Enrica De Cian
Economic policy

Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
My name is Enrica De Cian and I teach Global Change and Sustainability for the International Relations and Environmental Humanities degree courses, as well as Climate Economics for the doctorate in Science and Management of Climate Change, of which I was appointed coordinator in 2020. I also curated the first three editions of the Master’s degree in Science and Management of Climate Change. I’ve always studied environmental economics and specifically the effect of climate change and the policies that aim to tackle them. During the early stages of my career I worked with numeric models of simulation and optimisation, whereas now I’m more interested in understanding the dynamics related to climate change risk management, its socio-economic consequences, and I use econometrics and statistics in order to analyse historical data.

Tell us about your academic path.
I earned a doctorate in Economics and Organisation. I had the opportunity to gain experience abroad as a member of various associations, as an Erasmus student in Copenhagen, as a visiting PhD student at the Massachusett Institute of Technology, and as a Marie Curie fellow at Boston University. I got into environmental economics thanks to professor Musu’s course, after which I asked to change my academic path to Political Economy.

What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
As a lecturer and coordinator of several research projects, often my role is to come up with ideas for students and researchers. Sometimes these ideas don’t get carried forward for a number of reasons, but I always feel grateful when I see them taking my ideas seriously and going even beyond what I imagined for that project. As a teacher, being able to see that someone understood a concept gives me great satisfaction. Another gratifying aspect of my job is seeing collaborators win prestigious research scholarships and contests, or seeing students graduate cum laude and get published in scientific journals.

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I’ve always found the world of research fascinating. After graduating, my first experience was an internship at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a research institute in Brussels. During that experience I had the opportunity to publish my final thesis as a chapter inside a book, and that was the start of my career as a researcher.

What do studying and researching mean to you?
Teaching means constantly debating internally on how you can improve your methods, and trying to find the common ground in order to pass down knowledge to students. We all learn in different ways. Some people learn in a visual way, others through case studies. This is particularly relevant to me because I have been teaching a lot in interdisciplinary contexts. Every year even the same course requires a different approach for me. Research and scientific literature evolve at an impressive pace compared to other subjects. On the other hand though, we always have to make sure we review the presentation of content depending on where the students are from. Research means looking for answers again and again, and “it always takes more than expected”. Discipline, practice, and perseverance — a bit like yoga.

Last update: 07/06/2023