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It was my great pleasure in late May to welcome an interdisciplinary group of 18 early career researchers of energy innovation policy and management for a week of intensive discussion with one another and with decisionmakers from an array of policy-relevant institutions. The inaugural ITIF energy innovation “boot camp” was a huge success. Not only did the participants learn a lot about how to bridge the gap between research and practice, they also came to represent a community that will continue to generate new research that is relevant to one of the great challenges of our time: ensuring that clean energy innovation accelerates, so that carbon emissions decline rapidly without sacrificing energy affordability, reliability, or access.
The participants were selected through a competitive, open process. Brief bios and links to their research home pages can be found at itif.org/energy-scholars. Their backgrounds span the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. They hail from 12 states in every region of the United States as well as the District of Columbia and Switzerland. Half of them are assistant professors at public universities, while the other half hold faculty positions at private universities or conduct research in nongovernmental or academic settings. Ten of the 18 are women.
Their week in Washington, D.C. involved extended conversations with energy innovation leaders from the public and private sectors. The participants met with congressional staffers from both political parties; current and former White House, executive branch, and regulatory officials; representatives of trade associations, energy companies, and the investment community; journalists; and policy advocates with a diverse range of views.
The participants also shared their own work with one another, finding new insights and potential partners for future collaboration. Going forward, each of them has committed to continue conducting research that contributes to the formation of sound public policies and private strategies that advance the clean energy innovation agenda.
ITIF looks forward to continuing its engagement with these scholars and expresses its gratitude to the sponsors of this program—the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust—as well as to the speakers who contributed their time to it.