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6 December 2019
Stuttgart, Germany

Wanted: Role Models

Do you work in the energy sector? Are you hoping to work in the energy sector once you have completed your education? Are you interested in inspiring others to join you?

The European Network of Women for Innovative Energy Solutions (Women4Energy Network) would like to know more about you and your experience as a researcher / student / entrepreneur in the energy sector. We would like to build up a portfolio of pioneering and inspirational figures to present to students and female pupils, helping them to make their career selection by showing real impressions of your career in the energy sector and the opportunities the field offers. 

Tell us about what you do, how you decided on this field and what your expectations for the future are. By telling us your story, we will be able to show others your experience and help get other women interested in joining the sector.

Please send us a digital picture of yourself. Choose between a portrait photograph and a photo which gives an impression of what you do in your profession.

Simply use this template and send it to: hanna.schaefer@steinbeis-europa.de


Role Models

Floriane Abedi

Energy and Environment engineer
solar learning e.V.
Böblingen, Germany

Floriane Abedi

Floriane is an energy and environment engineer with a passion for clean energy production and energy efficiency themes. She approaches her projects in a holistic way, considering environmental and social aspects to develop fair and robust energy production projects.

Together with partners, she founded in 2017 the NGO solar learning e.V.. The organisation aims to transfer knowledge in the field of solar energy to communities with poor or no access to energy, and to empower them. Solar energy can be used to power communities without burning fossil fuels. Especially in regions where kerosene or coal is used to produce light or electricity, an energy leapfrog to decentralised renewable energy systems is possible. As a central element within the projects, the community itself is an actor of change: it takes part to the project design, it is trained during implementation to install the system, and later it maintains the system itself.

In Germany, Floriane focuses on the energy management sector. Since 2016, she has been leading the European pilot project “Gebündeltes Energiemanagement" at the Energy Agency of Böblingen, which aims at integrating energy management systems in municipalities. Previously, she worked as a consultant in the field of sustainable construction, and later in HVAC planning. She completed her studies at the Ecole Polytechnique Féminine in Sceaux near Paris. She finished her studies with a master thesis in the field of geothermal plant simulation at the Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany.

To motivate women wanting to be active in the energy sector, she adds: respect the principles of energy sufficiency, consider all steps of a system's life cycle, work with passion, and no matter if you are a woman or a man: you will create a positive impact!

Anika Nicolaas Ponder

Sustainability & Innovation
IKEM (Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility)
Berlin, Germany

As Sustainability & Innovation team leader at IKEM, Anika manages since April 2018 an international team of eight multi-disciplinary researchers and innovators. She and her colleagues work on innovative communication formats and knowledge transfer to get everyone onboard with the energy transition. Among their projects are such about energy transition engagement and communication (for example the “Energy Transition Coloring Book”), energy expert networks (like the “IKEM Academy: Energy and Climate”), offshore wind and meshed grids (Baltic Sea Ventures, Baltic InteGrid project), gender equality (EQT: The gender equality toolkit for working women and friends) and much more.

Pauline Horng

Sustainability & Innovation
IKEM (Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility)
Berlin, Germany

Pauline is an energy transition engineer with background in renewable energy, green buildings, and marine science. She currently works on social innovation and communication on the Sustainability and Innovation Team at IKEM (Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility). She is passionate about making the energy transition interesting and accessible to the general public. This includes The Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book, an adult coloring book that engages audiences to learn about the energy transition in a fun and stress free way.

She also co-founded Tetrawhat, a platform that helps the general public transform their living spaces into a green(er) building.

Pirjo Jantunen

Business Development Manager

Helen Ltd.
Helsinki, Finland 

Pirjo is an astute sustainable energy advocate with more than a decade of work experience in the energy sector. She specialises in sustainability, strategy and stakeholder involvement. Her passion is to shape the vision of tomorrow's decarbonised energy system. Currently, she is working as a Business Development Manager at Helen Ltd developing low-carbon energy solutions, especially in the field of energy efficiency services and decentralised heating solutions.

Also, she is an ambassador of diversity and youth involvement in energy and has served as a Chair of the World Energy Council’s Future Energy Leaders Programme (FEL-100) during 2015-2018.

The FEL-100 is an exclusive global network inspiring young energy professionals to become the next generation of energy leaders. Pirjo holds a master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from the School for Business and Economics of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland (2015). She also has a degree in Sustainable Development from the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland (2008).

