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Prof. Dr. Karen Smith Stegen
Prof. Dr.
Professor of Political Science
Study Program Coordinator, International Relations: Politics and History
Social Sciences & Humanities

Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Res. IV
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen

+49 421 200-3303
k.smithstegen [at]
Research IV, Room 105
University Education: 
2008Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA, Doctor of Philosophy, Political Science
1989University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., USA, International Master of Business Administration
1985James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Cum Laude Honors and Distinction


Fellowships and Awards: 
2015Teacher of the Year award
2014-2015“On the Way to a common European Energy Policy? The Energy Security Debates in Poland and Germany.” German-Polish Science Foundation. Consortium Partners: Universität Bremen, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and the Environmental Studies and Policy Research Institute in Wroclaw, Poland.
2012"Overcoming NIMBY to International Renewable Energy Integration Projects” workshop with the “Social Acceptance of Renewable Energies” consortium (including Uni-Dresden and the Wuppertal Institut), DAAD program “Transformation Countries Egypt and Tunisia” program
2010-2011Stiftung Deutsch-Amerikanische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen. Lead Investigator, "American and European Approaches to Energy Security: Divergence, Convergence and Future Cooperation"
2003-2004Fulbright Fellowship
2003-2004Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Scholarship (waived in favor of Fulbright Fellowship)
2003-2004University Scholar, Northwestern University


Research and Teaching Positions: 
May 2011- presentJacobs University, Professor of Political Science
2009- May 2011

Dual position
• Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany, Lecturer, Integrated Social Sciences
• Bremer Energie Institut, Bremen, Germany, Senior Research Fellow, Geopolitics

2009Schiller International University, Heidelberg, Germany, Lecturer, Business/Psychology
2008-2009Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, Lecturer, Institute for Political Science
1996-1997Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA, Teaching Assistant, International Relations and U.S. Government and Politics
1989-1995Amoco Corporation (oil, gas, solar), Chicago, Illinois, USA, Senior International Affairs Analyst (1990-1995) Research & Planning Analyst, Public and Government Affairs (1989-1990)



China's supply of critical raw materials: Risks for Europe's solar and wind industries?“ (with Wiebke Rabe and Genia Kostka), Energy Policy, Volume 101, 2017, 692-699.

“Towards a common EU Energy Policy? Debates on Energy Security in Poland and Germany” (with Andreas Heinrich, Julia Kusznir, Aleksandra Lis, Kacper Szulecki, and Heiko Pleines), ESPRi Policy Paper, 2016. Available at

“European Integration in Response to (perceived) External Threats”, Presented at Europeanization vs. Renationalisation: Learning from Crisis for European Political Development Conference, University Bremen, July 2, 2016.

“Altering Asymmetries: Economic Interdependence and Leverage in Russian-EU Energy Relations”, Presented at the Towards a common European energy policy? Perceptions of energy security Conference, May 19, 2016.

“Outcomes and Strategies in the ‘New Great Game’: China and the Caspian states emerge as winners” (with J. Kusznir), Journal of Eurasian Studies, Volume 6 (2), 2015, 91-106.

“Heavy Rare Earths, Permanent Magnets, and Renewable Energies: An Imminent Crisis”, Energy Policy, 79, 2015, 1-8.

Book Review (with A. Bargu), “Energy & Ethics: Justice and the global energy challenge” by Benjamin Sovacool, Energy 91, 2015, 117-118.

“Understanding China’s Global Energy Strategy”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2015, 194-208.
"The European Union as Energy Actor: Friend or Foe?" (with B. Araztaganov and J. Kusznir), The Ashgate Research Companion to the Foreign Policies of Europe, Sven Biscop & Alexander Mattelaer (eds.), forthcoming 2015.
“Decision-making for Supplying Energy Projects: A four-dimensional model” (with M. Palovic), Energy Conversion and Management, July 2014.
“The Risks and Rewards of Renewable Energies” in New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the US Military, Strategic Studies Institute, 2014.

“Redrawing the Geopolitical Map: The Transformative Effect of Renewable Energies” (with L. Canals and S. Kuzmanovski), Presented at American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 29, 2014.

