Prof. Dr. Karen Smith Stegen

Professor of Political Science
School of Business, Social & Decision Sciences
Constructor University Bremen gGmbH
Res. IV | Campus Ring 1 | 28759 Bremen | Germany
Phone number
+49 421 200-4873
Fax number
+49 421 200-3303
Email Address
Research IV, Room 105
Research Interests

Prof. Karen Smith Stegen’s group researches traditional political science topics, such as elections, but also energy and resource issues from the perspectives of both geopolitics and sustainability.

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


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

For a full CV, click here.

Selected Publications


"The mother of all political problems? On asylum seekers and elections in Germany.” (with Tomberg, L., and Vance, C.) European Journal of Political Economy. Forthcoming.


“Europe’s New Green Deal’s Hydrogen Strategy and EU Energy Issues.” (with Kusznir, J.) Baltic Rim Economies Review.  Forthcoming.


“The multi-speed energy transition in Europe: Opportunities and challenges for EU energy security.” (with de la Esperanza, M., and D. Scholten) Energy Strategy Reviews 26 (2019).


“Deep-Sea Mining: Interdisciplinary Research on Potential Environmental, Legal, Economic, and Societal Implications.” (with Koschinsky, A., Heinrich, L., Boehnke, K., Cohrs, C., Markus, T., Shani, M., Singh, and Werner, W.) Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 14, no. 6 (2018): 672–691.


“Redrawing the Geopolitical Map: International Relations and Renewable Energies.” In The Geopolitics of Renewables, edited by D. Scholten, Springer Publishing, 2018.


Interdependence, Statecraft and Leverage: Can coercion be avoided?” Presented at European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Oslo, Norway, Annual Meeting 2017.

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.
“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.
Third-Party Funding Applications and Grants
“Analytical Hybrid Dynamic Equations Constructor for Social and Environmental Systems: CINERAMAS.” EU Horizon-FETPROACT-EIC-08-2020: Environmental Intelligence, €4,453,000.00.  Consortium Partners: Max Planck Institute (Germany), University of Madrid (Spain), University College Cork (Ireland; Lead Investigator) and Fachhochschule Oberösterreich (Austria). Under Review.
“Where is the “New Silk Road” Going? Perceptions of international political and economic opinion leaders”. Konfuzius-Institut Bremen, €5734.00. Lead Investigator. Awarded. 2019.
“Divergent Energy Paths in Europe: Challenges for the Energy Union & European Union.”  Volkswagen Foundation; €331,432.00. Lead Investigator with consortium partners Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Masaryk University (Czech Republic). 2018.


“Innovative concepts for expanding China Competence at German Universities.“ BMBF, €199,925.00. Jacobs University Consortium. 2017.


“Social coordination of Innovation and transformation in Energy Systems.” BMBF, €23,800,000.00. Consortium Partners: University of Dresden (Lead Investigator) and 14 partners. 2016.


“Improving the Preservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems.” EU Horizon 2020 Blue Growth, €15,000,000.00. IInstituto Hidrográfico (Portugal, Lead Investigator) and worldwide partners. 2015.


“On the Way to a Common European Energy Policy? The Energy Security Debates in Poland and Germany”, Deutsch-Polnische Wissenschaftsstiftung, €70,000.00. Consortium Partners: University of Bremen (Lead Investigator), Environmental Studies and Policy Research Institute (Poland) and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). Awarded. 2014-2016.


“Environmental Mobilization and Democratic Consolidation in Tunisia and Egypt”, Volkswagen Foundation, €388,000.00. Lead Investigator with consortium partners the American University in Cairo and University Tunis El-Manar. 2013.


“American and European Approaches to Energy Security: Divergence, Convergence and Future Cooperation”, Foundation for German-American Science Relations/ Stiftung Deutsch-Amerikanische Wissenschaftbeziehungen, €5000.00. Lead Investigator with partner Heidelberg Center for American Studies, University of Heidelberg. Awarded. 2010-2012.


“Overcoming NIMBY to International Renewable Energy Integration Projects.” Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) program “Transformation Countries Egypt and Tunisia”, €10,000.00. Consortium Partners: University of Dresden (Lead Investigator) and the Wuppertal Institute. Awarded. 2010-2012.

“Geopolitics of the Nabucco Pipeline”. European Power Company/Confidential, €20,000. Awarded. 2010-2012.

