Researcher in Economics
Graduate of the Saint-Etienne École nationale supérieure des Mines
Specialized Masters Degree in Optimization of energy systems, École des Mines de Paris, Sophia Antipolis
Based in Rueil-Malmaison
The end of my engineering degree coincided with the start of the energy market liberalization process in Europe. I was interested in the field but since I didn't want to enter the job market without any specific knowledge in the area, I went on to do a specialized Masters in the optimization of energy systems at the École des Mines de Paris in Sophia Antipolis.
I then continued my studies with a PhD on the organization of the gas market in Europe, sharing my time between IFP Energies nouvelles and GDF-Suez.
After I'd completed my PhD, IFP Energies nouvelles offered me a permanent contract within the Economics and Information Watch and Management Division, in February 2008.
There are two aspects to my work. The first consists in carrying out environmental analyses on various energy options, such as biofuel, synthetic fuel, biogas and electricity production, for example.
The second involves researching the way energy markets are organized and operate, particularly the gas market. There is a more prospective element to this work and it's really an extension of what I was doing for my thesis.
My work is extremely varied. However, I divide my time between activities relating to studies and those relating to research.
Study requests are made by internal as well as external customers (member companies of consortiums involving IFP Energies nouvelles or any company calling upon our expertise for the purposes of technico-economic analyses). Generally speaking, we start by identifying needs before going on to carry out bibliographic research to establish the most exhaustive state of the art relating to the issue in question. There may be some modeling and calculation involved. At the same time, I will be working alongside my colleagues who specialize in environmental analyses to discuss our ideas. Finally, I formalize and write the study report itself.
Where research is concerned, the stages are somewhat less distinct. We do a lot of reading of the press and keep an eye out for industry news flashes (mergers, acquisitions, etc.). Many discussions and meetings also take place as part of a structured brainstorming process. Finally, our work is presented at conferences or published when we have concrete results to communicate.
Another research activity I'm involved in is the monitoring of economics theses.
An economist's work isn't so much about providing answers as about seeking to understand and analyze the world in which we live. In fact, understanding what is happening today is the key to taking the best possible decisions for the future.
I love extracting the relevant issues from problems that, as a whole, are sometimes far too complex to understand, and then providing an intelligible analysis.
I also love looking at concrete problems, as part of a study, alongside the more theoretical aspects of research with a view to coming up with a new explanation, a new methodology and new models that can be used to optimize the processes governing energy markets. Both aspects (studies and research) complement one another: they're interdependent.
Above all, you have to be well organized and have common sense, especially when it comes to studies that require you to be quickly and constantly jumping from one thing to another all the time. We work on a variety of issues here and we have to manage numerous projects at the same time.
Researchers need other qualities still: perseverance, tenacity, creativity and intuition. Also, since economics is a soft science and uncertainty related to human behavior is omnipresent, an ability to interpret is a crucial quality.
I've only just arrived in the company really. For the time being, I need to make the post my own and get a clearer idea about the whole range of study and research areas tackled by my division. I've a lot still to learn. At the same time, I'd like to see the industrial development of my thesis research work.