“Globalization, Exit Costs and Power”, Presented at World International Studies Committee – International Studies Association (WISC-ISA), Frankfurt, Germany, August 7, 2014.

Transatlantic Energy Relations: Convergence or Divergence? Edited by John R. Deni & Karen Smith Stegen, Routledge Publishers, August 2013 (Hardback, ISBN 978-0-415-83419-3).
“The Winds of Change: How Wind Firms Assess Germany's Energy Transition” (with Matthias Seel), Energy Policy, 2013, DOI: July 26, 2013.
“Transatlantic Energy Relations: Convergence or Divergence?” (with John R. Deni), Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2012, 305-312.
“The Transatlantic Energy Relationship: A View from Washington” (with Julia Kusznir), Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2012, 313-327.
“Russia and the Caspian Region: Challenges for Transatlantic Energy Security?” (with Julia Nanay), Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2012, 343-357.
"Deconstructing the ‘Energy Weapon’: Russia's threat to Europe as case study”, Karen Smith Stegen, in Energy Policy 39(10), S. 6505-6513, October 2011.

“NIMBYism as Geopolitical Challenge: Achieving Acceptance of Clean Electricity Transmission” (with C. Brandstätt), Presented at Geopolitics of Renewable Energy Workshop, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, December 1, 2011.

“Terrorists versus the Sun: Desertec in North Africa as a case study for assessing risks to energy infrastructure”, Karen Smith Stegen, Patrick Gilmartin and Janetta Carlucci, in Risk Management 14(1), pp. 3-26, February 2012.
Consciousness or Co-Optation: Ethnic PWorkshopsolitical Power and Movement Outcomes in Ecuador and Australia. Proquest, September 2011 (Paperback, ISBN 978-1243456595).
Smith Stegen, K. (with P. Gubry), “Climate Checkmate: U.S. and Chinese Energy Policies and the post-Copenhagen World.” Presented at the States of Emergency – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Dynamics of Crisis International Conference, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, June 11-12, 2010.
Smith, K. (with G.E. Kronman), “The Rise of the National Oil Companies: The New Seven Sisters?” Paper presented at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1993.
Smith, K. (with D. Nigh), “The New U.S. Joint Ventures in the U.S.S.R.: Assessment and Management of Political Risk,” Journal of World Business, Vol. XXIV, 1989.
Conference/Workshop Organization & Coordination
“Energy Policy and Energy Security - Transatlantic Perspectives”
with the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, May 2011, Heidelberg, Germany
“The Geopolitics of Renewable Energies”
with the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, November 2011, Delmenhorst, Germany
Invited Lectures, Seminars & Panels

“The New Great Game & The Silk Road”
The Rise of China: Challenges and Opportunities Symposium, Jacobs University, November 18, 2016.

Strategies for Staying on a Low‐Carbon Pathway despite Disruptions” Keynote
International Research Network for Low-Carbon Societies (LCS-RNet) 8th Meeting, hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) & Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie (WI), Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany, September 6, 2016.

“Sustainable Energy Security: The hidden challenges” Keynote
ENERDAY 2015 - 10th Conference on Energy Economics and Technology, TU Dresden, April 17, 2015.

“The Technology-Society-Sustainability Nexus” Keynote
BRIMUN Conference, Jacobs University, March 28, 2015

“Energy Transitions and Transatlantic Perspectives: The United States and Germany,”
Centre for European Studies, Universität Bremen, November 18, 2014.

