Philipp Offergeld is a NRW School of Governance/AICGS fellow and a master’s student at the NRW School of Governance in Duisburg, Germany. Prior to his studies in Duisburg, he graduated from Maastricht University with a bachelor’s degree in European Studies and a master’s degree in International Relations. Key focal points of his studies were the “Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU,” “International Cooperation and Conflict,” and the EU’s trade and aid policies. In his master thesis, he performed a comparative study of embedded journalism in times of war. During his studies, he was an intern at the German Bundestag, working for a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. Offergeld speaks English and French fluently, and has basic knowledge of Dutch and Arabic.

Project Description:
While at AICGS, Mr. Offergeld will compare structural changes in North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and Pennsylvania.

In terms of structure, North-Rhine Westphalia and Pennsylvania share a similar history, founded on industrial advancement and mono-cultural tendencies in the coal, iron, and steel sector. However, the commercial sectors in both states have been subject to necessary adjustments, albeit at different speed and intensity.

Due to the steel- and dockyard-crisis in the 1970s, Pennsylvania underwent a radical structural change from the industrial sector to the service and technology sector. Despite some difficult stages during the transition, Pennsylvania has taken a leading position in environmental technology and the regenerative energy sector on a global scale. Thus, how could Pennsylvania turn from a steel and coal-based monoculture to a precursor in environmental technologies? This research project will focus on the perspective of the businesses, exploring which political and structural preconditions led major environmental technology firms and companies engaged in regenerative energy to settle in Pennsylvania.

While NRW has certainly been successful in overcoming many perils of structural change, it must secure a progressive and forward-looking attitude, striving towards scientific advancement especially in trendsetting industries. Hence, it is the aim of this project to find specific political and structural programs which have been of benefit to the innovative businesses in Pennsylvania and could, in the future, also provide advantages for NRW.