Soh Young a PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. She completed her MA in International Policy Studies at Stanford, and BA in Economics and Statistics at Columbia University. Her research has been focused on bridging a knowledge gap among diverse groups in clean energy and catalyzing their behavior change to transition to a low-carbon economy.
Soh Young’s interdisciplinary works have drawn great attentions from and been funded by multiple leading institutions around the world. In 2016, she and her research team won a research prize on low-carbon investment evaluation from the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative. Her new academic project on a novel clean energy investment platform design received grants from the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Bank of America, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Government of Canada. Her work has received extensive media coverage such as Stanford Engineering Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Indexology by S&P Dow Jones, and Sustainable Insight Capital Management, and been invited by multiple academic and industry communities.
Prior to her PhD career, Soh Young worked in the global/development banking industry – specifically, the Korea Development Bank and United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) – for about 7 years. Her professional background in banking adds distinct value to her academic research in two ways: (1) she has an extensive understanding on investment decision-making process as well as policy supports; and (2) she grasps divergent objectives and practices of different types of investors, which range from commercial investment banks to public investors.
Soh Young actively promotes investment and policy issues through both education and community services. At Stanford, she has developed, organized and taught courses in relevant disciplines including political science, finance, and governance. She is also working with faculty members from the University of San Francisco (USF) to develop a new graduate course and a curriculum in energy policy and finance. She is one of the leading members of the initiative on climate change led by University College London (UCL). In 2017, Soh Young won a Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) award, which is hosted by the Department of Energy (DOE), the MIT Energy Initiative, and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.
Honors & Awards
Emerging Scholar Award, International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Common Ground Research Networks (2018)
Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Poster Awards (2nd Place), Department of Energy, MIT Energy Initiative and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
Fellowship, Behavior, Energy & Climate Change, Stanford Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) (2017)
Seed Research Grants (Two Academic Years), Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
Research Grants on “Clean Energy Finance”, Bank of America and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
Research Award on “Aligning Investment Portfolios with a Low Carbon Economy”, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative (2016)
Professional Affiliations and Activities
Organizing Committee, Engineering Project Organization Society (EPOS) Early Career Forum (2016 - Present)
Education & Certifications
PhD (in progress), Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering
M.A., Stanford University, International Policy Studies (Academic Concentration: Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources) (2015)
B.A., Columbia University, Economics (major), Statistics (minor) (2008)
Service, Volunteer and Community Work
Editor, Stanford Energy Journal, Stanford Energy Club
Founding Member, Community of Practice in Export Credit Agencies
Volunteered Instructor in Economics, Junior Achievement Korea
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My research encompasses engineering, economics and public policy. It focuses on clean energy finance and entrepreneurship. My current research projects (1) investigate clean investment performance in the capital market; (2) analyze networks between investors and entrepreneurs; and (3) aim to create an innovative investment vehicle for clean technology startups. My ultimate aim is to catalyze private capital in clean energy so that the world can transition more rapidly to a low-carbon economy.
My latest research on “Is “Being Green” Rewarded in the Market?: An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization and Stock Returns” won a research award from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative, Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, the Sovereign Wealth Fund Research Initiative and Trucost (S&P Dow Jones Indices). My co-authors and I provide viable information for investors, who increasingly prioritize climate finance and look for investment opportunities that offer high returns with high environmental impact. We analyze 74,486 observations of U.S. firms’ public stocks from 2005 to 2015 using portfolio analysis and asset pricing models, and empirically examine the relationship among firm-level carbon intensity, stock returns, and firm characteristics. We find that such investment opportunities do exist and are even common, indicating that investing in carbon-efficient firms can be profitable even without government incentives.
My current research projects, jointly under the theme of “An Integrated Control Tower: Unlocking Long-Term Investment Capital for Clean Energy Innovation,” won research grants for next 2 years from Bank of America, Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Government of Canada. In the first paper, I define all relevant actors (investors, entrepreneurs, and various institutions) in clean energy and evaluate their network patterns using network analysis and organizational design. Based on this paper, I propose a follow-up study that develops a blueprint of a new investment intermediary that could achieve high investment returns through a multi-strategy vehicle that better aligns risks with investors. The objective of these combined projects is to mobilize large-scale sustainable capital investments for the clean energy industry.
Project Manager, Global Finance Department, Korea Development Bank (KDB) (1/2009 - 8/2015)
Graduate Researcher, Global Project Center, Stanford University (5/2014 - Present)
Stanford, CA, USA
Voluntary Consultant, UNDP team on Post-2015, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) (6/2013 - 9/2013)
New York, USA
Research Assistant, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, The Earth Institute (9/2007 - 8/2008)
Palisade, NY, USA
- An Integrated Control Tower: Coordinating and Unlocking Investment Capital for Clean Energy Stanford University. Stanford, USA. 2017 ; Stanford Global Projects Center Working Paper Series
- Is 'Being Green' Rewarded in the Market? An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization Risk and Stock Returns Stanford University. Stanford, USA. 2017 ; Stanford Global Projects Center Working Paper Series
- A Decision Framework for Successful Private Participation in the Airport Sector Journal of Air Transport Management 2017; 62: 217-225
- Application of Relational Governance in Infrastructure Privatization The Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) held in conjunction with the 5th International Megaprojects Workshop: Theory meets Practice 2017
- Is 'Being Green' Rewarded in the Market? An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization Risk and Stock Returns Energy Forum 2017: 46-48
- Applying Relational Governance to Private Investment in Public Infrastructure Global Project Center at Stanford University. 2017 ; Working Paper
- Decision Framework for Private Participation in Airport Development: The Case of Incheon International Airport in South Korea Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) 2016
- Models for Engaging Public-Private Partnerships – A Case of Having Your Cake and Eating It Too? Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) 2015
- Global Urbanization Trend and Challenges Facing Mature Mid-Size Cities: The Case of Busan, South Korea Global Project Center at Stanford University. Stanford, USA. 2015 ; Working Paper
- Do Export Credit Agencies Benefit the Economy Stanford International Policy Review 2014