The University of Pretoria’s Professor Roula Inglesi-Lotz has landed one of the top positions in the energy sector, having just been appointed vice-principal: regional affairs of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) for one year.
Professor Inglesi-Lotz,is also the president of the South African Association for Energy Economics (SAAEE), which is an affiliate of the IAEE. Her participation in the two prominent energy bodies should be a welcome development particularly as the country is looking to adopt cleaner and alternative sources of electricity to address the energy crisis it is currently facing.
“This role and portfolio is crucial in current times,” said Professor Inglesi-Lotz. “International collaboration between research and science communities is imperative in finding solutions in the energy sector, particularly when countries go through a transition period on the road to sustainability and cleaner environments,” said the professor.
She said she feels greatly honoured to be nominated to serve on the council of an organisation that consists of hundreds of members and more than 30 country affiliates. “I am thankful for the organisation’s appreciation of my hard work over the past few years, and that I am involved at an international level, but also leading the South African affiliate. And of course to top it off, to be elected to that crucial position of Regional Affairs,” said Professor Inglesi-Lotz.
The main objective of IAEE, said the professor, is to provide for the mutual association of individuals who are interested in energy economics. The idea is to create a forum for multi-national, multi-disciplinary discussion, and to provide a means of professional communication and constructive dialogue.
SAAEE’s expertise lies in energy economics and policy and aims to establish a national forum for energy specialists from various spheres in the energy sector. These include critical spheres such as academia, industry, government, private and public sector. It also plays an advisory role in policy propositions and implementations.
Essentially one of Professor Inglesi-Lotz’s responsibilities is to provide leadership to and oversight of the organisation’s regional and country affiliates. This entails establishing connections with areas that are currently under-represented globally.
She said the first thing she would do is “to do a thorough analysis of the evolution of the organisation’s membership through the years, and how it compares to other energy economics research communities around the world”.
Said Professor Inglesi-Lotz: “Next, I’m hoping to establish a programme of interactive engagements within the leadership of regional and country affiliates. Such interactions will aim to have a win-win outcome, from the affiliates and membership to IAEE management and vice versa.”
She reckoned that the IAEE is an organisation that promotes gender equality in all aspects of leadership and management. She also expressed a view that women from the developing world generally do not get opportunities in the global forums and this is why she feels “so proud to be representing that demographic”. She added that she would use her position to promote regional integration and co-operation in research.
Professor Inglesi-Lotz said she feels gratified and inspired when she works with women in science. While many are not yet in a position to affect policymaking, she noted, what they can do is act as role models for young women interested in science and academia.