Fellowships and Awards

2015Teacher of the Year award
2003-2004Fulbright Fellowship
2003-2004Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Scholarship (waived in favor of Fulbright Fellowship)
2003-2004University Scholar, Northwestern University
Political Science & Policy
  • American Politics and Government 
  • Comparing Political Systems
  • Democratic Governance 
  • “Energy and Environment Policy,” Chapter 7 of “Governance and Policy Advice: How politicaldecisions come to life” (MOOC with Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)
  • Graduate Research Colloquium, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Mass Beliefs and Democracy
  • Sustainable Energy Policy


International Relations & Geopolitics

  • Energy Geopolitics (Executive MBA in European Utility Management)
  • Geopolitics of Energy Supply (Masters in International Political Economy)
  • International Institutions 
  • International Relations
  • International Relations Theory I







Environment & Sustainability

  • East Frisia Excursion: Consequences of changed land use, climate change, and developments in renewable energies
  • General Environmental Studies: Energy and Sustainability Module
  • Integrated Environmental Studies Seminar I, Seminar II and Seminar III


Renewable Energy, Energy & Resources

  • Energy—University Study Course
  • International Energy and Environmental Politics
  • International Resource Politics
  • Offshore Wind—University Study Course


Business & Management

  • Organizational Behavior



  • Social Movements
  • Social Movements & Political Participation
Media Coverage
“Top Marks in University Rankings: Proud Jacobs Professor Karen Smith” (“Bestnoten beim Hochschulranking: Stolze Jacobs-Professorin Karen Smith”), Das BLV, August 18, 2018.


“Top Ranking for a Jacobs University Study Program” (“Bestnoten für Studiengang der Jacobs University”), Weser-Kurier, August 13, 2018.


“The Next Great Game: The Clash over Central Asia”, Harvard Political Review, June 13, 2018.


"Word of Warming" The Economist, The Geopolitics of Energy Special Report, March 17, 2018.

“Four keys to understanding the elections in Germany that would lead Angela Merkel to her fourth term” (“Cuatro claves para entender las elecciones en Alemania que llevarían a Angela Merkel a su cuarto mandato”, La Nacion (Argentina), September 22, 2017.

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.
Invited Keynotes, Lectures, Panels and Workshops
“Renewables” Expert Foresight Workshop, Horizon 2020 Energy Social sciences & Humanities Innovation Forum Targeting the SET-Plan (SHIFTS), Online, 04.09.2020.

“Geopolitics of Energy Transformation-Launch” Workshop, SWP, Berlin, 07. and 08. 2019.

“Sustainable Energy Security: The hidden challenges” Keynote, ENERDAY 2015 - 10th Conference on Energy Economics and Technology, Technical University 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” Lecture, Delegation from the Dalian University of Technology, China, Centre for European Studies, Universität Bremen, November 18, 2014.


“The Risks and Rewards of the Renewable Energy Revolution” Lecture, New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2014.


“The New Global Energy Supply” Panel with Ian Taylor and Robert Manning, Moderation: John Troxell, New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Washington, DC, November 19, 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.


“Towards a More United and Effective Europe: Beyond the 2014 EP Elections—Energy and Environment Policy” Lecture and Policy Briefing Workshop, Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Rome, September 2013; Athens, April 2014.


“China and Energy Security: Implications for Europe” Lecture, Lion’s Club, Bremen, June 2, 2014.


“Germany as Energy Pioneer and Maverick” Lecture, Taiwanese Executive Learning Program, Universität Heidelberg, September 7, 2012.


“Transatlantic Energy Relations” Lecture, Transatlantic Academy & U.S. Consulate, Hamburg, 7 June 2012.


“The Energy Security of Renewable Energies” Lecture, 10th Annual Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) Conference, Vienna, Austria, May 30, 2012.


“Energy Security and the Geopolitical Dimensions of Fossil Fuel Availability” Panel, with Karin Kneissl, Jörn Richert, Daniele Ganser, Michael Klare, Moderation: Paul Hohnen, Assocation for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), Vienna, May 30, 2012.


“Transatlantic Energy Relations” Lecture, The Transatlantic Academy / U.S. Consulate, Hamburg, June 7, 2012.


“U.S. Renewable Energy Policy” Lecture, Bucerius Law School / U.S. Consulate Hamburg, February 22, 2012.


“Energie zum Wenden: Wie man Power aus der Wüste holt” Lecture Jacobs University Bremen & Glocke Veranstaltungs GmbH, Bremen, December 10, 2011.


“The Geopolitics of Renewable Energies” Workshop, co-organized with the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, November 30-December 2, 2011.


“Understanding the Political Landscape of Renewable Energies” Lecture, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, November 11, 2011.


