funding, social security benefits, an office and students opportunities in housing and transportation. Lund is a small student town but it is well located, at only at 10 minutes from Malmo and 45 minutes from Copenhagen.
What was, for you, one of the greatest things of studying at the department?
At the professional level, one of the best memories I have of Lund is the internationalization of the department of Economic History since 5 years ago. When I started, there were only 3 foreigners. Today, thanks to the effort of some people, there are already many international PhD students and postdocs, making the department of Economic History a very international one.
Are you still in touch with some of your former colleagues?
I still have half a dozen PhD dissertation parties to attend and I am in touch with many previous classmates and with my former supervisors. I hope to see many at upcoming conferences or giving some seminars here in Odense.
Do you have any recommendations for future students who would like to follow your path?
A PhD is a long-process and its mostly up to you to decide how you are going to do it. My best advice is to be proactive during these years. Imagine yourself where you want to be in 4 years and make it happen. Use all the opportunities to present you work. Workshops like the Fresh meetings and the Sound Economic History are excellent opportunities to present you work in an earlier stage, before is published in journals.