Meet our Research team
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Kenth received his Master’s Degree in 1995 in Industrial Mathematics from NTNU, PhD in 2000 in Computer Science from University of Bergen, and Master of Technology Management in Telecom Strategy in 2001 from NTNU, Norway.
Before coming to Smart Innovation Norway in 2023, Kenth has more than 20 years of experience working as a data scientist and applied mathematician in the corporate research and startup world. Kenth has extensive knowledge in the field of telecom data, social network analysis, and applied analytics and AI/ML research. He is co-inventor of numerous patents, co-founder of the company T-rank AS, and he has published peer-reviewed papers in mathematics, computer science, data science, and social sciences.
Dieter Hirdes is an ICT specialist with 25 years of experience in project management and system development of ICT systems for the energy sector.
He is a co‐founder of Smart Innovation Norway and of the NCE Smart Energy Markets cluster and served as NCE Project Manager in its first years.
From 2003 to 2011, he was CEO of Smart Innovation Norway, now serving as the Head of Research & Innovation of the company, with a track record of 25+ SmartGrid related R&I projects totaling 120M€ in project revenues.
Currently, Hirdes is the coordinator of the Horizon 2020 projects EMPOWER (6M€) and INVADE (16M€) and a member of the Advisory Group on Energy for the European Commission.
Joseph Negreira, Telekom. ing.
Joseph Negreira, Telekom. ing.
Joseph Negreira is a Telecommunication Engineer by the Ramon Llull University of Barcelona.
He has long experience in Information and Communication technologies, both in operational implementation and deployment, and from an R&D perspective, complemented with competences in entrepreneurship development, business and innovation management.
He has combined experience from his responsibilities and activities in the field of telecom’s applied business and research consultancy for private (services, telecom, industry) and the public sector (National, Regional and Local Public Administrations and Universities).
At Smart Innovation Norway, Joseph holds the position as Section Head International Research for the acquisition and management of EU Horizon 2020 projects and other international research and innovation projects.
Dr. Stig Ødegaard Ottesen
Dr. Stig Ødegaard Ottesen
Stig Ødegaard Ottesen holds a PhD in Industrial Economics and Technology Management from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The topic of his thesis was Techno-economic models in SmartGrids. He also has a MSc in Electrical Power Engineering.
Stig has more than 30 years’ experience in the fields of power systems, power markets and power trading, SmartGrids, distributed energy resources and digitization and machine learning, decision support modelling and optimization methods. He is in particular focused on bridging the gap between academia and the businesses and on inter-disciplinary research.
Before rejoining Smart Innovation Norway, Stig was Head of R&D in eSmart Systems for more than 5 years. He also worked as R&D Director at Smart Innovation Norway from 2008 – 2014. Earlier, he worked for several ICT-companies in Halden (Tieto, Nasdaq-OMX, HandEl Skandinavia), at IFE and in Statkraft.
Thomas is a leading expert in the fields of customer engagement, communication and behaviour in the utility sector. He was a former energy utility marketing director with experience of effective customer apps and other online services that brought mass customer engagement and behaviour changes; for instance, pioneering the field of digital marketing with prize winning campaigns like European Utility Award winner; The Meter Hunt for Danish utility SEAS-NVE.
He worked as a Senior Manager with international companies like Panasonic and Green Energy Options in developing the future business of smart home technology and home energy management systems through visualisation of energy use in private homes and creating customer relations through the use of big data.
Thomas is engaged in several inter-European networks focusing on user involvement, customer interaction and actual implementation of smart energy technology. He was, for instance, the 1st rapporteur of Bridge’s Working Group on Customer Engagement and is currently Task Leader Joint Communication Efforts ensuring knowledge exchange between EU-funded projects.
Dr. Bernt Bremdal
Dr. Bernt Bremdal
Prof. Bernt A. Bremdal holds a PhD from NTNU in applied artificial intelligence and a M.Sc. in mechanical engineering.
He has more than 25 years of experience in decision support and information and knowledge management and more than 10 years of academic research and innovation.
Prof. Bremdal has extensive experience within management and project leadership, as well as product development. He is a specialist within knowledge and information management, process reengineering and performance optimization.
His technical expertise comprises search, information extraction, AI, computational linguistics, web applications and operation research.
Qazi Sohail Ahmad
Qazi Sohail Ahmad
Qazi Sohail Ahmad holds the position as International Project Manager, with main focus at project acquisition and EU Advisor for the partners of the NCE Smart Energy Markets cluster.
