Dr. Karen Siegel

Nachwuchsgruppenleiterin “Transformation and Sustainability Governance in South American Bioeconomies”
© privat
Nachwuchsgruppenleiterin “Transformation and Sustainability Governance in South American Bioeconomies”
Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Raum 322
Scharnhorststraße 100
D-48151 Münster
Tel: +49 251 83-25380
  • Biography

    Karen Siegel is head of the research group “Transformation and Sustainability Governance in South American Bioeconomies”. She holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Glasgow, an MSc in Economic and Social Studies from Aberystwyth University and an MA (Honours) in French and Politics from the University of Edinburgh. Before moving to the University of Münster she was a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow at the University of Glasgow. Other previous work experience includes lecturing at Edinburgh Napier University where she led courses on global environmental politics, qualitative research methods and British politics in Edinburgh and Hong Kong in cooperation with Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education as well as two years in Brussels working with the European Commission and the consultancy Bernard Brunhes International and a year in Quito, Ecuador where she worked as an English teacher at the Centro de Educación Continua de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional.

  • Research interests and projects

    • Politics of sustainable development and sustainability transitions
    • Natural resource governance in the global political economy
    • Bioeconomy governance
    • Regionalism
    • Latin America

    Research project “SABio -Transformation and Sustainability Governance in South American Bioeconomies

    The SABio project examines to what extent and in which ways the development of bioeconomies in the Southern Cone of South America may support a transition to inclusive and sustainable development. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and consists of two subgroups collaborating at the interface between agricultural economics (Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Jan Börner, University of Bonn) and political science (Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Thomas Dietz, University of Münster).

    The Southern Cone of South America is one of the most important world regions for the provision of bio-based feedstock worldwide with many countries in the region currently undergoing dynamic changes in various bioeconomic sectors. Despite the region’s enormous potential for sustainable bio-based transformation, promoting environmentally responsible and equitable bioeconomic change remains a major governance challenge. This project focuses on the emergence and sustainability performance of the bioeconomies of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay and aims to analyse bio-based initiatives from a political sciences and agricultural economics perspective.

    The planned research seeks to inform governmental and non-governmental, including private, decision-makers in South America and beyond about entry points for action towards promoting sustainable bio-based innovation processes that safeguard rural employment and the equitable distribution of the benefits and costs of bio-based transformation. Through strong partnerships with Universities in the Southern Cone and engagement at the science-policy interface, the project will strengthen international collaboration and its impact in the study regions.



  • Publications


  • International Appointments and Collaboration

    • Member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN), University of Münster
    • Member of the Brazil Centre, University of Münster
    • Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Research Alliance
    • Contributing Author of 2022 SDG Mid-term Assessment, Global Goals – Research for Sustainability Project, Utrecht University, led by Frank Biermann and funded by the European Research Council
    • Elected Committee Member of the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) (2016-2020) and co-organiser of the SLAS 2017 Annual Conference 
    • Academic partner for staff exchange with Helena Varkkey in Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme “International cooperation in a changing global order: the challenges of fostering sustainable development” between the University of Malaya, Malaysia and Glasgow University, 2018-2020
    • Co-Investigator on Global Challenges Research Fund project “Markets, Constitutions, and Inequality” led by Anna Chadwick (School of Law, Glasgow University), 2018-19
    • Principal Investigator, Research Incentive Grant, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, “Mapping political inequality in natural resource governance: the case of agricultural land use in Uruguay”, 2017-18
    • Visiting Researcher at the University of Amsterdam, Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA) (June-July 2018)
    • Principal Investigator, Research Excellence Grant, Edinburgh Napier University, “Understanding the politics of transboundary environmental problems in the Southern Cone region”, 2015-16
    • Visiting Researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Argentina, Buenos Aires (March-June 2011)
    • Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy and Fellowship of Recognising Excellence in Teaching


  • Invited Presentations and Public Engagement