About us

The company

ecol is a research consultancy based in Cologne, Germany. Founded in late 2012, ecol is a spin-off company of RWI, one of Germany’s leading economic research institutes committed to evidence-based policy advice. ecol provides public and private clients with research and advisory services on monitoring and evaluation as well as planning and implementation of developing country projects.  These services span different fields of competence, with a focus on infrastructure and environment.

The services offered by ecol combine scientific rigor and a solid foundation in quantitative and qualitative analysis with expertise on study implementation tailored to the particular challenges in the field. ecol builds on several years of experience in working with international and partner country organisations in the developing world. Owing to these collaborations, ecol can rely on an increasing network including international agencies and research institutes, experts and local survey firms.


Founding team

Maximiliane Sievert

Maximiliane has been working as an environmental and energy economist since 2008. From April 2009 to March 2010 she worked on market and competition analyses in the waste management sector for an independent consulting firm. Currently, Maximiliane is partner of ecol and researcher at the economic research institute RWI, where she specialized in applied research in the area of energy economics with a focus on the relation between poverty and improved access to energy in developing countries.

She has gathered extensive practical experience in leading impact evaluation studies including the design and implementation of household and enterprise surveys. She has published in refereed journals such as the Journal of Social and Economic Policy, and Journal of Rural and Community Development. She studied economics and Latin American history at the University of Cologne and Santiago de Chile and is currently finalizing a PhD in Economics at Ruhr University Bochum. Maximiliane is fluent in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and German.


Jörg Peters

Working for ecol, RWI and as consultant to the World Bank and UNIDO, Jörg is a specialist in access to modern energy in developing countries and the evaluation of development interventions. In this context, Jörg is leading an international consortium that evaluates development activities in the energy sector financed by the Netherlands in three countries.

Furthermore, Jörg designed the methodology of evaluation studies for rural electrification and improved stove dissemination projects in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Indonesia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Senegal. He has published in refereed journals such as The Energy Journal, Journal of Development Studies, Land Economics and World Development. Jörg studied economics in Cologne and Paris and holds a PhD from Ruhr University Bochum. He is fluent in English, French, and German.


Gunther Bensch

Gunther is co-founder of ecol and research associate at RWI. He is specialised in designing evaluation studies and has led and implemented surveys for energy projects in Indonesia and several countries in East and West Africa.

His research focus is on the econometric evaluation of electrification and improved cooking stoves interventions. Related works have been published in refereed journals such as Land Economics, Journal of Development Effectiveness and Energy Policy. Gunther holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Bonn, and a PhD in Economics from the Ruhr University Bochum. Gunther is fluent in English, French, Portuguese and German.