About me: Irene Maffini is a part-time PhD student and a part-time early-stage Venture Capital investor, helping sustainability-focussed SMEs to commercialise their technologies and grow. Irene holds a first-class honours MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College (UK) and a double degree in Business & Economics from Northeastern University (US) and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy).
Irene has more than 8 years of professional experience working across research, policy, finance and consulting in the field of clean technology commercialisation, incubation and investment, working on innovation programmes for the UK Government, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Swedish Energy Agency, UNDP, Shell and GE. Irene’s clean technology thought leadership professional work has been covered in in the Economist, Daily Telegraph, Times, BBC and leading trade publications.
My research: My academic research interests include exploring the role of crowdfunding to finance clean energy ventures/projects, and the role of the state in crowdfunding public private partnerships (PPPs) for sustainable development. In my PHD thesis, I am investigating the different roles that the international development agencies play in crowdfunding energy access partnerships with private sector and civil society actors.
The difference my research makes: My research goals are to establish whether crowdfunding and PPPs are promising policy tools to catalyse, complement and augment private-sector investment in energy access projects in developing countries and what role the state should play is in these partnerships. My ultimate goal is to produce evidence that can be used by state entities who want to use crowdfunding to finance innovative sustainability projects in the future.
Publications: Energy4Impact (2018), Crowd Power, Who is the Crowd? (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5be2c2bced915d6a105b794d/e4i_crowd_power_iv_paper_0.pdf )