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Merethe Dotterud Leiren

Research Director


Dr. Merethe Dotterud Leiren is a political scientist, specialising in climate and energy policy at the national and the EU level. Her research focus is in the area of governance and legitimacy, where she is particularly interested in issues related to conflicts over land as well as the social and economic impact.  

More specifically, her focus is concerned with the authorities' ability to govern in the transition to a low emission society, given increasing complexity and time pressure, lack of coordination, global conflicts and the energy challenges in Europe.  

Her research looks at the effects of the EU's climate and energy policy in EU member states and non-member states. Questions she addresses include the implications of the EU's Green Deal on Norway and how these consequences differ to those of EU member states. 

She is also particularly interested in the introduction of new technologies. Leiren has contributed with solutions that can balance various environmental, social and economic considerations, focusing on the development of wind power in Norway. 

She is a well known speaker in these fields, speaking at national and global events and in high-level dialogue meetings.

Leiren’s expertise in qualitative methods, comparative work and institutional theory to explain the development of policies on renewable energy has – in cooperation with researchers from related fields – allowed her to deliver key projects such as those funded by the Research Council of Norway and pan-European projects such the EU H2020. 

She has also published widely on the mentioned themes and has among others co-edited three books: Norway’s EU experience and lessons for the UK (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, with John Erik Fossum, Christopher Lord, Fay Farstad, Arild A. Farsund, Espen D. H. Olsen, Marianne Riddervold, Johanne D. Saltnes, Øyvind Svendsen and Jarle Trondal), Towards Sustainable Welfare States in Europe (Edward Elgar, 2022 with Mi Ah Schøyen and Bjørn Hvinden), Comparative Renewables Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021, with Elin Lerum Boasson and Jørgen Wettestad). 

Before she started working at CICERO, she was a senior researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics, hence has a background in transport research. Leiren has been a PhD research fellow at the University of Agder (Norway), has a MA from the University of Michigan (USA), and has served as a visiting researcher at the Humboldt University in Berlin (Germany). The government appointed her a member of the Norwegian Commission for Norwegian Air Transport. She has been a member of the evaluation panel for the Academy of Finland’s JUST ENERGY call and the Swedish Energy Agency’s call for research within the programme Human, Energy Systems and Society. She served as an expert in the mid-term evaluation of the Swedish research programme on climate.