2018/06/07 | People | State & Economy

One of 30 under 30: Marietta Angeli

"30 Under 30" – The famous Forbes Magazine list features 30 pioneers under the age of 30 from Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year. In 2018 there are no less than two young scientists from the University of Bern. For the political economist Marietta Angeli, the Forbes list is a great opportunity that calls for critical reflection.

Interview: Ivo Schmucki

You’re one of the Forbes Magazine’s "30 Under 30" – congratulations! Were you nominated? Did you apply yourself?
I was nominated. I was familiar with the Forbes 30 under 30 list and an email then brought my attention to the call for nominations.

You are a PhD candidate at the World Trade Institute (WTI). Can you briefly explain what your research is about?
I’m writing a thesis in international political economy on market access barriers and rules of origin for developing country parties of preferential trade agreements. In other words: I’m asking whether and how rules of origin restrict exporters from developing countries when exporting to industrialised markets and how this could be improved in the future.

You were invited to a networking event with interview and photo shoot in Vienna by Forbes where you also met the other people on the "30 Under 30" list. What was your impression of the event?
The whole event was dynamic and open. I was happy to get to talk to people from different industries about their areas of expertise and experiences: the funding situation in professional sports, the challenges of a young chef or the competition among start-ups in medicine.

What were you asked about in the interview?
We talked about international economic policy and the question of whether the public recognises the relevance of trade policy.

Do you think you belong on the list?
Why wouldn’t I? There are of course countless people who have a much more meaningful impact than me through their work. Unfortunately, there aren’t any geriatric nurses or single mothers with two jobs on the list – Forbes has a different definition of impact and success and we should view that critically. At the same time I think it’s also important to be self-confident as a female scientist and move into a territory that traditionally belongs more to white men with a Rolex and business degree. The Forbes list is a great opportunity for just that. So I’d say I belong on the list just as much as the others on it.

Have you been actively supported during your career?
I received scholarships during my time at school and while studying. I’m grateful to have my doctoral research fully funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation as part of their doc.ch programme. Beyond the financial aspect, societal encouragement also played an important role in my career: as the child of academic parents I enjoyed a lot of opportunities and was encouraged to utilise them.

What’s the greatest challenge for young people in science?
Two things specifically come to mind. First, funding a doctoral projects is a major problem for many young researchers. This is particularly critical for those that can’t count on financial support from parents or savings. Second, staying in academia often requires geographical flexibility. Jobs in the private sector are often more attractive for university graduates when it comes to these two areas: attractive financing and the choice of where to live.

What could be done to make it easier for young women to get into science?
From personal experience, I think it would be great if quantitative research in particular was far less of an "old boys’ club". When 50% of all Masters graduates are women but just 20% of the professorships are held by women, academia loses too many promising people. I would hope that more women in leadership positions could lead to a change in culture and accepted behaviours: the rating of female professors’ appearance on a scale of 1 to 10 or patronising comments about women in quantitative data research could – and should – be a thing of the past.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I would like to advise national delegations from low and lower-middle income countries in free trade agreement negotiations.  


Marietta Angeli (*1989) joined the University of Bern’s World Trade Institute (WTI) as a PhD candidate in May 2017. Previously, she worked as an senior manager on foreign trade issues at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and as a consultant for the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. In her research she analyses market access barriers and rules of origin that exporters from small and developing countries encounter when trading with industrialised states.


Marietta Angeli
University of Bern
World Trade Institute (WTI)
E-Mail: marietta.angeli@wti.org 

Forbes «30 Under 30»

Forbes Magazine publishes lists of pioneers under the age of 30 in various categories every year under the name "30 Under 30". 30 people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were nominated in the German-speaking edition in 2018. Jessica Lampe from the Institute of Practical Theology is also on the list alongside Marietta Angeli from the University of Bern.

About the author

Ivo Schmucki works as an editor in Corporate Communication at the University of Bern.