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FEEM is proud to announce that Massimo Tavoni, Deputy Coordinator of FEEM’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development Programme and of the Climate Impacts and Policies division at CMCC, has been awarded one of the prestigious European Research Council Starting Grants.

The research lines set by Tavoni for this 5-year project are innovative and ambitious and aim to incorporate Consumers’ Behaviour into Integrated Assessment Modelling. Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council grants aim to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age.

As Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn commented: "The European Research Council has changed the research landscape for young talent, and raised the level of science across Europe. It is funding blue-sky research that is advancing human knowledge, but also producing breakthroughs that could make their way into our daily lives in future. The ERC is now an established label of excellence, and it will go from strength to strength under Horizon 2020." (More information about the new ERC starting grant results).

Massimo will investigate “the role of consumer behaviour and heterogeneity in the integrated assessment of energy and climate policies – COBHAM”, as explicitly indicated by the name of the project. More in details, the objective of this innovative work will be to quantify the role of consumers’ behaviour on the design and assessment of policies aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and conservation and at promoting climate change mitigation.

The project brings together different disciplines –namely energy policy, environmental and ecological economics, behavioral public finance, experimental economics, and technology policy- in an integrated fashion. COBHAM is designed to go beyond the standard analysis of energy and climate policies in the presence of environmental externalities, by accounting for the heterogeneity in consumers’ preferences, the role of social interactions, and the presence of behavioral tendencies and biases. The project seeks to:

  • carry out innovative research in the theoretical understanding of the interplay between behavioral tendencies and environmental externalities;
  • generate new empirical data and research on individual preferences by means of original surveys and controlled experiments;
  • enhance integrated assessment models (IAMs) of economy, energy and climate with an advanced representation of consumers’ behavior.

In doing so, the project will be able to provide a richer characterization of energy demand and of greenhouse gas emission scenarios, to better estimate consumers’ responsiveness to energy and climate policies, and to provide input to the design of new policy instruments aimed at influencing energy and environmental sustainable behavior.

COBHAM is of high public policy relevance given Europe’s legislation on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions, and can provide important insights also outside the sphere of energy and climate policymaking.

About the European Research Council

Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. It funds young, early-career top researchers (‘ERC Starting grants’), already independent excellent scientists (‘ERC Consolidator Grants’), and senior research leaders (‘ERC Advanced Grants’). The substantial funding is awarded based on peer review evaluation and can amount to maximum €2 million for a Starting Grant, €2.75 million for a Consolidator Grant and €3.5 million for an Advanced Grant.

The ERC operates according to an ‘investigator-driven’, or ‘bottom-up’, approach, allowing researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research, without thematic priorities. The ERC, which is a pioneering component of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (‘Ideas’ Specific Programme), has a total budget of €7.5 billion from 2007 to 2013. The European Commission has proposed a significant boost of the ERC budget to over €13 billion in the new framework programme ‘Horizon 2020’ (2014-2020). Research institutions hosting ERC grantees must be situated within the European Research Area (ERA), which comprises the 28 EU Member States and 13 countries associated to the FP7. These associated countries contribute to the ERC budget every year.

The ERC is led by the ERC Scientific Council, composed of 22 top scientists and scholars. Professor Helga Nowotny is the ERC President. The ERC Executive Agency implements the ‘Ideas’ Specific Programme and is led by Director Pablo Amor.

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