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What can you do with a PhD in energy?


This interview is part of the series 'What can you do with a PhD in energy?'. The series is about talented students who have recently earned a PhD degree (or are about to do so), and who are now moving on and taking a next step in their career. This week: Goda Perlaviciute

Goda Perlaviciute earned her Ph.D last month and will pursue a career in research at the University of Groningen. She arrived in Groningen six years ago to do a one-year master in Social Psychology, after her bachelors in Psychology in Lithuania. After her master she went on to do her Ph.D research, under the supervision of professor Linda Steg at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, which took about four years to complete.

She explains what her thesis, entitled ’Goal-driven evaluations of sustainable products’, is about: ’’We wanted to analyse how people arrive at their evaluations of so-called green products, like organic food products, energy alternatives etcetera. We wanted to know how people evaluate the different pros and cons of these products and how this affects their acceptability ratings. We reason and find that it depends on people’s goals. If they have strong environmental goals they tend to see more benefits from sustainable products and less cost. It’s the other way round with people who are mainly after saving money. But just tagging a ‘green’ label to products doesn’t automatically mean that people with environmental goals will evaluate them positively. The product needs to be seen as actually fulfilling those goals in order to be evaluated positively.’’

She says her interest in sustainability has shifted more and more to energy: ‘’In the thesis we already started looking at how people evaluate low-carbon alternatives like nuclear energy and renewable energy. I have started my post-doc now and that research deals with the acceptability of natural gas production in the Netherlands. I’ve also submitted a proposal to start studies on acceptability of shale gas. Different energy alternatives products often entail conflicting individual (e.g. save money) and collective outcomes (e.g protect the environment); I am still applying the theoretical reasoning from my Ph.D. thesis to study evaluations and acceptability of these alternatives.’’

Goda has started her post-doc in January, for a period of fourteen months. But she would like to stay at Groningen University for longer: ‘’For after my post-doc we’re already applying for funding for the research on shale gas, and we are also trying to apply for Horizon 2020, also to do research on acceptability of different types of energy. We’re also checking possibilities to receive research funding from energy companies. For me, the near future and the longer term goals lie within the university, as here I can work with highly-qualified people and have the best means to do independent and professional research.’’

Source: Energy Academy Europe

Last modified:18 July 2022 11.00 a.m.