Dr Claudia Aravena

Associate Professor in Economics

MSc, PhD

Dr Claudia Aravena is Associate Professor in Economics. Her research is highly interdisciplinary in a large variety of areas within energy, environmental and behavioural economics. She is conducting research in energy efficiency, energy transition, electric vehicles, hydrogen, valuation and payments for ecosystem services, land use, consumer behaviour, technology adoption, conservation, air quality and inequities, carbon prices and green bonds, among other topics. This research is greatly developed at national and international level with partner universities and stakeholders in the UK, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

She is currently the President Elect of the Latin America Environmental and Resource Economics Association (LAERE) and she is also a member of the Environment of Development Initiative (EfD) through the Colombian EfD Research Centre at the Research Group on Environmental, Natural Resource, and Applied Economic Studies (REES) in Universidad De Los Andes, Colombia. Dr Aravena is an active member of two international steering committee groups: The Sustainable Energy Transition Initiative (SETI) and The Emission Pricing for Development (EPfD).

She is currently leading projects in air qualities and inequalities in Colombia, environmental valuation and biodiversity conservation in Peru and Ecuador and energy efficiency and technology adoption in Scotland and Chile. Her main expertise are in the use of stated preference methods to value non-market goods, the design and implementation of survey instruments and social experiments and in the policy analysis.

Areas of interest

  • Environmental Economics, Energy Economics, Environmental Valuation, Payment for ecosystem services, Energy Efficiency, Renewable energy, Electric vehicles, Consumer behaviour, Biodiversity, Policy instruments, Sustainable development


  • 2011, PhD in Energy, Environmental and Behavioural Economics,  Queen’s University Belfast. UK
  • 2009, Certificate in Sustainable Development (PhD Level), University College of Dublin (UCD). Ireland
  • 2007, MSc in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, Universidad de Concepción. Chile
  • 2001, Bachelor and Licentiate Degree in Economics, Universidad de Concepción. Chile


Dr Aravena has a background in applied economics mainly focused on environmental, energy and behavioural economics. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and she enjoys producing research to inform industry and governmental decision.

Dr. Aravena joined Heriot-Watt University in 2016 after being awarded the Mäler Scholar at the Beijer Institute – The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences - and having worked as adjunct lecturer and post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Economics in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), the Department of Electric Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD), the UCD Smurfit Business School and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland. She was also adjunct lecturer in the Environmental Economic Unit at University of Gothenburg.

She is interested in research in developing countries. She is the President Elect of the Latin American Environmental and Resource Economics Association (LAERE), guest lecturer at Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru and research associate at Universidad De Los Andes, Colombia. Her teaching is focused on areas of applied economics including energy economics, natural resource economics, environmental economics policy, public sector economics and the economics of renewable energies. She uses innovative and collaborative teaching frameworks such as challenge based learning and research informed learning, which she has successfully implemented in Indonesia and the UK. 

Recent publications

View all publications on Research Portal External link

Projects/Research showcase

A gold trophy against a blurred halo of lights


2020 – GCRF – Global Challenges Research Fund. (£80k). PI. Title: 'Promoting community’s sustainable development - Valuing ecosystem services affected by economic activities in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador'.

2020 – GCRF (£80k). Co-I. Title: 'Mainstreaming biodiversity into coastal development: A sustainability roadmap for Paracas, Peru'.

2020 – GCRF (£10k). Co-I. Title: 'Building the science network to study ‘A Hope Spot for sustainable forest-community development around the Gulf of Tribuga, Colombia'.