WU researcher Jürgen Braunstein wins ERC Starting Grant


The European Research Council awards Jürgen Braunstein an ERC Starting Grant, one of the most prestigious European science awards. The award is endowed with €1.5 million. Braunstein conducts research at the WU Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience. He was granted starting capital for his research project on Energy Transitions and the Rise and Fall of Great Financial Centers (GFCs).

In his research, Braunstein assumes that energy transitions drive finance transitions. This logic, based on historical analysis, typological theory development, and an advanced statistical path model, opens the way for an interdisciplinary approach to the rise and fall of GFCs that draws on comparative political economy and research on innovation and sustainability transitions. By examining energy transitions, finance transitions, and financial systems together, the timing and trajectory of GFCs can be modeled. This has important geopolitical and economic implications.

"I am very happy about this award. It allows me to make an important contribution to the understanding of how energy and finance development influence each other," says Jürgen Braunstein.

About the ERC grants

The European Research Council grants funding to enable talented researchers of any nationality to pursue interdisciplinary, visionary research using unconventional, innovative methods. It awards grants up to an amount of €2.5 million. These grants allow early-career, as well as established researchers to finance their fundamental research projects. The competitive program includes three main funding schemes: ERC Starting Grants, ERC Consolidator Grants, and ERC Advanced Grants. The ERC Starting Grants support excellent young scientists who act as principal investigators in establishing their own independent research team.

About Jürgen Braunstein

Jürgen Braunstein is an Erwin Schrödinger Senior Fellow at the WU Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Rome and a member of the Harvard Center for European Studies.

His research is focused on the drivers and consequences of the green energy revolution for global energy composition and its implications for existing and future international economic relations. Braunstein was a member of the G20 Think20 Task Force under the presidencies of Indonesia (2022), Italy (2021), and Saudi Arabia (2020), which focused on infrastructure financing in the context of decarbonization. Previously, he coordinated the New Climate Economy (NCE) Finance Workstream at the London School of Economics (LSE) Cities Research Center. Braunstein is the author of Capital Choices: Sectoral Politics and the Variation of Sovereign Wealth (2019, Michigan University Press). In 2022, his revised new edition of Capital Choices won the ASCINA Principal Investigator Award.
In addition to his peer-reviewed publications, he has published numerous articles in media outlets such as the Financial Times, Forbes, Project Syndicate, and VoxEU. He holds a PhD in comparative and international political economy and a master's degree in political science from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a BA from the University of Vienna.

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