Before joining Smart Innovation Norway, he was Advisor in research and project coordination at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he participated in several EU and RCN research & innovation projects under the FP7, Horizon 2020, Nano2021 and Petromaks research programs.
Qazi Ahmad holds an MSc in Computer Science from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, and an MBA from the University of Bradford School of Management, UK.
His education also comprises project management training from the University of Massachusetts Boston, USA, and from the College of Europe, Belgium.
Dr. Iliana Ilieva
Dr. Iliana Ilieva
Researcher and project manager with a main focus on the fields of energy markets, Smart Grid, demand flexibility and renewable energy.
Iliana Ilieva holds a PhD degree in Energy System Analysis from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She has a M.Sc. degree in Economics with focus on Energy Economics, from the same university.
Her research focus during the PhD work has been market integration and demand flexibility within a smart grid dominated power sector.
Iliana has extensive experience in scientific writing and publishing and has been a contributor to Smart Innovation Norway’s research projects since 2010.
Sanket Puranik holds Masters’ in Sustainable energy systems from Chalmers university of Technology, Sweden and PDEng in Smart Energy building and Cities (expected May 2017) from Eindhoven university of Technology, the Netherlands.
During his PDEng traineeship, he worked on design of zero energy buildings and investigated the feasibility of business models based upon energy performance contracts.
He has formerly worked with TERI, a research institute in India, with focus on optimal design of buildings and their energy systems, as well as providing energy consultancy services.
Research interests of Sanket include demand side management, energy system optimization, smart grid, new business models for energy, and innovation management.
Dr. Christian Kunze
Dr. Christian Kunze
Christian Kunze holds a PhD in economic sciences from the University of Wuppertal, Germany.
He started his professional career in the electricity industry as a Competitive Intelligence Analyst at E.ON Sales & Trading. Afterwards he worked as Electricity Trader and Director of Trading inter alia for Edison Trading, Milan, Shell Energy Trading, London, and a subsidiary of the Renova Group, Zurich.
Christian was the consortium leader for the successful Horizon 2020 EMPOWER application of Smart Innovation Norway. At his current position as Senior Researcher Energy Management he mainly supports the activities in the D‐A‐CH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).
In addition, Christian is a start‐up entrepreneur, a frequent speaker at industry events and a visiting lecturer in the field of smart energy markets.
Dr. Alemu Moges Belay
Dr. Alemu Moges Belay
Alemu Moges Belay holds a Doctoral degree in technology from the University of Vaasa, Finland. He has a M.Sc. degree in industrial engineering/mechanical, from Addis Ababa University.
Alemu worked as a postdoctoral fellow and researcher at department of Civil and environmental Engineering, NTNU. Previously, he worked in manufacturing and aviation industries, which consume high energy.
His research focus during the PhD work has been concurrent engineering (CE) which helps industries to shorten time to market. It combines cost, quality and delivery time attributes to improve the product development performance using system dynamic modelling.
Alemu has extensive experience in scientific writing and publishing in international journals and conferences.
Some of his skills are product development, cost-benefit analysis, project/knowledge management, socio-economic, quality control/quality assurance, concurrent engineering/time-to-market, process improvement (LEAN, SIX-SIGMA), and system thinking.
Olav Henrik Skonnord
Olav Henrik Skonnord
Olav Henrik Skonnord holds a M.Sc. in Energy and Environmental Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He specialized in Electric Power Engineering and Smart Grids.
His master thesis focused on tariff structures influence on local energy trading within a community with flexibility, renewables and full P2P trading.
Research interests of Olav include energy system optimization, new business models for energy, renewable energy and smart grid with focus on national projects.
Dr. Kalyan Ayyalasomayajula
Dr. Kalyan Ayyalasomayajula
Kalyan Ayyalasomayajula holds a Ph.D in Information technology from Uppsala University, his thesis topic being “Learning based segmentation and generation methods for handwritten document images”.
He has a MSc in scientific computing from Indian Institute of Science. Prior to joining Smart Innovation Norway, Ayyalasomayajula worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Heidelberg University researching in image analysis and machine learning.
In addition, he has about eight years of industrial experience in the fields of audio subsystems, signal processing and embedded systems used in set-top boxes and mobile phones.
Sven Erik Tønnesen
Sven Erik Tønnesen
Sven Erik Tønnesen holds a MSc in Geosciences from University of Oslo. Sven Erik has more than 30 years’ experience from software development projects, mainly within the fields of power systems and power markets. He has had all possible roles in software projects and been responsible for project management, requirements management/functional specifications, design/programming, testing/QA, documentation, customer training and support. Among other things, he has been technical responsible for day-ahead power exchange system projects in the Nordics, California, Germany, France, UK, India and southern Africa.
