Team Italy

An overview of ROLES participants based in Italy: Sonja Gantioler, Silvia Tomasi, Nives DellaValle and Federico Voltolini.

Sonja Gantioler (Country PI, ROLES)

Empowering people to deal with the manifold complexities of sustainability concerns is a key driver of Sonja Gantioler’s educational and professional life. It influenced her decision to pursue an interdisciplinary study in biology and environmental economics in Munich and Vienna. Later on, it steered her engagement in providing high-quality analysis, research and advice on sustainable finance and environmental policy at EU level in Brussels. Her desire to directly engage key players at city and regional level subsequently led her to take on the role of principal sustainability consultant, and also resulted in a PhD in spatial development and design at the Technical University Munich. She has been successfully managing a wide range of research projects and studies and authoring a serious of publications with high policy impact. Linked to her enthusiasm in unravelling the big picture, and combining different views across scientific disciplines and stakeholders, as senior researcher at EURAC Research she currently focuses on the integration of nature-based solutions and on energy policy and governance in order to identify, clarify and solve the transformational puzzles of a just energy transition.

Jessica Balest

Jessica Balest is a postdoctoral researcher at Eurac Research, with an interest in rural development and renewable energies as well as energy behaviours and practices. Within the Institute for Renewable Energy, she is part of the Urban and Regional Energy System research group. She has a background in environmental sociology and her PhD comes from the Land, Environment, Resources and Health school at the University of Padova. She sees the real world as complex and examines how local communities can have a central role in energy transition through a spatial socio-technical approach.

Silvia Tomasi

Silvia Tomasi has a background in environmental economics and political science. She is currently conducting a PhD jointly at the Institute for Renewable Energy, Eurac Research, and at the Faculty of Economics and Management of the Free University of Bolzano, where she investigates the impacts of energy policies and new governance approaches for a more just energy transition, e.g. energy prosumers and other forms of social innovation and active participation of civil society in shaping the future energy systems. She has experience in coordinating international case study research, liaising with both public and private stakeholders and civil society, and conducting cross-comparative research.

Nives DellaValle

Nives DellaValle acts as a scientific and policy advisor to ROLES. She is a Scientific Project Officer at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, where she conducts policy analysis and applies behavioural insights to energy-relevant issues, ranging from energy efficiency to energy poverty. Prior to joining the JRC, she was a Senior Researcher at Eurac Research, and a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods. She also worked in a team tasked by the Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity, Gas and Water to provide laboratory evidence on the effectiveness of different types of feedback on energy consumption behaviour. She holds a PhD in Economics and Management from the University of Trento (2017), specializing in Behavioural and Experimental Economics with a thesis on the interplay between social context and decision-making, with visiting experiences at the University of Copenhagen and Durham Business School.


Federico Voltolini

Federico Voltolini graduated from the master’s degree course in Organization and Territory Management at the Sociology department of the University of Trento. He is currently part of the Italian team as a junior researcher. In the context of the project ROLES, he mainly deals with the laypersons’ interviews and the subsequent analysis. His main research interests are in energy transitions and social housing.