Dr Patrick Bayer recently joined the School of Government and Public Policy as a Senior Lecturer. We spoke to Patrick to find out the most memorable moments of his career so far and why he chose Strathclyde.
Tell us a little about your career so far…
In July this year, I joined the University of Strathclyde as Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Chancellor’s Fellow in Energy Policy after having been a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow since 2016. Before coming to Scotland, I was a DAAD-sponsored postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis and a pre-doctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York. I hold a PhD degree in Political Science from the University of Mannheim, an MSc in Environmental Economics from University College London, and a BA degree in Philosophy & Economics from the University of Bayreuth.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
There have been plenty memorable moments, but a very joyful experience is always to see my students thrive: at the University of Glasgow I organised a study trip to Brussels, and it was great to see students who came to Brussels with me as participants one year to have found employment in the EU institutions, for example, the next year we visited. Research-wise, clearly opening the box with copies of my co-authored book on energy poverty was a highlight, only topped by the feeling of having successfully defended my PhD viva.
What inspired you to enter into Politics?
I was originally trained as an economist, so this is a fair question: In 2007, when I was working on my MSc thesis at UCL about the economics of European carbon markets, I realized that many aspects of carbon markets can only be explained once government interests are accounted for. This got me interested in better understanding the political science side of things and ultimately made me apply for a PhD in Political Science.
What is your role within the school?
Given my research interests in environmental politics and energy policy, my role in the School will be to facilitate even stronger ties between the Department of Politics and the Centre for Energy Policy and to help revamp the MSc programme in Global Energy Management together with our Business School. I also envision, together with my colleagues at the Centre, to serve as a point of contact for scholars across the entire University who are interested in political science aspects of climate change and energy policy, be it for a chat over coffee, for a joint research project, or a grant application.
What current trends do you see influencing your field?
Several trends have quite considerably changed the fields of International Relations and Political Science over the last decade. Not everything is necessarily super new, but certainly for my work a greater focus on the explicit role of firms (rather than sectors, which black boxes interesting firm-level variation) is a more recent phenomenon. In the context of climate change politics, a lot of great work has recently been done on more decentralised climate action by non-state actors, such as cities, regions, firms, and NGOs. In general, the discipline made desirable advances both in terms of how serious it takes causal claims (over pure correlation) and the statistical methods it uses to corroborate such claims. Statistical programming, computational methods, text-as-data, web scraping, or experimental methods (such as survey experiments and randomized controlled trials) are all much more common than ten years ago and feature prominently in top-level publications as well as graduate training.
Tell us about any research you are currently involved in
My research focuses on central questions in international cooperation, that is, I want to understand when governments can cooperate with one another in a globalized world. I particularly study cooperation problems that revolve around climate change and sustainable energy transitions. My current projects investigate the political economy of EU carbon markets, the politics of international climate pledges under the Paris Agreement, and the impacts of energy access in the developing world. In future projects I will study the role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for (IPCC) for climate bargaining and seek to develop new statistical methods to better estimate multilateral agreement-making.
What initially attracted you to the University of Strathclyde?
What attracted me to the University Strathclyde is the excellent research environment which the School of Government and Public Policy offers and the outstanding colleagues who produce first-class research in modern political science. The close cooperation with the Centre for Energy Policy and the University’s strategic vision around “energy policy” makes Strathclyde a unique place for me because of my research interests on climate change, environmental politics, and energy policy. I look forward to many exciting opportunities at Strathclyde and helping to build a better energy future for our societies.
After studying Politics at Strathclyde, what opportunities are there for graduates?
Political science is a versatile subject, which is a blessing and a curse. It however offers students the great opportunity to structure their studies along the topics they are intrigued by. Whatever job students want to go for, be it a political advisor or government official, a political correspondent/ journalist, or an academic, motivation (to me) is most important. My advice therefore is to study those topics in political science (it is environmental/energy politics for me) what excites you, makes you furious, and “keeps you up at night”. This will put you on the right track to an inspiring career.