“Renewable Energies in Europe and Beyond—Effective, Democratic and Fair?”
Expert Workshop, Hans Böckler Stiftung and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), University Alliance Ruhr, Essen, September 15, 2014.
“China and Energy Security: Implications for Europe,”
Lion’s Club, Bremen, Germany, June 2, 2014.
“The Risks and Rewards of the Renewable Energy Revolution,”
New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2014.
“Towards a More United and Effective Europe: Beyond the 2014 EP Elections--Energy and Environment Policy” workshop for the EU Presidency/Italy. Rome, September 2013 and Athens, April 2014.
“Germany as Energy Pioneer and Maverick”
Taiwanese Executive Learning Program, Universität Heidelberg, September 7, 2012.
“Transatlantic Energy Relations”
Transatlantic Academy, U.S. Hamburg Consulate, June 7, 2012
“The Energy Security of Renewable Energies ”
10th Annual “Association for the Study of Peak Oil” Conference, Vienna, Austria, May 30-June 1, 2012
“The Desertec Concept: Background and Perspectives”
International Mangement Meeting, KAEFER Isoliertechnik, May 2011, Bremen
“Understanding the Political Landscape of Renewable Energies”
for the “Teaching Energy Experts for our Future” Seminar at the Hanse-Wissenschafts-Kolleg, November 2011, Delmenhorst, Germany
“U.S. Renewable Energy Policy”
for the “Energy Supply Sourced from Renewable Energy: The U.S. and German Approaches” Seminar for Bucerius Law School / U.S. Consulate Hamburg, February 2012, Hamburg
“The KAEFER Chair and Energy and Environmental Politics Research at Jacobs University”
Unifreunde Bremen, November 2011, Bremen
“New Energies, New Challenges”
Keynote speech at Heidelberg Center for American Studies Workshop on “Energy Policy and Energy Security - Transatlantic Perspectives”, May 2011, Heidelberg
“The Geopolitical Implications of DESERTEC” for Climate Change and DESERTEC
Panel Discussion with Daniel Kammen, Nobel Prize laureate and Contributing Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Max Schön, President, German Club of Rome and DESERTEC Foundation, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst (November 15, 2010).
Chair, "Energy, Development and Sustainability"
Panel Discussion with Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO RWE Innogy GmbH; Max Schön, President, German Club of Rome and DESERTEC Foundation; Gert Brunekreeft, Director, Bremer Energie Institut; Andrea Koschinksy-Fritsche, Professor, Jacobs University; and Nele Friedrichsen, Engineer, Bremer Energie Institut, Jacobs University, September 1, 2010.
“DESERTEC: The Political and Security Challenges of Solar Energy from the Desert”
Bremen International Model United Nations Conference, Bremen, Germany, March 30, 2010.
“Resource Wars”
Bremen International Model United Nations Conference, Bremen, Germany, March 29, 2010.
“Climate Change and Energy Policy” for the The Obama Presidency: One Year On”
Panel Discussion with Martin Thunert, Universität Heidelberg; and John Deni, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, January 19, 2010.
Media Coverage
Bloomberg BNA, International Environment Reporter, April 13, 2017, "End of Dutch Gas Supply Complicates German Environment Goals"
Weser Kurier, February 8, 2017, “Mein Amerika“.
New Energy: The Magazine for Renewable Energy (Neue Energie: das Magazin für erneuerbare Energien), February 5, 2015, “A completely New Dynamic,” Interview by Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann.
Der Standard, 29. Mai 2012, "Abhängig von seltenen Erden" by Kurt de Swaaf.
Weser Kurier, November 8, 2012 „Unterhaltsamer US-Day an Jacobs-Uni nach Obamas Wiederwahl“ by Imke Molkewehrum.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8. Dezember 2010, "Energie-Projekt Desertec: Wissen für die Wüste" by Markus Balser.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
“Energy and Environment,” Chapter 7 of “Governance and Policy Advice: How political decisions come to life”, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), iversity and the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany. Filming: July 7-8, 2014; Course available at
Other Professional Activities: 
  • Science and Technology Advisory Board, DESERTEC University Network
  • Leader of the Social Acceptance Working Group, DESERTEC University Network
  • Referee, International Relations journal
  • Referee, Energy Research and Social Science journal
  • Referee, Security and Peace/Sicherheit und Frieden
  • Referee, African Journal of Political Science and International Relations
  • Referee for Europe-Asia Studies journal
  • Referee for Energy Policy journal
  • Reviewer for the Helmholtz Gemeinschaft


  • Associate Board Member, Jacobs University Alumni Association
  • Board Member, Carl Schurz Deutsch-Amerikanischer Club
  • Co-Coordinator for the Integrated Environmental Studies undergraduate program (Jacobs University Bremen)