Sunday, December 27, 2015

Annual Review 2015

I've been doing these annual reviews since 2011. They're mainly an exercise for me to see what I accomplished and what I didn't in the previous year. I ended last year noting that I had had a full year since I ended being research director at the Crawford School. I didn't know then that I would be taking on another administration/leadership role before the year was over. But, in July, I took over as director of the International and Development Economics Program. So far, this seems to be less work than being research director was and so more compatible with research productivity! In the first part of the year I was chairing the ANU submission to ERA 2015 in economics. The result was disappointing for the ANU, with economics overall falling from a 5 to a 4 as did econometrics (FoR 1403). Applied economics (FoR 1402) fell from a 4 to a 3. We have developed a strategy to turn things around and I am pretty confident we will get a 4 next time. The positive news was that economic theory (FoR 1401) went up from 4 to 5. Also, policy and administration (1605) went from 3 to 5, which was very good news for the Crawford School.

Abu Dhabi
Perhaps the best professional news this year is that we got awarded an ARC Discovery Projects Grant for research on "Energy Efficiency Innovation, Diffusion and the Rebound Effect." We are expecting that Zsuzsanna Csereklyei will be joining us next year to work as a post-doc on the project. My colleague Paul Burke also got a DECRA fellowship.

I am also part of a team together with Astrid Kander of Lund University and Sophia Henriques and Paul Sharp at University of Southern Denmark that won a grant from the Handelsbanken Research Foundation on “Energy Use and Economic Growth: a Long-run European Study (1870-2013). The money will mostly fund Sophia and there is some additional  travel money. As I won't be traveling to Sweden in the near future (see below), it looks like Akshay Shanker - one of our PhD students - who I am working with on a directed technological change paper - will use the money to travel to Sweden early in 2016.

Punting on the River Cherwell, Oxford
In July, I traveled back to the UK after returning to Australia from conferencing in the Middle East (see below). I attended a brainstorming workshop at Oxford Policy Management (in Oxford, of course, at Pembroke College) to prepare a proposal to get funding for research on electricity and economic growth and development from the UK, Department For International Development. At this point, it looks likely that our consortium will get the grant but this isn't confirmed yet.

Pembroke College, Oxford

We got four journal articles accepted for publication including our papers on carbon dioxide emissions in the short-run in Global Environmental Change and on global energy trends in Energy Economics, and articles in: Environmental and Resource Economics (still "in press") and the Journal of Cleaner Production (January 2016 publication date). In the meantime, our Energy Journal paper accepted in 2014 is still in press and doesn't yet show up on the journal website.... I also released four working papers that aren't yet published: Two with Stephan Bruns - one on research assessment using citations and another on meta-analysis of Granger causality test statistics, a third one with my former masters student Luis Sanchez, and the fourth one with a long list of coauthors headed by Bob Costanza. We have received revise and resubmits for the latter two and resubmitted the papers. I have another paper coauthored with Chunbo Ma where we also received a revise and resubmit that we are now working on. When we do, we'll also put out a working paper. We also did a revise and resubmit on a paper submitted in mid 2014, which is now under second review. I now have a spreadsheet to help keep track of all these projects!

Right now, I have ten publications in various stages of the review and publication process. Two are in press, three resubmitted after revision, two we are revising, and three in first review.  First review at that journal - we've already sent one to a bunch of other journals.

I also published two book chapters. One is an article on the energy GDP relationship in the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the other a chapter in a Routledge book on energy and poverty.

One milestone this year was passing 10,000 citations on Google Scholar and an H-Index of 40. I also just went over 4,000 citations on Scopus.

Champagne Pool, Waiotapu Thermal Area, near Rotorua

I went to the AARES conference in Rotorua in February, the IAEE meeting in Antalya, and for the first time to the International Energy Workshop, which was in Abu Dhabi. I also gave a seminar at University of Queensland in September and was invited to a workshop at Griffith University in October. Finally, I went to the Economics and Business PhD Conference at UQ in early November to comment on a PhD student's paper. Locally, I moved house and suburb in Canberra, buying a house for the first time in my life.

Since August, Donglan Zha has been visiting Crawford from Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University. We are going to work on modeling concentrations of air pollution in China. I also have a new PhD student since the beginning of the year, Panittra Ninpanit. Her first PhD paper will be on decomposition of carbon emissions in Thailand using input-output analysis.

I taught the quantitative methods section of our environmental management research methods course over five weeks in the first semester. This is a tough subject to teach in such a short time slot. I thought I did well, but I got my worst evaluations so far at Crawford School. I guess most people don't like doing statistics. I also taught my energy economics course again and will continue to teach it in the future. It has been rebranded as an economics course, IDEC8089, instead of a general Crawford School course (CRWF8017). This doesn't seem to have affected participation from across different ANU programs too much.

Ecological Economics has gone to a new editorial model where there are several editors who handle much of the incoming flow of paper submissions and associate editors like me play a lower key role. I was offered to be one of the new editors, but I decided that the cost/benefit trade-off wasn't good enough and after 13 years (!) as an associate editor it was time for others to play a bigger role. I have joined the editorial advisory board for Nature Energy, a new journal that will start publishing in 2016.

As I am getting more involved in Twitter, I posted fewer blogposts this year - only 38. The most popular was: "The Industrial Revolution Remains One of History's Great Mysteries?" Second was:
"The Extent and Consequences of P-Hacking in Science" and third: "Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the Short Run: The Rate and Sources of Economic Growth Matter".

As always, it is possible to predict some of the things that will be happening in the coming year, though this year is more uncertain than most. First, I'm not sure how long I will be IDEC director for.  Our main innovation in the program that we hope happens in 2016 is a new degree targeting the private fee-paying market for masters degrees (rather than scholarship funded). I'll let you know more if it is successful. Second, my wife is expecting a baby due on 5 February. So, I haven't submitted any abstracts to conferences as I normally would.... We will see how things go.

On the predictable side, I hope to put out three new working papers early in the new year. Two will be the last two papers from our DP12 ARC grant. One is the paper coauthored with Chunbo on estimaing elasticities of substitution and the other the paper on the industrial revolution coauthored with Jack Pezzey. All the math for the latter paper is now nailed down and it is just a question of polishing. Another will be based on a paper I just submitted to the Journal of Bioeconomics for a special issue based on the Griffith workshop. As mentioned above, Zsuzsanna Csereklyei should be moving to Canberra in early 2016 to start work on the ARC grant.

Backyard at our new house