Prof. dr. Claire Dupont

Prof. dr. Claire DupontContact details / research disciplines / publications

Question & answer

What hidden talent do you have?

I can knit!

What is your research about?

My research examines the policy, politics and governance of the transformation to sustainability and climate neutrality in Europe. I am interested in how and why the EU and its member states adopt certain policies towards sustainability and not others. I investigate the extent to which climate change and sustainability are integrated across policies and sectors to respond effectively to the scale and scope of the sustainability challenge.

Why the interest in that subject?

I have always been in awe of the natural world and how it provides for all our needs, and have always been appalled to see how human activity negatively impacts the environment we rely on. I see it as an urgent responsibility to contribute knowledge to making sure we can govern the shift towards climate neutrality as quickly, as fairly and as effectively as possible.

Why is your research socially relevant?

Because if we cannot transform our societies to become sustainable, we will all suffer. 

How would colleagues describe you?

‘Friendly’, I hope!  

What do you hope to achieve in your academic career?

My motivation in my academic career is to make a difference in society.

If I can help students develop the knowledge, analytical and critical skills to contribute to resolving societal challenges, that would be a high achievement. With my research, I aim to contribute to societal and governance debates around the transformation to sustainability, and I try to engage with societal and governance actors as much as possible (for example, I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, which is an important knowledge organization in the EU policymaking system). I hope that I will have a small impact that helps make the world a better place!

What is the first thing you do when you have unexpected free time in your agenda?

I usually struggle to find time to respond to emails and to read. If ever I unexpectedly have some free time (does this really happen?!), then I try to go through my email backlog, and I try to read one or two articles that are on my ever-growing list of things to read.

How do you find living in Belgium?

When I first moved to Brussels, I remember struggling to adjust to the fact that people do not talk to each other. In Ireland, we usually chat to each other, even in the cities, and even if we are complete strangers. I will never forget the day that I was waiting at the tram stop with one other person a few weeks after arriving in Brussels. As is usually done in Ireland, I smiled and said hello. The other person looked at me like I was crazy, and when we got on the tram, they sat as far away from me as possible!

I have been living in Ghent since 2017, and I really like the city. I have gotten used to life in Belgium now. My French and Dutch are both now at a good enough level that I can even understand some jokes, and I enjoy Belgian/Flemish humour. I have also learned that being invited into the home of a Belgian is one of the highest honours I could receive!