Enrico BENETTO | Researcher and head of Environmental Sustainability Assessment and Circularity Unit

Why did you choose LIST?

Originally, I was looking to get closer to the Greater Region and wanted to find a professional framework that was at the crossroads between the academic world and that of business. These two aspects seemed complementary to both meet the conceptual challenges of research, but also those inherent in the business world.

Fourteen years ago, this approach was however quite rare, and even more so in my research theme: environmental sustainability. The positions were either consultancy or academic. When I learned that CRP Henri Tudor - which merged with CRP Gabriel Lippmann in 2015 to form LIST - was offering a position that combines these two elements, I immediately seized the opportunity!

Over time, and probably more maturity, the notion of challenge still thrills me, but also rubs shoulders with that of goal and impact. Why are we doing this specific work? Faced with the era we are living in, with the importance of the ecological and energy transition, the structure of LIST as a Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) takes on its full meaning: research must push back its limits every day in order to have a lasting impact on our society.

You've been working there for 14 years now. Can you tell us more about your evolution?

In terms of evolution, let's say that it was rather enlightening! I started as a researcher on sustainability projects. It was therefore a purely operational position and I was more or less the only one covering this subject. Once the CDI was signed, I could be supported by another person. I had more and more competitive international funding and therefore could gradually develop the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) component from 2007 to 2014. The framework and the freedom granted by the Institute really allowed me to conduct and submit my research projects, which might not have been the case elsewhere. With a team of ten people in 2014, my role had become twofold: scientific coordination and research. The creation of LIST in 2015 was accompanied by the creation of a unit and a research group focused on the assessment of environmental sustainability, and for which I became responsible. Today, in 2020, I find myself responsible for a unit made up of five research groups and around 60 researchers.

How do you combine sustainability and mobility in Luxembourg?

I haven't always lived in Luxembourg and, at the start of my career at LIST, I commuted by train every day from Haguenau, France. In total, this represented nine hours in public transport per day! It was only in 2017 that I moved to Luxembourg. From my home, I only have to walk 5 minutes to catch a bus that took me straight to work. Free public transport and their extensive network is a great advantage, even if my bus line unfortunately changed its route. So I now use an electric vehicle powered by a certified and local renewable energy source.

You have lived in several countries and cities. What is your impression of Luxembourg?

I am of Italian origin and have lived for many years in France. But, I can say without hesitation that the living environment in Luxembourg is without doubt one of the best in Europe. It is a stable, peaceful and multicultural country. LIST is an excellent example where more than 46 nationalities coexist. Beyond multilingualism, it is for me a richness as a vector of innovation and dynamism.

If you had to sum up LIST in one sentence, what would it be?

LIST is an institute which aims to carry out inclusive and responsible research and innovation activities, combining scientific excellence and socio-economic impact, and through this, it has an important role to play, at national and European level, in supporting the transition to a more sustainable and resilient society.


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