Trinidad Fernandez

Project Manager Smart Cities
Urban Systems Engineering
Fraunhofer-Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, Stuttgart 

Trinidad Fernandez is a researcher and project manager at the “Urban Economy Innovation” Competence Team of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (Fraunhofer IAO). Mrs. Fernandez coordinates large and multidisciplinary smart city projects such as the EU-SCC1 TRIANGULUM, and is co-leading the Morgenstadt Global Smart Cities Initiative (MGI), part of the international climate change initiative from the Federal Ministry of the Environment to take place in India, Mexico and Peru. Her field of work includes sustainable urban development and climate change mitigation through the integration of smart city concepts and solutions.

Trinidad is an architect, urban planner and is enthusiastic about sustainability, climate change and gender equality.

Marieke van den Wijngaard

Project Manager and Developer Social Housing
Eindhoven, The Netherlands 

Marieke is currently working as project manager real estate at Woonbedrijf, a social housing company in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. She also has her own company through which she works for other small social housing companies to develop real estate projects, newly build and renovation of existing dwellings. Marieke lives in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. She loves to travel and come in contact with different countries, nature and cultures.

There are new challenges for real estate, coming from the climate change. For Marieke, it is always the challenge to develop projects with people who live in the houses or going to live there. Working on real estate is not about building but making a home. What can we do together to make life better. This asks a lot of creativity and listening and that makes her job interesting.

Gabriela Molinar

Institute for Information Processing Technologies
Karlsruhe Insitute of Technology (KIT)
Karlsruhe, Germany

Gabriela Molinar studied electronics engineering in Venezuela, at the Simon Bolivar University. After spending an exchange year at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, she was in love with Germany. She came back to the KIT to begin with her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Wilhelm Stork. She is the founder and manager of the research project PrognoNetz, which main goal is the development of a current-carrying capacity forecasting system using AI.

Her favorite engineering topics are signal processing and machine learning algorithms. That is why she is one of the pioneers of the first practical course in machine learning for bachelor students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the KIT. Her motto is “there is always a way, if you know where to go”.

Angelika Neumann

Faculty for Electrical Engineering & Information Technology
Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences
Karlsruhe, Germany

After passing her abitur exam Angelika started an education as an automotive mechanic to get more practical experience and earn some money. Inspired from technics she began to study mechanical engineering at the University of Applied Science in Esslingen (Hochschule). As she was fascinated from electrical cars since she was a child, the only logical way seemed for Angelika to end up in doing her Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe.Since two and a half years Angelika is doing her Ph.D. with focus on renewable energy, mainly PV-systems, and off grid systems.

In parallel she is developing the power electronics for a DC charging station for electrical cars within an industrial cooperation.

Lisa Enarsson

Project Manager
City of Stockholm and GrowSmarter Coordination Team Stockholm
Stockholm, Sweden

Lisa is working for the City of Stockholm as a Project Manager. For the past five years she has been coordinating the EU-project GrowSmarter. Aim of the project is to reduce the environmental impact and increase the quality of life. GrowSmarter has implemented already 12 smart solutions within the areas of energy efficient renovation, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and ICT in Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona. Lisa wants to help accelerate the transition to sustainable cities.

The climate issue has been a red thread throughout her professional life. She has initiated and run local projects such as Greenlandic Living Farms at the city level, Sustainable Järva at city level and now GrowSmarter at EU level with Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona as partners. Lisa commits herself to push the climate issue forward and contribute to sustainable development throughout the world.

Hasmik Barseghyan

President at the European Youth Parliament for Water (EYPW)
Board Member at the International Secretariat for Water

“The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke it, question it and turn it inside out.”

Hasmik is a young professional in renewable energy and environmental management fields. She studied in Armenia, France and Germany and has been a postgraduate fellow in Environmental Management at Dresden University of Technology in Germany. In Dresden, she did a comparative research-study on policy making in solar energy sector in Armenia and in Germany. She has a specific interest in policies, regulations and decision making in energy and environmental sectors. 

Since 2016, Hasmik has implemented a number of solar projects, aiming to community development in Armenia. She has hosted courses and seminars on climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Since her election as President of European Youth Parliament for Water - EYPW in 2019, she has committed herself to support young water leaders to pursue their concrete local actions by reinforcing their capacities and to mobilize the network of future environmental leaders for common issues at European scale and beyond. She has a specific focus on environmental education, transboundary cooperation and gender mainstreaming in environmental projects. Currently she is coordinating renewable energy projects in Women in Climate and Energy - WICE in Armenia.

“We are living in an interconnected world, where multidimensional decision-making is of high importance to achieve sustainable development and to ensure equal opportunities for everyone! I believe that every citizen of the world has to invest his talents for creating value for the humanity. The moment to act is now!”

Sue Riddlestone OBE

Chief Executive
Wallington, United Kingdom

Life on our planet is what motivated me to go into the zero carbon and sustainability sector. We are consuming resources and creating greenhouse gases much faster than the planet can absorb or replenish. If everyone lived like we do in Europe we would need three planets to support us. In the US it is five planet living. But what we need is One Planet Living and, a key part of that is zero carbon emissions. 

