Arun Majumdar named inaugural dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Arun Majumdar

“We must collectively figure out how to create a future where humans and nature thrive together,” says Indian American expert

Arun Majumdar, an internationally recognized expert in advanced energy systems, new materials, electrical grids, and renewable energy, will be the inaugural dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. The school launches Sep 1, 2022.

Currently the chair of the advisory board to the US Secretary of Energy, Indian American professor, Majumdar will assume his new position June 15, the university announced Wednesday.

Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Professor, professor of mechanical engineering, senior fellow and former co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he co-chairs the George Shultz Energy and Climate Task Force.

Read: Stanford University scientist Arun Majumdar appointed US Science Envoy (December 5, 2014)

He joined Stanford in 2014 after a career that spanned academic research and experience in industry, national laboratories, and government, where he led efforts implementing energy technology initiatives that included being founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

Majumdar co-chaired the President’s Faculty Committee on the Organizational Structure for Stanford’s Sustainability Initiative, which led to the decision to form a school.

That committee also created the framework for what has become the Sustainability Accelerator, a central part of the school’s focus on impact. The accelerator will drive policy and technology solutions and scale them through collaboration with public, private, and social sector partners, the university said in a press release.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the inaugural dean,” said Majumdar. “We will not only harness the intellectual horsepower of our students, faculty, and staff across our campus, but we will also partner with external organizations around the world to co-develop innovative solutions and identify new insights through research and education.

“As is often said, we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. We must collectively figure out how to create a future where humans and nature thrive together,” he added.

“I’m thrilled that Arun Majumdar has agreed to take on this critical role,” said Stanford Provost Persis Drell, who led an international search to identify an inaugural dean who is an eminent scholar and can advance the school’s focus on impact. He has the respect of the entire Stanford community for his leadership and deep expertise in sustainable energy solutions.”

“I am delighted that Arun is willing to serve as inaugural dean of the Doerr School of Sustainability,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “This new school is a critical part of Stanford’s focus on amplifying our impact in the world. He is an accomplished scholar who appreciates the importance of fundamental research to generate knowledge with transformative potential.”

“And his exceptional leadership skills along with his deep experience in both industry and government will help the school have immediate impact in the world,” he said.

Majumdar’s research career has included the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport, and storage as well as biomolecular analysis, according to his profile.

In the last decade he turned his attention to developing chemical reactions for a sustainable energy future, state-of-the-art energy grids to support a transition to renewable energy, and increased electrification of homes and transportation.

His research accomplishments have earned him membership in the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to his academic research, Majumdar brings experience in both government and industry. Between 2009 and 2012 he served as founding director of ARPA-E, a division of the US Department of Energy.

Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the acting under secretary of energy, enabling the portfolio of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy, and Office of Fossil Energy, as well as initiating multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot and the Grid Modernization Team.

He was also senior advisor to the secretary of energy, Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy, including serving on Chu’s Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.

Read: Arun Majumdar named inaugural dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability (May 4, 2022)

Majumdar led the Agency Review Team for the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Biden-Harris presidential transition.

He served as the vice chairman of the advisory board to US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and was also a science envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He also serves on several advisory boards and boards of businesses, investment groups, and nonprofit organizations.

After leaving Washington, DC, and before joining Stanford, Majumdar was the vice president for energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing, and electricity grid.

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