Before joining Smart Innovation Norway, Sven Erik was CEO for the start-up company Smart Innovation for nearly 5 years. From 2013-2017, he worked as QA manager in eSmart Systems, and before that he worked 15 years for Nasdaq OMX. Earlier he worked for IFE and for Scandpower in Halden.
Tomas Klevmo holds a MSc in Mechatronics from the University of Agder and a BSc in Electrical Power Engineering from Østfold University College.
For his master thesis he designed an active heave compensation system for floating offshore drilling rigs and demonstrated it on a working scale model. He wrote his bachelor thesis on Smart Grids for NCE Smart Energy Markets. His work experience includes robotics, control systems and process control in the oil & gas and manufacturing industries.
At his current position as Researcher Applied AI, he contributes to projects focusing on applying artificial intelligence to solve a broad range of challenges.
Elena Calzado is International Project Manager at Smart Innovation Norway. She has a BS in Chemistry from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
During the last 20 years, she has been involved in Research & Development & Innovation activities in different sectors, including energy, agri-food, environment and health. She has been involved in numerous R&D projects at national and international level, as Innovation and Exploitation Manager, supporting international organisations, research centres and industrial partners in the identification of their innovation potential, the identification of opportunities of financing and proposal preparation.
Elena has worked at CDTI in the international department, she has also worked as R&D consultant, as a coach for entrepreneurs, as a technician of knowledge transfer, as manager of several national technology platforms, as R&D and quality manager and also as external evaluator of R&D proposal for both Spanish Ministry and the European Commission.
Bonnie is responsible for integrating psychological principles and models into strategic consumer engagement and design strategies. She has extensive experience with segmentation strategy, persona design, customer journey development, data analysis, and UX research across a range of industries. She is currently leading the community and stakeholder engagement work in the H2020 projects ACCEPT, IELECTRIX and E-LAND. In her previous role as a consumer insights strategist, Bonnie worked with large international brands such as AT&T, Nissan, and CITI Bank to develop customer-centric digital experiences. Bonnie holds a master’s degree in Organizational and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics with a specialization in behavioural economics.
Dr. Paul Tobin
Dr. Paul Tobin
Paul is a behavioural scientist at Smart Innovation Norway. He utilises knowledge from the social sciences and a variety of research methodologies to design and implement stakeholder engagement strategies. Paul has an academic background in which he developed expertise in leading research projects and performing statistical analysis. He is a former university demonstrator where he taught research methods and applied psychology. Paul holds a PhD in psychology in the field of social interaction and communication from the University of Aberdeen. At Smart Innovation Norway, Paul is currently involved in several horizon Europe projects. In these he is primarily responsible for leading social innovation activities, including the application of theoretical models and processes, strategic planning, and implementing engagement activities aimed at cocreation and behavioural change.
Agnieszka is a Senior Project Control Manager at Smart Innovation Norway. She has experience with working as a project manager in a large European organisation in Brussels, where she was managing several important EU projects. In SIN, she is currently managing seven ongoing EU founded projects and oversees the behavioural scientists’ team in stakeholder engagement and user testing. In addition to providing strategic guidance, Agnieszka leads the technical and financial reporting across H2020 projects. Agnieszka is a co-author of a publication “Benchmarks for best contracts: towards excellence in the European Research Area”. She’s a multilingual professional graduated with master in European politics and BA in European law from Paris and Strasburg Universities.
Minna is a behavioural scientist at Smart Innovation Norway. She utilises her experience in community engagement and social change gained in international projects in developing effective customer and community engagement strategies. Background in social sciences combined with recent academic studies on sustainable business and sustainable energy technologies allows her to bring stakeholder views and consumer insight into the core of sustainable technology development. Minna has extensive experience in international project management, and she is currently involved with H2020 projects ACCEPT and E-LAND in which she is developing and implementing different stakeholder engagement models and tools. Minna holds a master’s degree in development studies from London School of Economics and Political Science and is about to graduate from Aalto University School of Business in Finland with a master’s degree in Creative Sustainability.
Mette has extensive experience in analysis, evaluation, scientific reporting and strategic development – especially within the educational field. In terms of Communication and Marketing, she has been doing project leaflets, website development and social media content.
Mette is working in project administration, budget planning and financial reporting. Mette holds a Master in Arts.
Sidsel is a Senior Social Innovation Researcher. She is structuring and organising primary research in partnerships in international and interdisciplinary environments. For instance, she is leading the development, design and implementation of social and behavioural innovations in the H2020 PROBONO project, which aims at developing Green Building Neighbourhoods in six European countries.