The effect of this will be to seriously disadvantage human beings from thriving and having stable lives, in fact it is already happening, and wipe out the best part of the remaining life on our planet.

I am a social entrepreneur so I co-founded my organisation Bioregional to show, though real-life projects and examples that we can produce the things we need and live better lives in a resource -efficient zero carbon world. This has included the BedZED eco-village in London where Bioregional are based and where I live, and One Planet Communities around the world using our One Planet Living framework.

For the remainder of my career I want to work to achieve the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 through more practical work, and also system change policy and advocacy work. Then I can retire knowing it’s ok, we collectively saved the day, or it is all a disaster and we failed. But most likely it will be something in between. So in your work, please work hard for zero carbon everything everywhere as urgently and quickly as possible. No time to lose!

Mariya Manolova

Project Manager
Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect
Sofia, Bulgaria

Maria Manolova has completed her Master’s degree in the area of Regional Energy Resources and Strategies at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" in 2012.
In 2017, Maria Manolova successfully defended her doctorate in the field of Earth Sciences (Economic and Social Geography - Regional Geo-energy Resources and Strategies) at the Department of Regional and Political Geography of Sofia University. The topic of the thesis is "Energy Planning as a Key Instrument for the Sustainable Development of Municipalities". Maria Manolova is the first Ph.D graduate in Municipal Energy Planning in Bulgaria.

Currently Maria Manolova is a project manager at the Center of Energy Efficiency EnEffect in Sofia. Her responsibilities include preparation of analysis, development of sustainable energy plans, organization and support of conferences and events related to the activities of Municipal Energy Efficiency Network EcoEnergy and the Center of Energy Efficiency EnEffect.


Nielsen, Iben Bolund

Senior Project leader
Sønderborg Forsyning
Sønderborg, Denmark 

Currently Iben Bolund Nielsen is working with renewable energy supply (RES) and retrofitting of apartment buildings in Sønderborg. The locally sourced RES she is working on include 160 MW near shore wind turbines, a 10 MW straw fired boiler for district heating, and a biomass facility for upgraded biomethane production.
She always wanted to work in the sustainability sector since this is where her passion lies. During her studies and early career she learned that the built environment accounts for approximately half of the energy consumption and waste worldwide which was a motivating factor to work in this field. The impact from even incremental improvements is potentially huge.

Looking ahead she expects to stay in the sustainability sector, also specifically in the energy sector, because the coming decade is a crucial transition period from the coal and oil industry to RES which she wants to be an active part of.

Strzalka, Aneta

Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology
Stuttgart, Germany

Aneta Strzalka is a senior researcher at zafh.net (Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology) at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart and currently working for a project, which deals with the development of a special urban solution with regard to reduce the heat demand and production in residential areas.
After she absolved a Secondary Music School as a Rhythmik and Piano Teacher she decided to study something more future-oriented and switched to the Energy Sector with a Study on Environmental Protection, which she absolved in 2002 in Poland.

After this, continued her education in the energy sector in Germany and began a Master Course on Sustainable Energy Competence (SENCE), which she graduated in 2005. During this study she felt in love with a research work and started to work as a researcher at zafh.net and to do her PhD, which was about the development of a method to forecast the heat demand of city quarters and whole cities. In the year of 2013 she received a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Opole, Poland. Over the past years she was writing and publishing research publications, some of them in peer-reviewed journals, and also continued to work on further development of the forecasting method at urban scale.

The new trend in her research work is to expand the forecasting method to the Eastern Europe and to open a successful collaboration with countries like Poland, Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.As a women in the research world she seeks for new female contacts in order to exchange the experience and the knowledge as well as to get new inputs for her research work.

Vasilenko, Polina

Founder and CEO
Paris, France

Polina is a passionate environmental entrepreneur, with two master’s degrees in Chemistry and Renewable
Energy. With an indomitable determination and boundless enthusiasm, Polina’s motto is “Let’s make this world a better place”. After a successful 14-year career in the oil and gas industry, Polina decided to make a fundamental career change and do something useful for the planet.

As active traveler and diver, Polina saw many beautiful places ruined by negative anthropogenic impacts and based on her personal experience and internal feelings, she decided to change her career's path from "black" side of fossil fuel to "green" side of renewable energy. She left her rich, comfortable life and moved into renewable energy technologies without any doubts!

Both her trainings and vast working experience led to her found HelioRec company with a strong mission is producing clean energy through reducing greenhouse gas emission, effective plastic waste management, and land scarcity mitigation.

