Rasmus Lema - Økonomi og Ledelse

Globalisation and Innovation in Sustainable Energy Industries

To begin with, where are you from?

That’s a good question. On my father’s side, I am from Denmark. My mother grew up in in Australia and her parents came there from Bulgaria and Greek Cyprus. My mom and dad met in Afghanistan in 1975. I was born and raised in Denmark and I have a Danish and an Australian passport.

What is your research project about?

The project is entitled ‘Globalisation and Innovation in Sustainable Energy Industries in China.’ China has emerged as a leading player in several renewable energy technologies over the last ten years. They include wind energy, solar photovoltaics and hydroeenergy. In the context of globalisation, this research addresses both the causes and consequences of China’s rise in sustainable energy technologies.

What are the research questions?

It addresses a first set of questions about the role of global markets for technology in China’s breakthrough from production to innovation in renewable energy industries. A second set of questions is about the impact of China’s rise on renewable energy markets and deployment patterns in both advanced and developing economies.

What do you hope to achieve with your research project?

I come from a tradition that seeks to do policy-relevant research. The project examines problem areas with important implications for several types of ‘research users’ and I hope to create results and insights that are relevant for policy and practice.

For example, we will look into the prospects for competition and collaboration between Europe and china in renewable energy – relevant for both business and government stakeholders here in Denmark and in China. I will also examine the relevance of Chinese renewable energy innovation in Africa.

Why did you apply to be a part of the talent management programme?

The project under this programme is a great opportunity to bring together a number of things that I am working on at the moment. I am currently collaborating with Chinese and Danish researchers in the Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research on innovation dynamics, catching up and global flows of knowledge and resources in green technology.

I am also heading a collaborative research project on innovation and renewable electrification in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Kenya. A major aim is to examine the role of Chinese technology and South-South technology transfer in this respect. Conceptually, I have started up work which seeks to combine national innovation system and global value chain lenses. So I see this programme as opportunity to consolidate and create synergy between my different lines of work.

How do you plan to spend the money?

This project has three main elements:

  1. A post-doctoral project devised for an in-depth case study of innovation and internationalisation of firms in the hydropower sector in China.
  2. Cross-sectoral comparative work drawing on: the post-doc project, existing sectoral case study research by the applicant, work by two PhD students (funded by related projects) and studies conducted by international research partners.
  3. Econometric work on China’s contribution to energy innovation globally, China’s knowledge base in renewables and the internationalisation of Chinese green energy lead-firms.

How can your project can contribute to bringing knowledge into the world?

‘We will do this in several ways. We will have a final symposium which will bring together both researchers, private sector representatives and international organisations. For the private sectors the research will Danish relevant to both Danish firms operating in China and Chinese firm looking to the rest of the world.

I am also looking to strengthen links to with international organisations such as UNIDO and UNCTAD, not least with the help of some of my well-connected project collaborators. The project results will also be distilled in policy briefs, through participation in international conferences and through research communication aimed at non-academic users in Denmark.