Who is who?

Meet the members of the research group

Madeleine Dungy 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Madeleine Dungy studied history at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Oxford, and Harvard University. Her interest in natural resources focuses on regulation and international governance. Alongside her work for the Fate of Nations, she is also developing a new research project on cooperation in European migration policy after the Second World War.

Favourite element: bones and hides (although these messy materials are made up of lots of elements, which makes them interesting from a regulatory standpoint).

David Alenga

Ph.D. Researcher

David Alenga comes from a background of international economics and international politics. His research interests include the Soviet and post-Soviet region, international organizations, and North-South relations. His current research is focused on how the Soviet Union aligned its interests with the Third World on the natural resources debate in the United Nations during the heydays of the New International Economic Order (NIEO).

Bjørn Lien Bakke

Ph.D. Researcher

Bjørn Lien Bakke wrote his master thesis on Norwegian foreign policy and how it was affected by the second Italo-Ethiopian war. Currently his interests have moved away from exports of dried cod towards European co-operation in the sphere of managing natural resource dependency. His Ph.D thesis will explore the role of the System of Stabilization of Export Earnings from Mining Products (SYSMIN) as an institution geared towards Third World development and resource management.

Favourite element: Manganese

Francisco Beltrán Tapia

Associate Professor

Fran Beltrán defended his PhD at the University of Oxford in 2014 and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Economics at the University of Cambridge for three years (2014-2017). His thesis, which studied the enclosing of the commons in 19th-century Spain, was shortlisted for the Thirsk-Feinstein by the Economic History Society and has just been awarded best doctoral dissertation (2014-2016) by the Asociación Española de Historia Económica. As well as continuing working on the management of collective resources, his current research interests include inequality, human capital accumulation, migrants selectivity, gender discrimination and agglomeration economies.

Favourite element: more than just one, he is more into the mixture of elements that makes up for soil

Marten Boon

Associate Researcher

Marten Boon holds a PhD from Erasmus University Rotterdam (2014). His thesis received the dissertation prize of the European Business History Association in 2016. Most of his research concerns  the political and business history of petroleum. He is currently working at University of Oslo as researcher in the project The History of Statoil, 1972-2022.

Favourite element: combinations of hydrogen and carbon between C5H12 to C18H38 long, roughly 

Patricia Clavin

Professor II

Patricia Clavin took her degrees at King's College London. She teaches at Jesus College and in the History Faculty at the University of Oxford and has a long-standing interest in the role of economics in the international relations of the Twentieth Century. She is currently writing a study of Human Security, in which raw materials play an important role, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Favourite element: Cod Liver Oil (preferably manufactured in Norway) having developed something of an intolerance to past enthusiasms of wheat and rye.

Hans Otto Frøland


Hans Otto Frøland (dr. philos. 1993) was educated at NTNU. Having constantly worked from the perspective of political economy his interest in natural resources relates to international commercial policies and international resource conflicts and wars since the start of the 20th century. He is currently working on concerted European efforts to handle its resource import predicament.

Favorite element: recently moved from bauxite to soft commodities as sugar, making his life a constant struggle between preference and will.

Ingeborg Guldal

Ph.D. Researcher

Ingeborg Guldal holds a Master's degree in Globalisation from NTNU (2009), examining corporate culture at Hydro Aluminium Suzhou, China. Her current research interests relate to the development of the copper industry in Southern Africa, specifically state regulation of the production and marketing of copper in Northern Rhodesia and Zambia from the interwar years to early independence.

Favourite element: Copper, the metal of civilisation.

Mats Ingulstad


Mats Ingulstad is an alumnus of the European University Institute in Florence (PhD, 2011). His interests in natural resources relate to US foreign economic policy from the mid-19th century, European integration and international institutions like the League of Nations and the UN.

In addition to his research interests in natural resources, his current projects include the history of the Norwegian Research Council and labor mobilization during the Second World War

Favorite element: Currently molybdenum, after previous infatuations with aluminium and tin.

Frida Brende Jenssen

Ph.D. Researcher

Frida Brende Jenssen's master thesis explored Norwegian foreign relations with regards to the conflict between China and Japan in the 1930s. Continuing a fascination with the League of Nations, she is interested in researching the role of international organisations in natural resource regulation in colonies. Her PhD project will therefore examine the regulation of mineral resources in Papua New Guinea, where Australia governed a colony, a mandated state and a trust territory between 1920 and 1975.

Favourite element: I hold this truth to be self-evident, that all elements are created equal... but gold, naturally.