“Socio-Economic Effects of the DESERTEC Concept” Lecture, Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie, Wuppertal, June 28, 2011.


“The Desertec Concept: Background and Perspectives” Lecture, International Management Meeting, KAEFER Isoliertechnik, Bremen, May 20, 2011.


“New Energies, New Challenges” Lecture, Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, May 27, 2011.


“Energy Policy and Energy Security - Transatlantic Perspectives” Workshop, co-organized, sponsored by the Transatlantic Encounters Program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, May 27-28, 2011.


“The (Geo)political Challenges to Achieving Reliable Energy Supply” Lecture, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, November 15, 2010.


“How to Stop Climate Change and How to Secure a Reliable Energy Supply Worldwide” Panel,  Daniel Kammen and Max Schön, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, November 15, 2010.


“DESERTEC: The Political and Security Challenges of Solar Energy from the Desert” Lecture, Bremen International Model United Nations Conference, Bremen, March 30, 2010.


“Resource Wars” Lecture, Bremen International Model United Nations Conference, Bremen, March 29, 2010.


“Climate Change and Energy Policy” Lecture, Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, January 19, 2010.


“The Obama Presidency: One Year On” Panel, with Martin Thunert and John Deni, Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, January 19, 2010.

Publications on Scopus
Heinrich, L. Singh, P. Smith Stegen, K. Markus, T.
Marine Policy 2024 160
Richter, I. Smith Stegen, K.
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 2022 45 pp. 1-13
Tomberg, L. Smith Stegen, K. Vance, C.
European Journal of Political Economy 2021 67
Smith Stegen, K.
Lecture Notes in Energy 2018 61 pp. 75-95
Koschinsky, A. Heinrich, L. Boehnke, K. Cohrs, J.C. Markus, T. Shani, M. Singh, P. Smith Stegen, K. Werner, W.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 2018 14 (6) pp. 672-691
Rabe, W. Kostka, G. Smith Stegen, K.
Energy Policy 2017 101 pp. 692-699
Smith Stegen, K. Kusznir, J.
Journal of Eurasian Studies 2015 6 (2) pp. 91-106
Smith Stegen, K. Palovic, M.
Energy Conversion and Management 2014 86 pp. 644-652
Smith Stegen, K. Seel, M.
Energy Policy 2013 61 pp. 1481-1489
Smith Stegen, K.
Energy Policy 2011 39 (10) pp. 6505-6513
Other Professional Activities


Leadership, Board Memberships, Memberships & Service


  • Co-Coordinator for the Integrated Environmental Studies undergraduate program (Jacobs University Bremen, 2010-2016)
  • Co-Leader, Environmental Standards & Laws Working Group for “Sustainability and Deep-Sea Mining” Taskforce (MARUM)
  • Leader, Social Acceptance Working Group, DESERTEC University Network (2010-2014)
  • Program Manager, 2009 annual international Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative event; supporters included City of Heidelberg, Germany, the Deutsch-Amerikanische Institut, Heidelberg, and the NAACP (2008-2009)
  • Co-Founder, Literary Circle, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, Heidelberg (2003-2009)
  • Co-Founder, International Women’s Club, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, Heidelberg (2004-2009)


  • Academic Board Member, Jacobs University International College (2020-present)
  • Associate Board Member, Jacobs University Alumni Association (2010-present)
  • Board Member, Carl Schurz Deutsch-Amerikanischer Club, Bremen, Germany (2010-2013)
  • Science and Technology Advisory Board Member, DESERTEC University Network (2010-2014)


  • University Committee on Education (UCE)
  • Strategy Process, Educational Model Task Team Member
  • EY Parthenon Strategy Process, Focus Group Member
  • ENERGY-SHIFTS (Energy Social Sciences & Humanities Innovation) Renewables Working Group, Forum for the European Commission in Horizon Europe
  • American Political Science Association
  • European Consortium for Political Research
  • China Global: Center for the Study of China & Globalization
  • Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM)


  • Expert Representative for Germany, Global Commission on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
  • Model United Nations (MUN) Club, Faculty Sponsor
  • Reviewer, International Relations journal
  • Reviewer, Sustainability journal
  • Reviewer, Energy Research and Social Science journal
  • Reviewer, African Journal of Political Science and International Relations
  • Reviewer, Security and Peace/Sicherheit und Frieden
  • Reviewer, Helmholtz Gemeinschaft
  • Reviewer, Energy Policy journal
  • Reviewer, Europe-Asia Studies journal