Timea Farkas is a young and very talented Romanian research engineer in the energy service. She is working for Servelect company and she is a Ph.D. Candidate, and Research Assistant within the Energy Transition Research Center, at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (TUCN). Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at TUCN, Romania. She is passionate about innovation and research, working on several Horizon 2020 projects dedicated to improving energy efficiency in SMEs and renewable energy integration in buildings, and she is interested in research for energy management and control systems for residential buildings.
Her motivation – working every day with people for the well-being of the people while building a sustainable and professional future and career
Her motivation is working every day with people for the well-being of the people while building a sustainable and professional future and career. Her international recognition was awarded as the winner of the Young Energy Trailblazer category during the European Sustainable Energy Week on September 2022.
She has experience in working with industry and urban communities in the context of energy efficiency, including applying for funding schemes and energy management activities. She has a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy Technologies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering both from TUCN and she got an Erasmus scholarship and studied at the Østfold University College, in Norway.
Timea declared that she discovered her passion for sustainability and environmental protection during her college years. During her bachelor’s studies, she changed her career path thanks to the Erasmus opportunity and found the right way toward her passion: sustainability and environmental protection in the energy field, specifically renewable energy sources.
You are passionate about innovation and research, working on several projects dedicated to improving energy efficiency in SMEs and renewable energy integration in buildings. Most of the world’s population is affected by the current energy crisis. Basically, energy is a global concern. What does your innovation bring as a solution to this energy problem?
Throughout EU-funded projects, I help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get through the barriers they are facing when it comes to energy efficiency. I am encouraging companies to enhance their energy efficiency, by establishing action plans which could lead to energy and cost savings. The work with SMEs started before the energy crises, so the activities nowadays become much more impactful.
You are the Award winner of the Young Energy Trailblazer category during the European Sustainable Energy Week 2022. Would you explain what are the real benefits of this European recognition? As a young professional?
Firstly, being awarded such a prize is a great honor. But what I did feel when my name has been announced during the EUSEW event was more of a sense of responsibility. Being a young woman, just at the very beginning of her career, now has the great mission of supporting the younger generation of professionals in the energy field to contribute to the energy transition that we are all living in.
Am I doing something to support people in one way or another?
How is working every day with people for the well-being of the people?
In one word, meaningful. I think all of us should ask ourselves this question:
Am I doing something to support people in one way or another?
Besides supporting SMEs, I have had several chances to help private and public entities to receive international funding for enhancing energy efficiency and implementing renewable energy sources in educational buildings and companies where people are studying and working. By doing so, I am not only contributing to decreasing CO2 emissions and decreasing utility costs but also increasing the comfort level and contributing to the well-being of the people. And yes, this is work that cannot be done alone: being surrounded by passionate people and professionals accelerate the impact.
There is a recent increase in the number of women pursuing careers in STEM
We are talking about promoting and supporting women worldwide. What can you tell us about women’s representation and involvement in science and technology?
Women have historically been underrepresented in science and technology fields. However, there has been a recent increase in the number of women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and making significant contributions to these fields. Despite this progress, women still face challenges such as a lack of female role models, gender bias and stereotypes, and a lack of family-friendly policies in the workplace. Addressing these barriers and promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM is crucial for ensuring equal opportunities and promoting innovation in these fields.
Women still face challenges such as a lack of female role models, gender bias and stereotypes, and a lack of family-friendly policies in the workplace
You are living proof of promoting gender equality. How does it happen concretely? Examples of good practices worldwide – seen and experienced. And also bad practices, if the case.
Education is the key: raising awareness regarding gender bias and stereotypes could lead to a more balanced environment in terms of gender equality, on one hand. On the other hand, we should avoid exaggerations and overgeneralized statements and actions. We need to analyze the local environment and all the factors which are directly linked, then think and act. In the last few years, the European Commission has emphasized a lot on gender equality topics in many fields, projects, and their everyday work, which is good practice. But is our society ready to implement gender equality actions the same way it does the Belgian or any other Western society?
Why is women’s solidarity so important in science and technology and beyond? How important is solidarity in the development of such ecosystems? Women support themselves in the private area, but less in the public area. It is said that women do not promote women.
Women’s solidarity is important in science and technology and beyond. Diversity is crucial in any field, as it brings unique perspectives, experiences and skills that are valuable to the development of these ecosystems. Women often face gender biases and stereotypes, therefore solidarity can provide support to women.
Is our society ready to implement gender equality actions the same way it does Belgian or any other Western society?
What are the main challenges you face in the management of organizations composed predominantly of men (in the Energy field)?
I work in a male-dominated industry. But I’ve seen many great examples around me which prove that women have a well-defined role in this field, including technical responsibilities. Also, I am working with many men, some of them in management, who empower women’s technical capabilities. I am seeing the “half-full glass” here.
How do you identify and support female talents in your organization?
As I am active also in the academic sector as a Ph.D. candidate and research assistant, I have the chance to interact with the future generation in the energy field. This creates the context to share my experiences and encourage students to take part in initiatives that can empower to build new experiences and skills.
Empowerment and empathy are the main values for female leadership, but it doesn’t mean that male leaders are not promoting these values
What are the values of female leadership in your vision?
I would mention two of the values that I consider to be impactful in terms of leadership: empowerment and empathy. Both values are essential when working with people. Of course, this does not mean that man leaders are not promoting these values.
From your experience, what specifically encourages women in decision-making positions?
I haven’t been in such a position, but I have around me women who are in decision-making positions and they are great inspirations.
Feminism is an uncomfortable label to wear in the STEM area even in times when there is open talk about diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. How do you see in Romania the evolution of public policies for women involved in STEM?
There is still a lot to do in Romania for supporting and promoting gender equality and encouraging women’s participation in STEM fields. But, in the last few years, I’ve seen many great initiatives around the country which encourage women to be in the spotlight, share their stories and inspire others – both men and women. Hopefully, these initiatives will further trigger the evolution of public policies as well.
How do you experience feminism in your personal/professional/social life?
I am interested in initiatives, both local and international, which describe personal experiences and best practices, especially initiatives that target audiences from STEM areas. One of these great initiatives is Women in Tech.
During my university years, I was even told that I don’t belong to the energy industry
What does feminism mean as a lifestyle?
Feminism as a lifestyle refers to the beliefs, values, and actions of a person who identifies as a feminist, and seeks to actively challenge and resist gender inequality in all aspects of their life personal, professional, and social life.
Which were the most difficult time in your career and personal life and how did you overcome them?
Even though I faced several barriers as a woman, and during my university years, I was even told that I don’t belong to the energy field, I kept studying, and I kept gaining experience. Why? Because one of my main values is that my knowledge will always be with me, no matter the field I work in, no matter the situation, uncomfortable or pleasant.