In addition to designing concrete activities and strategies to engage a diverse set of stakeholders, she is using her education in Applied Behavioural Science to implement an evidence-based and experimental approach to changing behaviours towards energy efficient and sustainable behavioural patterns. This role also includes representing SIN in research and innovation fora and participating in scientific publication activities. Sidsel is also involved in project development and applications as well as building strategic partnerships in an international environment.
She holds a master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Studies with a BA from the Department of Political Science and Turkish Studies with a supplementary education in Nudging Theory and Applied Behavioural Science.
Tamara works as a Behavioural Scientist at Smart Innovation Norway. Using applied behavioural sciences and her previous experience in various research methodologies, project coordination and communication, she aims to understand the human factor of energy use and the acceptance of, or resistance to sustainable technological solutions.
Tamara holds a master’s degree in Social and Organizational Psychology from Eötvös Loránd Science University of Budapest. She is currently working on her doctoral research at the University of Helsinki within the fields of social and political psychology, populism, political communication, and intergroup relations.
Emil Wingstedt holds a M.Sc in Theoretical Physics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Emil has 20 years' experience with mathematical modelling of large processes and energy systems, mainly within the nuclear industry. Before joining Smart Innovation Norway he worked at the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Halden.
In his current position, Emil is working as a Senior Researcher for Energy Markets with a main focus on Norwegian projects.
Salima Ismayilzada holds an MSc in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and a BA in Public Affairs from ADA University, Azerbaijan.
Salima describes herself as a self-development-oriented Communication Expert with strong communication, public relations and policy background. Before joining Smart Innovation Norway, she worked at the University of Gothenburg, ELSA Azerbaijan, and for MUN project which acting under the auspices of UN Azerbaijan, UNDP and ADA University.
In her current position as a Communication Expert at Smart Innovation Norway, she is responsible for communication, dissemination and social engagement activities of EU Horizon projects.
Aaditya Dandwate holds a Masters' (M.Sc.) in Sustainable Energy Technology from University of Twente, The Netherlands. He has a Bachelors' in Mechanical Engineering from India.
His master thesis focussed on the case study for conversion of bio-resources to green hydrogen. He has worked on projects related to energy conversion technologies, energy storage systems and business models for sustainable energy.
Research interests include renewable energy technologies & systems, business model innovation and energy markets.
Tuuli Veikkanen holds an MSc in Social Sciences from Aarhus University, where she specialised in conflict and environmental studies. She also holds a BA in History from the University of Helsinki.
Tuuli has experience in communications, marketing, SEO, research dissemination and citizen engagement. Before joining Smart Innovation Norway, she worked in the private sector, NGOs, and an Interreg programme. She has been country manager for two companies and communications advisor for the Interreg North Sea Region Programme.
At Smart Innovation Norway, Tuuli works with communications, dissemination and social engagement of EU Horizon projects.
Rose is interested in the ways that people experience and interact with the world around them, and the roles that they play within societal groups and as part of any system. She specialises in social innovation using human-centred design frameworks and has applied this in a diverse range of global settings as part of complex programmatic work including developments in global health and financial inclusion. At Smart Innovation Norway she leads approaches for better understanding human factors through community engagement.
Brita is an experienced climate- and sustainability leader with a demonstrated history of change- and sustainability management successes. She has 10 years experience with climate- and sustainability management, both from leading roles in Nordic and global companies, and as advisor within strategy development. She also has valueable experience from international aid- and development work, Norwegian Foreign Affairs, and international NGO development and management.
Brita holds a Master of Science in Development Management, with specialization in sustainability and impact analysis. Her Masters thesis evaluated Norad’s Matchmaking Programme in regards to sustainable development in north-south business relations, and she thereby have special insight to impact measures and development opportunities in public-private partnerships.
Brita has strong founder and business development skills, and brings in experiences from building organisations within climaterisk tech, climate advocacy and impact investment. As Climate Lead, Brita get to use all her experiences and skills in order to strengthen Smart Innovations overall climate - and sustainability impact through our smart city and research projects, our cluster involvement and through incubation and venture.
Katariina works as a Behavioural Scientist at Smart Innovation Norway. She applies her experience in intervention design, behaviour change research, and customer insights to design effective customer and community engagement strategies. She’s also experienced in project management and communications. In her previous roles Katariina has worked on implementation and evaluation of a program to increase students’ physical activity as well as customer-centric product and service development projects in the financial sector. Katariina holds a master’s degree in Social Psychology from University of Helsinki.