Polina, as a winner of the first Women in Green Tech International Awards, believes that offshore floating solar is the next new sector in the energy industry and with additional features of HelioRec's technology it can find wide positive applications around the globe.

Seibold, Fabienne

WomenREACH Germany
John Deere GmbH & Co. KG
Kaiserslautern, Germany

Fabienne Seibold, agronomical engineer, is employed at John Deere, the largest European and worldwide manufacturer of agricultural equipment and a leading producer of forestry and construction machinery. As development engineer, Fabienne leads all publicly funded R&D activities in EU zone (except Germany) and external technology relationships with main focus on sustainability and manufacturing. She is also the German ambassador of the Society of Women Engineer (SWE) and the lead of John Deere Women Network in Germany.

Löbbe, Prof. Dr. Sabine

Professor for energy economics and energy markets | owner of Löbbe Consulting
Hochschule Reutlingen
Reutlingen, Germany

During my studies in business administration in 1988 in Saarbrücken, I was responsible for the acquisition and management of projects within a student initiative covering marketing issues. We worked with a local utility, Prognos and Wuppertal Institute on a project destined to develop a concept for positioning the municipal utility of Bremen, Northern Germany as a provider for energy services. The initiator’s motivation, the Bremen Senate, was to develop answers regarding the nuclear accident in Tchernobyl in 1987. Our task was to develop a marketing concept for the utility. This was rather unique at that time. This hazard-like approach made me get in touch with the energy industry. Later, I started working for a regional utility and wrote my doctorate about Marketing Strategies for Utilities.

In the last 30 years, I accompanied many utilities and related firms and associations in developing and implementing strategies, business models and in realizing change. I worked as a general manager in utilities as well as consultant. For three years, I enjoy teaching, researching and consulting.

What motivates me still today: Strategy and business model development in the energy industry means “change” and “shaping the future” in a complex environment.


Wulff, Amelie

Executive Strategic Growth Leader
GE Renewable Energy
Boulogne Billancourt, France

Amelie Wulff is the Global Strategic Growth Leader for GE Renewable Energy based out of the global headquarters in Paris, France. In her role, Amelie is driving thought-leadership, strategic plans and initiatives for GE’s Renewables business. She is overlooking a portfolio of multi-use technologies and generation assets and is seeking to drive new markets and business models across the globe.

 Prior to joining Amelie spent 2 years as the Managing Director – Project Finance – for the International Markets at Current, powered by GE. Current, powered by GE, is activating and leading the transition to a 21st century ecosystem by helping companies redefine the way they use energy and data technologies.

Before her move to Current, she spent 10 years at GE Capital working in a number of GE businesses across Europe. She began her career in 2003 at Industrie-und Kreditbank in Germany working in the Structured Finance department covering the international offices of IKB from the risk side. In 2006, Amelie joined GE Capital in the Central European division of Healthcare Finance. From 2011 through 2015 she worked on GE’s Corporate Leadership Staff and from 2014 to 2016, Amelie spearheaded all commercial and business development activities for GE Capital International in EMEA in the Healthcare Finance unit based out of London.

 Amelie holds an M.B.A. University of Utrecht and a B.A. in Economics from Boston College.

 Amelie is on the board of the Evangelische Krankenhaus Duesseldorf and an advisor to both a medical device and an IT start-up based out of Germany.

Faust, Eva

Project Engineer
enolcon gmbh
Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany 

With the goal to contribute to a sustainable future, I studied B.Sc. Renewable Energies and M.Sc. Energy Technologies at the University of Stuttgart. Those studies gave me a great understanding of the wide possible application fields of renewable energies and their importance to our future energy supply and a sustainable society. During my master I focused on thermal energy systems and did a research project at the UTFSM in Valparaíso Chile in the field of process heat generation with Concentrated Solar Power in Chilean industries. 

In 2015 I did an internship at enolcon. During this period, I supported the final design, construction and commissioning of the demonstration plant ORCTES of the high temperature thermal energy storage system developed by enolcon. At this demonstration plant the storage system is combined with an organic rankine cycle (ORC), so that electricity can be produced during discharging of the storage system via the ORC.

In my master thesis I developed a flow model to predict the temperature distribution in the storage layers of this demonstration plant at different operational conditions. The model could be validated with measurement data of the ORCTES-plant. In September 2017 I was able to present this work at the 2017th Solar Paces Conference in Chile.

In 2016 I joined enolcon. Enolcon is a consultancy and engineering company in the field of energy production and energy efficiency based on renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, biomass), high-efficiency conventional power plants (e.g. CHP cogeneration plants, waste-to-energy plants), exhaust gas purification (SCR-DeNOx) and thermal energy storage. At enolcon I am working within different energy technology related projects getting a deep inside into various applications and their specific problems. Currently I am involved in different projects in the field of Concentrated Solar Power as well as DeNOx-recovery for exhaust gas purification and thermal energy storage systems.

