Task 45: Climate and Sustainability Effects of Bioenergy within the broader Bioeconomy

Task 45: Climate and Sustainability Effects of Bioenergy within the broader Bioeconomy

Celebrating International Women’s Day with the Inspirational Women of Task 45

Today marks International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate that to hear from the amazing women to participate in IEA Bioenergy Task 45. We are proud in Task 45 to have a good gender balance – our leadership team is 50% female, with 5 out of the 14 National Tasks Leads being women. We foster an inclusive culture in Task 45 for all – with regular visits from our NTLs kids popping into the zoom call to say hi and show us their favourite toy, to supporting each other with task work during maternity leave, through caring responsibilities and sick leave.

Below we hear from those inspirational women on all things life, work and bioenergy!


“My ultimate objective as a scientist is to contribute to a more sustainable world. I truly believe a better understanding of the system and our impact on it, could help to steer us towards sustainable development. I am proud to be part of a scientific community that is very much motivated to work on this. I highly enjoy the diversity of people I work with, both within the scientific community: people from all over the world with many different scientific backgrounds, as well as outside the scientific community; farmers, practitioners, NGOs, industry and policymakers. Transdisciplinary and diversity are key for change.”

Floor van der Hilst, The Netherlands, co-chair and WP2 Leader

“I feel inspired to do the work I do because I believe what I do serves a purpose. I believe what I am doing is making a difference and that drives me. I love my job because everyday involves learning something new – scientists are just big kids who never stopped playing (experimenting)! I feel comfortable being my authentic self in Task 45 – having my crazy ideas moulded and fostered into something that can have impact.”

Zoe M Harris, UK, National Task Lead.

“My discipline, agricultural science, has traditionally been dominated by men, so I am excited to be part of a team that includes talented and enthusiastic young women, who are working together to find solutions to global challenges. I find working with Task 45 very rewarding, as bioenergy and bio-based products can have multiple benefits for decarbonisation, building soil health and supporting sustainable livelihoods. “

Annette Cowie, Australia, Task Associate & former Task co-lead

“I have had several women in my life who have helped shape my career, encouraged, inspired and most of all taught me how to face the challenges of bioenergy with balance and rigour. But top and foremost is Dr. Helena Chum.  Helena Chum started her career at the Institute of Chemistry in the University of São Paulo and at the National Renewable Energy Labs in the USA she retired after leading an impressive career with innumerable contributions to the field. I am very thankful to her kindness and friendship.  When you read her work it is a jewel of care and precision. Every sentence counts!”

Glaucia Souza, Brazil, National Task Lead

“It’s a privilege to be part of the highly experienced and talented group of experts in Task 45 and to be able to participate the work towards sustainable, climate neutral future. I find it very motivating that as individual researchers, we can contribute towards this common target with little steps. Learning from colleagues is one of the best parts of research work.”

Kati Koponen, Finland, National Task Lead


To find out more about International Women’s Day click here.