Indian American Varun Rai to head the University of Texas Energy Institute

Varun Rai
Varun Rai; Photo credit:: Energy Institute, UT Austin

Rai, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, earned an MS and PhD from Stanford.

Indian Americans have always made a mark when it comes to science and academics in the United States. Following the trend, there is another big name added to the list.

Indian American Varun Rai has been named the director of Energy Institute at the University of Texas in Austin.

Rai, an Assistant Professor of Public Affairs & Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the university, succeeds Michael Webber, who was serving as the acting director since September last year.

Rai studied at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur. He completed an MS at the Stanford University in 2004. Rai went on to complete his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford.

He also has a courtesy faculty appointment at the Cockrell School of Engineering.

“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, a better world,” Rai said in a release.

Among Rai’s achievements is the establishment of UT Energy Symposium, a weekly guest lecture series hosted by the Energy Institute. The symposium is open to the public.

In 2016, Rai won the David N Kershaw Award and Prize, which is given by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. The award recognizes people under 40, who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of public policy analysis and management.

“Energy is perhaps more important today than it has ever been in the history of the world,” Rai said. “Led by outstanding faculty, 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.”

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