Chassein, Edith

Scientific Officer / M.A. Sociologist
Institute for Resource Efficiency and Energy Strategies (IREES)
Karlsruhe, Germany 

My research focuses mainly on the identification of acceptance factors and impeding factors as well as the examination of communication processes with regard to innovative and energy-efficient products (e.g. LED lighting) and renewable energy. I look at the field of education as well as industry and commerce and on the municipal level. My responsibilities also include the formulation of policy recommendations.

As I studied sociology (focus on education and migration), I was not quite clear what to do with it until I found the niche of energy and environmental research. I have always been interested in sustainable issues and was very happy to see that I can contribute to a better future in the way of research in energy topics.

I work for almost five years now (since 2012) in a small institute that is independent and interdisciplinary. I really enjoy this small group of researchers and could not imagine working in a “big player” organization. But of course I try my best to become a well known expert in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy research in order to support decision makers.


Chvanova, Elena

Project Manager / Junior Consultant
Dr. Langniß Energie & Analyse
Stuttgart, Germany

I am working on studies about renewable energies (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) for governmental institutions and commercial customers and setting up strategies for implementing RE and EE worldwide. Besides, I am coordinating projects in the energy sector. This is one of the most important economic sectors and impacts the development of all other sectors. The combination of state and public property and their regulation makes this sector even more interesting to work in. I started my career in the energy sector in 2008 in the Russian Energy Ministry.

At that time, a large-scale transformation of the Russian energy sector took place when a vertical integrated state company that was responsible for all elements of the energy sector value chain was resolved into private (power generation and supply) and state companies (networks).

Then, I worked in numerous Russian and German companies in the energy sector and was especially active in research and market analysis. My long-term commitment to this sector has only proved that it is a very exciting and challenging sphere.  

My objective is to become a professional project manager and experienced consultant for projects aiming at climate change mitigation worldwide (increasing the share of renewable energies in power generation and energy efficiency) and perhaps the establishment of my own company, or working as an independent consultant.


Dirnberger, Daniela

Scientific Project Coordinator / PhD Student
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
Freiburg, Germany 

“When I chose to become an engineer, I – thinking very idealistically as a student – wanted to contribute to solving the world’s energy problem”. Daniela Dirnberger was especially interested in renewable energies. As a result of the lack of options offering a focus on renewable energies as well as education in necessary fundamentals, she went to study mechanical engineering. The focus there was more on fossil and nuclear power generation. She was quite impressed by the technical achievements allowing for the operation of huge power plants.

And again, as in many other cases, her studies allowed her to travel. Her first practical experiences were in the field of commissioning of power plants, in Australia and Germany.

After this experience, she realised that she really wanted to specialise in renewable energies, as she had started to believe that fossil and nuclear power plants were not the only alternatives. Daniela Dirnberger believes that renewable energies are key for energetic independence in the future.

For her future, she wants to face challenging tasks in the field of renewable energies. She would also like to contribute to true gender equality in business – a goal that she shares with many other excellently educated women linked in the femtec.Alumnae e.V. network (www.femtec-alumnae.org).

Doyle, Lucía

Project Manager
ttz Bremerhaven
Bremerhaven, Germany 

Lucía Doyle is working at the Technologie-Transfer-Zentrum Bremerhaven (ttz), in the north of Germany. She is part of the Environment Department, which performs applied research and development in the areas of "Water, Energy and Land Use Management", not only in Germany and Europe but also around the globe. Energy efficiency, renewable energies or new technologies for biomass… all this and more is the focus of Ms. Doyle. She works in cooperation with other researchers, companies and associations, conducing applied research and bringing the innovations on the market.

She studied Chemical Engineering at the Autónoma University of Madrid in Spain, after which she conducted a MSc in Energy and Fuels for the Future. After working for some years in concentrated solar power, she is now focusing on biomass conversion technologies and waste-to-energy systems
as part of the biomass group at ttz, where she is also coordinator of FP7 projects. Since she was a little girl, she knew exactly what she wanted to be. Her dream was to become an engineer. She wanted her work to help achieving a more sustainable future and this is why she decided to focus on renewable energies.

And for the future? With a long career ahead, she would like to become a Technical Director so she can build a team and lead new projects.

Eckelmann, Britt Sylvia

Entrepreneur / Architect
E2 Energie GmbH
Berlin, Germany 

Britt Sylvia Eckelmann is not a typical scientist or researcher. She is an entrepreneur, a partner in a company and studied architecture. To earn her degrees, she had to leave Germany and study in the UK and USA. She is an example that it is not necessary to be a scientist to work with new technologies and to make your environment better. One of the companies in which she is active is E2 Energie GmbH, the other one being the architecture office CPM.

