11 June 2019

Alumna Jessica Jewell

Jessica Jewell recently moved to Sweden to take an Assistant Professor position at Chalmers University of Technology in the Department of Space, Earth and Environment. Below she reflects on what IIASA means to her.

Jessica Jewell © Udo Schlögl

Jessica Jewell © Udo Schlögl

IIASA is a place. IIASA is a network. IIASA is a dream.
by Dr. Jessica Jewell

When I used to work at IIASA and would explain where I worked, people often did not understand. It seemed unbelievable to them that there’s a place which countries fund for scientists to work together to solve problems they can’t solve alone. As a YSSPer, I myself didn’t understand just how unique IIASA is. I was just delighted to have the opportunity to work with scientists in the Energy Program, network, and be exposed to new ideas.

But when I returned to IIASA after working at the International Energy Agency, I began to understand that IIASA is not just another international organization or scientific institute – or even a mix between the two. IIASA is the courage and creativity to ask big questions and to find the answers through systems thinking. I believe it is this courage and creativity which explains why so many Nobel Prize winners spent some of their formative years at IIASA.

I am grateful for the seven years I spent in Laxenburg. Those years shaped my own research to look for politically feasible solutions to climate and energy challenges. I could only articulate this question after years of working with energy modelers and studying the drivers of energy transitions to realize that there are times when the worlds we want are within reach – not just technically but also politically. We need to know how to identify these opportunities.

The Schloss is a meeting place, and the IIASA network is a tool through which we all find new opportunities and new ideas. But what holds it together is the courage and creativity to ask the big questions. The dream that we can bring the worlds we want within reach will keep me coming back.




About Jessica Jewell

Dr. Jessica Jewell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Division of Physical Resource Theory at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Bergen in the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformations and a Guest Research Scholar at IIASA in the Risk and Resilience Program. She worked at IIASA from 2011-2019 in the Energy Program and was a YSSPer in 2010.



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Last edited: 16 June 2019

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