Katharina Biely

Den Haag, The Nethelands

My research career started as a student at the University of Vienna (Austria), studying International Development. My motivation to study was based on finding out why certain problems such as “underdevelopment” have still not been solved and why problems are only shifted in time and space. During my studies my focus shifted from development towards sustainability. Within this time, I took electoral courses in agriculture, social ecology, anthropology and developed my inter- and trans-disciplinary background. In this period, I also did three internships, one at an NGO and two at research institutes. Through these internships I got first hands-on experiences performing research on sustainable value chains or literature research for an FP7 project about biodiversity and climate change. My master thesis was a comparison between environmental and ecological economics. After graduating with distinction, I completed a PhD in business economics at Hasselt University (Belgium). I was part of the environmental economics research group and performed research and project management tasks within the Horizon 2020 project SUFISA. My PhD research was about market power and sustainability. During my PhD studies, I further gained experience in inter- and transdisciplinary research, wrote scientific articles as well as project-related reports. Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Energy Transition Lab at Delft Technical University. I am investigating the role of human behavior in transitions. To do so I integrate behavior on individual and on system level. I am developing a new conceptual framework of sustainability transitions, which makes use of resilience theory. The starting point is the assumption that the current system is unsustainable, but unfortunately, resilient to change. Accordingly, I aim to identify and understand the factors and mechanisms that make the system resilient to change. Thus, I want to investigate how resilience can be overcome, rather than sustained. Apart from resilience theory, I make use of behavioral research and systems thinking. As a deep transformation has not happened on system-level it cannot be studied on this level. Therefore, I investigate transitions on the individual level by looking at drastic, voluntary lifestyle changes. With this research, I do not only aim to understand transitions on the individual level but connect it also to the system level potentially allowing me to understand how resilience can be overpowered. I do not only perform research on sustainability, but I also try to live it as much as possible. This is not merely because I think that researchers have a great responsibility to not only showcase and practice what they preach. I also understand this as a chance for self-experimentation. I understand my personal life as research object. I draw much insight and inspiration from experiencing and reflecting upon the challenges and joy of change.

Author's posts

A journey ends

This is my last blog for the TPM Energy Transition Lab. One of the more difficult blogs to write because saying goodbye is always a bit tricky. The last two weeks of July were dedicated to saying goodbye to dear colleagues and supervisors. My holiday is about to start, and thus, it is time to …

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Presenting a poster at ERSS 2022

showing a poster that was presented at a conference

It has not been the first time I presented a poster at a conference, though it has been the first time I presented a poster I have created myself. I find the creation of posters difficult. Maybe this is because of lack of experience. Presentations provide much more room for expression than a one-pager. Similar …

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Hosting conference sessions

I arrived at this beautiful hotel close to the center of Graz. It has been a while since I attended a conference offline. Not being the most outgoing person, conferences are always quite thrilling to me. Nevertheless, I love to travel, to hold a talk, to meet other people. I got my badge, went straight …

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The Behavioral Perspective

I do have an interdisciplinary background and I enjoy an interdisciplinary setting. At times this means that I am embarking on a new research journey, and I virtually have to start from zero. This can be quite tedious, but on the other hand, it is also rewarding. When I started working at The TPM Energy …

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Presenting at Beyond Oil 2021

Beyond Oil 2021 has been the second conference I attended this year. I was happy that I could attend it online, as I had to travel to my home country for an emergency. This, clearly was another illustration of the advantages of online conferences. Though, I also admit I miss the feel of offline conferences. …

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Two paths one goal

How to break path dependency? That is my starting point. Path dependency refers to the idea that past decisions determine or at least influence present and future options and decisions. An example; the educational path you chose has an effect on the jobs you will be qualified for. A change might be possible, but there …

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International system dynamics conference

The International System Dynamics Conference 2021 is the first conference I participated working for Delft Technical University. I submitted work about transition and human behavior. Because my work was not yet that well developed, I submitted to the feedback session. I was hoping to get feedback from experienced system dynamics practitioners. Already in preparation for …

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Transition / transformation / adaptation?

In another blog I will discuss my struggle with the transition-term. However, in this blog post I will show you what the TPM ETLab team discussed during a workshop, which took place on the 13th of July 2021. I facilitated the workshop, provided tasks that should help me to get an outside perspective on transition …

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How it all began

As you can see on the Energy Transition Lab webpage, one of the aims is to provide a save space for risky research. This is the dream for many researchers, I would argue. Risky means that you may perform research which does not lead to publishable output. In the scientific community all too often only …

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