Indian American Leads University of Texas Energy InstituteTop Stories

January 08, 2019 12:19
Indian American Leads University of Texas Energy Institute

(Image source from: Jammu Links News)

An Indian American Varun Rai has been appointed as the director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rai, who earlier served as the acting director in the institute since September 2018, succeeds Michael Webber.

Rai, born in India, graduated from mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in 2002 before doing Master of Science in the same engineering stream from Stanford University in 2004.

Rai's research examines the underlying components of energy systems technological, social, economic, and institutional and in what way they impact the adoption of clean energy technologies.

Rai in a release said: "Energy is possibly more important nowadays than it has ever been in the history of the world. Led by outstanding faculty across multiple schools, centers and departments, UT is a world leader on energy research. There is so much incredible work happening across campus spanning innovations in oil and gas, renewable energy, and storage technologies.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to shape the Energy Institute into a valuable asset for supporting and elevating path-breaking energy research at UT for a better Texas, a better United States, and a better world."

In addition to teaching courses in statistical analysis and energy innovation at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Rai set up the UT Energy Symposium, a weekly guest lecture program hosted by the Energy Institute that is open to the public.

Rai, in 2016, won the David N Kershaw Award and Prize, granted by the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, to honor persons who, at an age under 40, have made an eminent contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management.

"Professor Rai's strong background in engineering, his expertise in energy policy research and his administrative experience as an associate dean make him the ideal choice to take on the leadership of UT's Energy Institute," said Vice President for Research Daniel Jaffe.

He further said: "I look forward to working with him to strengthen the institute's role as a front door to energy research on our campus."

The Energy Institute seeks to promote innovation, educate students and inform policy by promoting energy research and expertise from all departments and across all energy-related fields and topics at UT Austin.

-Sowmya Sangam

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