Britt Sylvia Eckelmann started her company very young – at 26 years old, straight after finishing her studies. She is successful in a male-dominated sector. Moreover, she is an advocate for working in mixed teams where women and men work together on projects.

In the energy field, she focuses on the supply of electricity and heating / cooling based on different energy sources including conventional sources as well as biogas, solar and photovoltaic systems and the operation of energy grids for industrial and residential projects.

She has been in the business for more than 10 years and during her work in real estate as an architect and developer, she witnessed the rising demand for changes in energy provision and sources. She recognises that there is potential and opportunities both in western and development countries alike. Unlike in Germany, renewable energies have proven to be an avenue for business success without any subsidies in other parts of the world. Ms. Eckelmann expanded the services of the architect office by using new innovative ideas. In her opinion, the diversification into renewable energies has been instrumental to the company’s current success.

Prof. Dr. Eicker, Ursula

Centre for Applied Research - Sustainable Energy Technology
Stuttgart, Germany 

Ursula Eicker hadn’t planned to study physics at high school — music and languages were here focus. But she wanted to try something new. As a fan of mathematics, she was looking for an application-oriented subject where theoretical and practical information could be combined. She studied physics with a focus on solid-state physics. Later, she received a doctoral degree in physics at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. At the age of only 29, she became a professor for Building Physics at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart. Today, she is head of the Egle-Institute for applied research at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart as well as the Centre for Applied Research at Universities of Applied Sciences – Sustainable Energy Technology (zafh.net) in Stuttgart.

The fields of her research and study are very diverse, from building physics, solar heating and cooling (e.g. cooling with solar energy), photovoltaic, biomass, energy efficient buildings and city quarters to simulation and IT.
Ursula Eicker feels at home with application-oriented research projects in cooperation with engineers, architects and other partners. The applied research sector is diverse and relatively new and the solar energy topic is important in society. Energy policy is also a topic that is discussed by the public at large. Her activities in the energy sector focus on application-oriented research, more specifically on urban energy concepts, energy management and innovative cooling and heating solutions. Increased networking with European and international communities with
trendsetting energy concepts is an exciting development and research and demonstration projects can help achieve sustainability quicker.

As a woman in a male-dominated sector, she is widely acknowledged and enjoys a good working atmosphere, be it in the office, at international events or on construction sites.
She encourages girls to consider a technical degree for a fulfilling and diverse life. Some idealism and pioneer spirit is still required to use the new technologies. She would like to see more use made of sustainable energy technology now and not only once fossil energy sources are running short and the energy allocation battles get harder.

Franceschi, Joelle

EIfER - European Insitut for Energy Research
Karlsruhe, Germany 

Joelle Franceschi has a degree in geography and has worked as a research assistant at the European Institute for Energy Research since 2010. As such, she advises researchers on the selection of suitable funding programs and supports them in the application process and implementation of European and national research projects. The initiation of research cooperation is also one of her focal points. Due to her many years of intercultural competence acquired in a multicultural environment, she also advises employees on questions of international cooperation. Gender aspects play a particularly important role in the development of decentralised energy supply technologies, an area traditionally dominated by men.

How can the innovation potential of women be further promoted? How is innovation lived by women in other cultures? These and other questions are part of the research environment of a multinational institute and should be further investigated .


Ghaem, Sara

PhD Candidate
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Stockholm, Sweden

Sara Ghaem has always been fascinated by science and had a great time at school. “The inspiration came from my father’s job and I knew that I wanted to become an engineer. I got my engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST). After graduation, I have been working for several years in the oil and gas industry in Iran. In my last job, I have been the supervisor of the projects in the National Iranian Oil Company for four years.“

Working in the oil and gas industry gave her the chance to understand deeply how much society, policy and the environment are influenced by this source of energy and she asked herself, why just oil and gas which both have such a destructive influence. It made her think about other types of energy sources which are renewable and more sustainable with less environmental and social impacts.

Although working in industry was a great experience for her and she had a very challenging job, she wanted to get back to science and decided to return to the academic environment, improve her knowledge and make a change in the energy sector. “I also felt that living abroad could be an amazing experience and a step forward in achieving my dreams. In the end, I decided to come to Sweden which is one of the pioneers in sustainable society development.” She was accepted at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) to study a Master's degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in sustainable energy and is now a PhD Student in the field of energy technology. Her work focuses on small-scale energy systems which provide electricity mostly via solar, wind, biomass or any other types of local renewable energy sources. Her project aims to provide technical solution to produce energy from available local energy sources and develop technologies which are more sustainable and reliable.

