27 Oct 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Conor Hickey


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Conor Hickey, visiting fellow, Institute for the Study of Business in Global Society

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
I'm really interested in how computer models help us to understand the world, especially how our climate and energy systems could evolve over time. I use the results from these computer models to figure out what companies need to do to limit global warming and how it impacts them. Sometimes, it's not just about cutting emissions by an arbitrary amount; it's more complicated than that.

Why is your area of research important for society?
We aren't spending nearly enough to limit global warming. It's crucial that what we do spend is on things that are as effective as possible, maximizing climate impact while minimizing adverse effects in other areas. My research tries to understand what that looks like.

Where are you from?
I grew up and did my PhD in finance in Cork, Ireland, but in 2018, I moved to the UK to work at the University of Oxford’s School for the Environment, and I've been there ever since.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I'm an avid runner. After completing the Moab Trail Marathon in Utah last year, I've been on a mission to run through every national park in the US.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
Boy with Apple, by Michael Taylor.

What will you be doing as a BIGS Fellow?
Trying to understand why some companies aren't performing well in aligning with net zero and outlining solutions that can make them more effective based on climate science.

What sort of impact would you like to have as a BiGS Fellow?
Net zero has a clear definition in science but seems to be interpreted in many ways by the business community. My goal is to present analysis that can provide more clarity to business leaders which will help them achieve their climate goals as effectively as possible.

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