_DSC0149 - Arbeitskopie 2My name is Katharina and I am social scientist at the beginning of my career; I am using this blog to keep people posted on my background, specialization, and projects.

My Early Development

I began by studying International Development at the University of Vienna, which was a great pleasure and gave me freedom to focus on my personal research interests. As my study curriculum was not in line with the Bologna Process, I was able to finish with an equivalent master degree, the Magistra. International Development is a transdisciplinary study curriculum allowing students to learn about all aspects of development and optional lectures permitted me to focus on subjects I was passionate about. Due to a very deep connection with nature, I have always been interested in the environmental aspects in development. As an important starting point for me was the study of indigenous culture, I attended classes on indigenous peoples at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. These courses gave me anthropological insights into the role of indigenous peoples in development and environmental protection. I worked with inspiring and experienced researchers who influenced my future path significantly. I started to reflect more on the relevance of the human relationship to nature, in relation with development, and I began a more intensive focus on agriculture. In turn, I attended agronomic lectures at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, and mainly focused on organic farming. As organic farming is more than just an alternative farming practice, it taught me the connections within as well as between systems; a way of thinking that I encountered again in other lectures about systems thinking. I have a great interest in systems thinking: A holistic way of thinking and understanding humans and their relations with the environment. Apart from taking more lectures at the University of Vienna, I started attending courses at Institute of Social Ecology at the Alpe-Adria University where I learned more about systems thinking and methods to measure human impacts on the environment. The book ‘Limits to Growth’ inspired me to keep focused on environmental issues. Indeed, economics has always been a focus of mine and I knew that it was a major influential factor and should not be neglected in my research. Finally, through my master’s thesis I could dedicate my time to economics. More information can be found on this website.

My master’s thesis became a comprehensive work and opened a whole new universe to me. I realized that I want to stay in research and became fascinated by the green economy idea, ecological economics, the ecosystem service concept, the degrowth frame, etc.

I finished my studies in 2014 with the question: “What next?” and started researching PhD programs. Finally I’ve got the possibility doing my PhD in Belgium at the University of Hasselt. This PhD allows me to work on a Horizon 2020 project called SUFISA

Shortly after finishing my studies, I attended an exciting summer school on socially sustainable degrowth: this was something I did not want to miss.

In 2014, I had the pleasure of presenting my work at three conferences. The first was the 7th ESP conference where I present my research on the Economics of Land Degradation initiative. This presentation is accessible online. The second conference, at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), was the LUCID early researchers conference 2014: Integrating the social and natural dimensions of sustainability—here I talked about my research on the green economy. At the 11th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) I had the pleasure to present my improved research on UNEP’s green economy concept. 

These are thrilling times for me, everything seems possible and everyday opens new opportunities. I am excited to see the next step in my life. I will keep you posted…