Sara is very passionate about her chosen career:
“I love my work! It is a challenge every day and I have the chance to travel to different conferences and seminars. I believe that research and education are the key factors towards a better society and I want to contribute more in developing more sustainability in the energy sector.“ And does she think that it is hard for women in this sector? “In my opinion, science is a girl thing and it does not contradict with femininity or having an amazing lifestyle as a woman! We should forget all clichés about women in engineering by looking at the history of education for women during the last century and encourage other women to make a contribution towards a better society."


Haselsteiner, Edeltraud

Institut für nachhaltige Energienutzung
Wien, Austria

"As a project manager and freelance researcher, I am active in the interdisciplinary field of sustainable architecture / urban planning / energy / technology / sociology / project management, communication and knowledge transfer. I am involved in a variety of ways with questions relating to gender aspects. The low presence of women in energy technology, and in particular in energy research, results in one-sided research and development strategies that ignore important issues or consider them to be too low. For application-oriented technological developments and solutions, I see the consideration of gender aspects as an essential success factor. This results in more tailor-made solutions for product development, communication and the planning process.

In the research project "GINGER - Genderaspekte In der Nutzung von Gebäuden, Energie und Ressourcen"" (Gender Aspects in the Use of Buildings, Energy and Resources) the influence of user behaviour on the operation of low-energy and plus-energy buildings was examined differentiated according to social, social and intercultural aspects, in particular according to gender aspects. The aim was a comprehensive analysis of user behaviour with regard to optimal solutions in the conflict between energy-efficient building design and factors influencing consumers. From this, findings for planning and construction as well as for product development were derived. The results of the two-year project are prepared for different target groups and presented in the form of fact sheets.

Idrizi, Klodeta

Mechanical Engineer
Energji Ashta sh.p.k
Shkoder County, Albania 

Klodeta Idrizi studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnical University in Tirana. Later, she took part in various traineeships, which also involved travelling abroad, for example to Germany. Klodeta is convinced of one thing: ”First of all, I believe that to follow any career one must like her/his profession.” She has always been attracted by the subjects machineries, technology and physics. Her recognition of this helped her to decide on an engineering career. The energy sector became a significant challenge to her during her studies, due to it being a wide and delicate sector to work in. Following a recommendation from one of her professors and after visiting some of the hydropower plants in northern Albania, she decided to become part of these complicated and interesting systems.

The environmental sector is always progressing and trying to adapt to the current needs of the consumer. As a result, the nature and importance of the problems being faced change and require creative thinking in finding ways to solve them. She knows she faces a relatively challenging professional future and will have to stay very active in order to be competitive in this powerful sector.

Klodeta Idrizi currently works in the youngest river hydropower plant in Shkoder County in the northern part of Albania. She is the head of a team of five that is responsible for planning and executing the maintenance of the hydro-mechanical equipment of the power plant. One of her jobs is to keep all 90 hydromatrix turbines fully functional so that more than 100,000 Albanian households can be supplied with electricity.

Laborgne, Pia

Scientific employee
Europäisches Institut für Energieforschung
Karlsruhe, Germany

Pia Laborgne is a sociologist and has been a research associate at the European Institute for Energy Research since 2004. Her thematic focuses are municipal energy and climate protection strategies, stakeholder analyses and participation in planning processes, acceptance of renewable and decentralised energy technologies, energy consumption and energy efficiency in buildings. Ms. Laborgne has worked on national and European projects in this field. She was a member of the junior research group "Political Ecology of Urban Infrastructures" (2010-2014) at the TU Darmstadt and is doing her doctorate in the field of "Transformation of Urban Energy Systems" at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg.

The aspect of "gender" plays a role in these topics time and again. It has been dealt with explicitly, especially in projects on energy consumption. It becomes clear that especially in the other areas such as technology development and energy policy/local strategies for the implementation of the energy system transformation there is still a great need for research on gender dimensions. But there is also a need for research and action on energy research itself: how can we achieve a more balanced gender distribution in this area? Does this play a role in the results of research? How can working conditions in research be improved in general, especially in terms of reconciling work and family responsibilities?


Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Ovtcharova, Jivka

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe, Germany

Everyday, as a Professor, she sees her role in promoting students at the university, encouraging, influencing and strengthening their initiatives in energy consciousness. She manages study programmes (Product Life Cycle Management and Virtual Engineering) and last but not least, she is a scientist herself. She has been the head of the Institute for Information Management in Engineering (IMI) since October 2003 and is the founder of the Lifecycle Engineering Soluons Center (LESC) at Karlsruhe Instute of Technology (KIT). This novel facility aims at the interdisciplinary collaboration between research institutions, as well as knowledge exchange and technology transfer to both the industry and society using immersive visulisation technologies.

