567 Items

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti

Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"Venky" Narayanamurti Honored with Bueche Award

    Author:
  • Leah Burrows
| Oct. 03, 2018

Professor Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard University, former dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and former director of the Belfer Center's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. The award is one of the highest honors given by the National Academy of Engineering, and recognizes an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology as well as active involvement in determining U.S. science and technology policy.

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.

newer design of a nuclear reactor

DOE/Advanced Reactor Technology

Journal Article - Nature Energy

A Tortoise Approach for US Nuclear Research and Development

| July 30, 2018

In Aesop's fable, a swift hare races with a deliberate tortoise. In the end, the tortoise wins by taking a slow and steady approach. The authors argue that, given the economic constraints on US deployment of nuclear power, a "tortoise strategy" is more prudent for US government nuclear R&D efforts.

 Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

US Nuclear Power: The Vanishing Low-carbon Wedge

    Authors:
  • M. Granger Morgan
  • Ahmed Abdulla
  • Michael Rath
| July 10, 2018

Nuclear power holds the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system. Whether it could do so in its current form is a critical question: Existing large light water reactors in the United States are under economic pressure from low natural gas prices, and some have already closed. Moreover, because of their great cost and complexity, it appears most unlikely that any new large plants will be built over the next several decades. While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power's challenges, the authors' assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury. That leaves factory-manufactured, light water small modular reactors (SMRs) as the only option that might be deployed at significant scale in the climate-critical period of the next several decades.

Dr. Arun Majumdar

DOE/Ken Shipp

Journal Article - Research Policy

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy

There is a sharp boundary between basic and applied research in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, the authors consider a branch of DOE that was designed to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E). They hypothesize that much of energy research cannot be neatly categorized as basic or applied and is more productive outside of the confines of the basic/applied dichotomy; ARPA-E provides an opportunity to test that hypothesis.

overhead image of Brookhaven National Laboratory

©2016 Landsat / Copernicus, used with permission

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Department of Energy National Laboratories

| November 2017

This report recommends policies and actions to improve the return on investment the U.S. government makes in sponsoring research and development (R&D) at the Department of Energy's (DOE) seventeen National Laboratories ("Labs"). While the Labs make a unique and significant contribution to all of the Department of Energy's missions, the authors develop the idea that for the Labs to fully support DOE's energy transformation goals, their R&D management practices need to be updated to better reflect current research into innovation systems and management. They also highlight the necessity of Lab interactions with industry in order to impact the nation's energy infrastructure investment, which is, for the most part, privately held.

Blue LED Christmas lamps and reflection on wall

Creative Commons/Alexofdodd

Analysis & Opinions - MRS Bulletin Energy Quarterly

Engineering Research: An Underinvested-in Weak Link in the Energy Innovation Ecosystem

| Dec. 08, 2017

"Engineering research, the exploration of new tools and technologies for manipulating and observing our world, has long been vital to humanity. The invention of the blue LED...is just one recent example—one that, along with many others such as the light bulb, the steam engine, and solar photovoltaics, is transforming humanity's relationship with energy. Perhaps most importantly, engineering research does not follow from (and the blue LED even contradicted!) the scientific understanding of the time. Engineering research has a way of surprising us, most notably when it provides new windows into nature."