Interested in environmental and energy policy? The Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) Network brings together young professionals from Europe and North America for study tours, conferences, and to establish a diverse and interdisciplinary network of relevant contacts. Former EGU Science Communications Fellow and ELEEP member Edvard Glücksman explains how he got involved and, as the network looks to expand, why EGU scientists should apply.
What is it?
ELEEP was launched in 2011 as a collaborative venture between two non-partisan think tanks, the Atlantic Council and Ecologic Institute, seeking to develop innovative transatlantic policy partnerships. Funding was initially acquired from the European Union’s I-CITE Project and subsequently from the European Union and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. ELEEP has no policy agenda and no political affiliation.
How does it work?
The day-to-day activities of the network take place within a closed Facebook group, custom built to log activity and allocate points to members according to the quality and quantity of their participation. Members post relevant content, including their own published work, news articles, and job-related information, as well as comment on the posts of others. Over time, more active members have a greater chance of being invited to the variety of face-to-face engagements that ELEEP has to offer.
Thus far, ELEEP members have participated on:
- A study tour to Germany and Austria, investigating opportunities and challenges for agriculture and forestry to contribute to the renewable energy economy;
- A study tour to Detroit and Pittsburgh, looking at the transformation of industrial regions;
- A study tour to Germany and Denmark, exploring the transformation of the energy economy;
- A summit in Brussels, which explored a wide range of issues and gave ELEEP members an opportunity to highlight their work for the rest of the group;
- A study tour to Budapest, Hungary, on the subject of the EU’s energy and environmental policy in Central Europe;
- A study tour to Stuttgart and Paris, examining the evolution of sustainable transportation and mobility through business and policy initiatives;
- A study tour to London and Aberdeen, on Energy Efficiency in the UK;
- A study tour to the US Southwest, examining the water-energy nexus.
I joined ELEEP as one of the group’s original members, having heard about the network on a visit to Atlantic Council headquarters in Washington DC shortly after its inception. The group offers me the opportunity to continue working with policy issues whilst at the same time conducting my everyday postdoctoral research. Moreover, ELEEP provides me with a unique social opportunity, putting me in touch with an inspiring interdisciplinary group of elected officials, legislative staff, businesspeople, academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, national security experts, urban planners, energy professionals, and journalists from both sides of the Atlantic, all with whom I maintain regular contact.
My first trip with ELEEP was a study tour to Colorado and California, dedicated to exploring hydraulic fracturing and renewable energy, providing an American context to energy policy developments. I covered my journey through a series of posts on GeoLog, including about US renewables and the general state of affairs for energy policy in Colorado and California. Apart from gaining first-hand insight into some of the fundamental differences that underpin European and US energy policy, such as mineral rights legislation, I met some of my fellow ELEEPers for the first time, putting faces to the names I so often communicate with online.
In addition, I was recently invited to attend the first ever conference organised specifically by ELEEP as a group, a session hosted by the Atlantic Council. There, I met many more of my colleagues and, apart from a one-day meeting featuring a range of expert speakers, we received professional communications training and attended a number of brainstorming sessions in view of developing future interdisciplinary collaborations.
My next ELEEP trip will be in early November, to attend the United Nations Framework Conference for Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw.
How to apply
ELEEP membership should appeal to all geoscientists with an interest in environmental and energy policy, in the broadest of terms. Those interested in joining are welcome to apply at any time; selection is competitive and made on a rolling basis. Further details and the application form can be downloaded here.
If you have any questions about the programme and the application process, please contact either the Atlantic Council’s Young Atlanticist Programme Assistant Director Daniel Bennett or Ecologic Institute Fellow Dominic Marcellino. Finally, please do not hesitate to email me with any informal questions you may have.
By Edvard Glücksman, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Duisburg-Essen