Duygu Dilek Kesen

Ph.D. Researcher

Duygu Dilek Kesen wrote her master thesis in 2011 on American-Turkish relations during the Carter administration. Her current research interests relate to Turkey and multinational oil companies, specifically foreign firms and investments in Turkish oil industry between 1950 -1970 and the political strategies behind negotiations between Turkey and multinational companies.​

Favourite element: for the time being, oil

Gwendolyn Claire Lin

Ph.D. Researcher

Gwendolyn Claire Lin is interested in the role of commodity traders in the economic development of Asia, particularly in relation to the Rise of China in the period 1980 - 2015. The focus is how commodity trading contributed to the China we know today and how the tremendous growth in China affected the industry. She holds a Master's degree is Global studies from MHS, Stavanger (2011) and has a keen interest in commerce and entrepreneurship. Much of her research is conducted through oral history. She did extensive fieldwork in Hong Kong and Singapore during the Fall semester of 2016, talking to more than 30 founders, CEOs and other key people in the commodity trading industry.

Favorite element: gold

Saara Matala

Postdoctoral Fellow

Saara Matala defended her doctoral thesis on Finnish Cold War shipbuilding industry in Aalto University, Finland in 2019. She holds Master's degrees on political history and technology, and is intrigued by the interaction between politics, money, and machines. Her post-doctoral project concerns diesel production in countries that have no own hydro-carbon resources. Her other research interests include the Cold War, Arctic maritime technology, and mobile security.

Favourite element: Water, especially in its solid form, ice.

Adrian Palacios Mateo

Ph.D. Researcher

Palacios has a master in Economics from Saragossa, which examined the factors that influence natives' opinion towards immigrants. His PhD will deal with the relationship between natural resources and local development, in particular how local resource owning elites fostered or prevented the development of public infrastructures like schools.

Favourite mineral: coal, the mighty driver of the Industrial Revolution

Simon Renner

Ph.D. Researcher

Simon Renner studied history and economics at the LMU Munich and NTNU, Trondheim. Despite (or perhaps because) his previous experience in the business sector, including training as a bank clerk, he decided to focus on far more exciting academic pursuits: research in economic history. Formerly, his interests focused on business history in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. Currently, he is examining Britain's raw material policy during World War One and the interwar period.

Favourite element: Antimony - the ambivalent element. Used as medicine in the 17th century and as a popular murder weapon in 19th century crime fiction, it is also important for alloys in times of peace and even more important for shells in times of war.

Andreas Dugstad Sanders

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sanders defended his PhD at the European University Institute in 2018, which examined resource nationalist policies in Sweden and Norway before and after WWI. Building on this work, his postdoctoral research explores the evolution of mineral regulations globally from the 1870s to the Second World War.

Favourite element: Despite passionate flings with pyrites and molybdenum, his true love remains electricity generated by flowing water.

Pål Thonstad Sandvik


Pål Thonstad Sandvik (PhD, 2008) research interests are state regulation of natural resources in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is currently also writing a textbook on Norwegian economic development since the late 18th century.

Favorite element: After previous crushes on aluminium, nickel and oil he now accept everything as long as it's got a decent resource rent.

Jonas Scherner


Jonas Scherner is Professor in Modern European Economic History at NTNU. He received both his doctoral degree in economic history and his Habilitation degree (the second book in the German system) in economic and social history from the University of Mannheim. In the academic year 2005/2006 he was a postdoctoral visiting fellow at the Economic Growth Center, Yale University and in 2008/2009 Visiting Research Fellow in Economic and Social History at the German Historical Institute (GHI), Washington DC. His current research, with a special focus on raw material policy, examines German war economies in World War I and World War II, as well as Nazi war preparation.

Favourite elements: currently copper, tungsten, tin, and nickel.

Espen Storli


Espen Storli (PhD, 2010) has formerly been a Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History at Harvard Business School. He is especially interested in the historical development of multinational companies and their relations with the societies they operate in. He is currently working on a project on the modern history of global commodity trading companies.

Favorite element: for the time being, mercury is what is most on his mind

Knut Ola Naastad Strøm

Postdoctoral Fellow

Strøm holds a PhD in economic history from the University of Gothenburg, and defended his thesis on First World War Scandinavian trade negotiations in 2019. His postdoctoral work concerns Entente and Allied efforts to set up and enforce international regulation of commodity trade during the Great War and into the immediate post war period.

Favourite element: Since it is said that opposites attract, it should come as no surprise that, despite being allergic to the material, Strøm retains a keen interest in nickel.