Now a Professor at KIT, she started her studies in Sofia (Bulgaria) and later studied and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in the field of heat-power and process automation at Moscow Power Engineering Institute. Her career brought her to Germany where she continued with studies in computer sciences. And the work never got boring. She worked at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, the Fraunhofer Society and Adam Opel where she was the leader of a Process and Systems Integration Center for General Motors Europe.

Her job and passion for new technologies allow her to travel all around the world and gain new experiences. She truly believes in advances through new technologies, i.e. virtual reality but also progress due to the development of new energy sources and improving efficiency of energy use. Prof. Ovtcharova has been involved within the Concerto project. The aims of this project are to increase the share of fossil fuels and reduce emissions of CO2 in four European cities (located in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic) within 5 years by 20% to 30%. Currently, she is participating in an EU project on „Knowledge-based energy management for public buildings through holistic information modeling and 3D visualization (KnoHolEM)“. The project’s aim is the engineering of an intelligent energy management solution that will considerably reduce energy consumption, both by systematically avoiding energy wasting in buildings and by knowledge based holistic optimization of energy consumption. KnoHolEM will facilitate up to 20% of energy savings, depending on the building.


Dr. Schwenkert, Isabell

Project Manager
State Initiative for Energy Storage and Systems in Lower Saxony
Göttingen, Germany

Dr. Schwenkert studied neurobiology where she received her PhD. After she had finished her studies, she could concentrate on her passion for technology. She started her career in the medical device industry and later moved to the field of technology transfer for academic institutes. Now, her focus is on energy systems and energy storage.

Energy systems are one of many research and development activities Dr. Schwenkert is dealing with. There are interesting challenges that need to be overcome in order to make the transition from fossil energies like coal to renewable energies. This is also one of the reasons why she was intrigued by the opportunity to start working for a consulting company (innos-Sperlich GmbH). Here, Dr. Schwenkert manages projects in both the fields of lifescience and energy storage and storage systems, so her job never becomes boring. Her activities range from consultancy for making grant applications for small and medium sized enterprises for Research and Development (R&D) activities to technology developments in these areas. On a less technical side, she also does market research and trend identification or networking with key opinion leaders. Moreover, she manages a communication platform specially designed for companies and research institutes in the area of energy storage and energy systems in Lower Saxony.

She looks positively towards the future. In her opinion, there are still lots of opportunities in the energy sector that an open-minded person can grasp und now is the right time to make an impact by helping to shape the energy market for the future.


Ponitka, Heike

Equal opportunities officer
Landeshauptstadt Magdeburg, Gleichstellungsamt
Magdeburg, Germany 

The topic of gender and energy concerns many interfaces of gender equality work. Women and men are consumers and thus also users of energy resources. As entrepreneurs, employers or administrative employees, women have a say in the form of energy used and have concrete opportunities to influence it.

Girls - boys and career choice is an important topic and to interest girls more in technology and alternative occupations in particular is an important concern of gender equality work. The gender approach is a very useful instrument.


Zätterström, Sofia

Technology Transfer Manager
KIC InnoEnergy Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden 

KIC InnoEnergy caught the interest of Sofia Zätterström since she is
passionate about innovation and research related issues. How to best  commercialise ideas and research findings has been a theme throughout  her entire career. Sofia provides commercialisation and entrepreneurial advice to entrepreneurs and researchers during the early stages of a company's existence. She has a profound knowledge of various areas such as R&D/product management, business development and customer behaviour.

In addition, Sofia believes in the importance of having a strong connection to the academia and utilising relevant research in the
activities of a company. Whatever the task to be completed, there is always a focus on sustainable energy, inline with KIC InnoEnergy’s

Sofia obtained a Master of Science in  vehicle engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and was then accepted to a trainee programme with a large international company. The programme, and further employment, gave her valuable experience both from working in a corporate research departmentand from the international nature of the work including periods in China. Sofia has also worked at start-ups, especially remembering the journey from nine employees and non-commercial projects to 20+ employees and plenty of business at one of the start-up companies.

Sofia aims to stay in this interesting and excting field in the future and hopes to bring more innovation projects and ideas to success.


Closed since 5 December 2019


Willi-Bleicher-Strasse 19
70174 Stuttgart, Germany

Organised by


Participants 73
Meetings 37


Algeria 1
Austria 1
Bulgaria 1
Denmark 2
Finland 2
France 1
Germany 68
Italy 4
Luxembourg 1
North Macedonia 1
Mexico 1
Netherlands 1
Turkey 2
United States 1
Total 87