Xiaomei and Alemu have joined our research team:

“The company’s innovation projects fit perfectly”

During the summer months, Smart Innovation Norway has been enriched with two new senior researchers, both with highly relevant PhD’s and both with backgrounds from NTNU in Trondheim.

Av Mari Kristine Buckholm, 7th of August 2019

“When I read on the webpage that the Prime Minister and Digitalization Minister had just visited, I understood that Smart Innovation Norway had to be an important company,” says Alemu Moges Belay and smiles. He is Smart Innovation Norway’s newest addition and is hired as a Senior Researcher on Sustainable Energy.

Originally from Ethiopia, Belay has degrees from both his home country (Master) and Finland (PhD). Before coming to Halden and Smart Innovation Norway, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

“My background is industrial engineering and I have been involved in several national projects, both in Norway and Finland. My research interest has been in the multidisciplinary area, which combines technology, business and economics, and that is what motivated me to join Smart Innovation Norway,” explains Belay.

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Tempted by EU success

He first heard about the company while working with different projects and EU workshops at NTNU, where he also met Smart Innovation Norway’s Senior International Project Manager, Qazi Sohail Ahmad.

“I learned that the company had great success with EU project proposals and did exciting things, as well as having flexibility and a dynamic team,” notes Belay.

He started in his new job on July 29th, and during his first week he was introduced to the company’s many projects and activities. Belay’s main responsibilities will be within the EU projects RESOLVD and E-LAND, plus on preparing research proposals.

NEW COLLEAGUES: Xiaomei Cheng and Alemu Moges Belay have been hired as senior researchers at Smart Innovation Norway. (All photos: Mari K. Buckholm)

Similar research

A few weeks before the summer, another senior researcher joined Smart Innovation Norway’s Research & Innovation team. Her name is Xiaomei Cheng and her expertise is on Energy Economy.

“After I got my bachelor’s and master’s degree in China, I came directly to the Norwegian School of Economics (Handelshøyskolen BI) in Bergen, where I got my PhD. I was there for four years, before moving to Trondheim for my postdoc,” explains Cheng.

This is where she learned about Smart Innovation Norway. After collaborating with Smart Innovation Norway’s Scientific Coordinator Dr. Iliana Ilieva on a research project, she realized that her work was very similar to the research of the innovation company in Halden.

“My postdoctoral research is on grid optimization models and flexibility for the local market. So, I sent an application to come and work here, and now I am,” says Cheng.

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Experience and connections

She will be working on the projects CINELDI, E-REGIO and INVADE, and has already initiated a new collaboration project between Chinese and Norwegian partners.

Cheng believes her background and experience, as well as contacts in Norway and China, will help her contribute to Smart Innovation Norway’s work as an international actor in the fields of renewable energy and information technology.

“I can write strong deliverable reports, thanks to my years as a researcher, and I can also do a good job writing proposals for EU projects. In addition, I have some connections at NTNU and in China, which will hopefully lead to closer collaboration with Chinese partners.”