Two NHH researchers secured prestigious EU funding

Nicole Wagner. Jonna Olssson_S Folkestad
Jonna Olssson and Nicole Wägner at the Department of Economics were recently recruited to NHH Norwegian School of Economics. Now, they have been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fel-lowship. They receive approximately NOK 2.4 million each.
By Sigrid Folkestad

21 February 2024 13:10

Two NHH researchers secured prestigious EU funding

Jonna Olssson and Nicole Wägner at the Department of Economics have been awarded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship. They receive approximately NOK 2.4 million each.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Fellowships are highly competitive and among Europe's most prestigious awards.

1 249 experienced post-doctoral researchers were selected for funding among 8 039 applicants.

Olsson and Wägner

Associate Professor Jonna Olssson, Department of Economics, NHH.
Associate Professor Jonna Olssson, Department of Economics, NHH. Photo: Sigrid Folkestad

Jonna Olsson is an Associate Professor (Tenure-Track) at NHH Norwegian School of Economics, expresses her joy, stating:

`First and foremost, I was happy! It is great to get the recognition but also to know that someone evaluated your proposal and thought it was interesting and worthwhile funding´, says Olsson.

Olsson received her PhD from the IIES, Stockholm University. Her main research interests are in the field of macroeconomics, with an emphasis on quantitative models and inequality along the dimensions of wealth, health, and labor supply.

Her colleague at the Department of Economics, Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track) Nicole Wägner, was also awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship.

`I am excited about this opportunity because the fellowship offers more than just financial support. It encompasses a range of training activities and hands-on experience in project management, which will not only allow me to enhance my existing skills but also to acquire new competencies and strengthen my research profile´, says Wägner.

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Work, wealth, and welfare

Olsson´s proposal «I3W – Inequality in work, wealth, and welfare» aims at generating empirical knowledge and novel theories to explain the joint distribution of work, wealth, and welfare in the population using macroeconomic theory, structural quantitative models, and micro data.

`Why you are interested in these issues?

`My goal as a researcher is to understand the extent of the drivers behind, and the aggregate consequences of the inequality we observe in society. However, inequality is a multi-dimensional concept, and with this project I hope to contribute to our understanding of inequality in society at the intersection of macroeconomics, labor, health, and demography´, says Olsson.

Maritime Air Pollution

Nicole Wägner ´s project proposal «Assessing Human Health Impacts of Maritime Air Pollution» aims to quantify the health effects of maritime air pollution and to assess the effectiveness of green transition policies in the shipping sector.

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`The project will uncover the causal effects of exposure to maritime air pollution on the use of health care services and prescription medication, and it will provide empirical evidence of the environmental and health benefits associated with vessel electrification. Furthermore, the project will investigate environmental justice aspects by examining disparities in exposure and health effects based on the socioeconomic characteristics of individuals´, elaborates Wägner.

Assistant Professor Nicole Wägner, Department of Economics, NHH.
Assistant Professor Nicole Wägner, Department of Economics, NHH. Photo: Sigrid Folkestad

`Why is it important to study the health implications of maritime emissions? ´

`According to the WHO, exposure to air pollution is one of the greatest environmental risks to human health, with fossil fuel combustion from road and sea transportation being a major contributor to air pollution. Our current understanding of the economic costs imposed by exposure to maritime air pollution is incomplete. Quantifying the economic and environmental consequences of shipping emissions and increased knowledge of the benefits of pollution mitigation could facilitate and foster the adoption of green transition policies in the shipping industry´, Wägner says.

Started at NHH in 2023

The two researchers were recently recruited to NHH. Professor and head of Department of Economics Kurt R. Brekke Brekke is very pleased on their behalf.

`It's fantastic for Jonna and Nicole and demonstrates that their research plans are at the top European level. It is also great for the department and NHH that our staff are able to attract EU funding such as the MSCA postdoctoral fellowship. The award is a recognition and provides opportunities for top-notch research´, says Brekke.

`And with such different research profiles, the funding demonstrate the academic breadth at the department? ´

nicole Wagner. Jonna Olssson_S Folkestad
Photo: Sigrid Folkestad

`Absolutely! Jonna's project and her field of expertise are in macroeconomics, while Nicole is a researcher in environmental economics and leans towards microeconomics. However, what they have in common is that their projects are applied, empirically based, and they aim to study key socio-economic challenges such as the environment, inequality, and health´.

International experience

Wägner has previously served as a postdoctoral researcher at the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research.

Regarding her motivation to join NHH and the Department of Economics, Wägner says:

`I was drawn to NHH and the Department of Economics because of the strong research environment, the international faculty, and the excellent research support. My decision to apply was also influenced by the positive experience I had as an exchange student at NHH during my master's studies´.

Jonna Olsson has held positions at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Amsterdam – and then NHH: 

`NHH offers a vibrant research environment with great colleagues in a beautiful city, so it was an easy decision to apply! ´, says Olsson.

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