Executive Director, Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy, UC Davis
Energy and transportation technology and policy expert Dr. Austin Brown has been named the new Executive Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, the Environment, and the Economy. The Policy Institute acts as a bridge between scientific researchers and decision-makers to deliver credible, relevant, and timely information and analysis—assisting and informing the policymaking process in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and internationally.
Dr. Brown will lead the Institute at a time of extraordinary change and opportunity: California has emerged today as the de facto global leader on environmental, energy and transportation issues, with UC Davis faculty at the forefront of bringing science to climate policy via applied research.
Professor and Founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies Dr. Dan Sperling welcomed the appointment. “Austin brings a blend of research credentials, leadership skills, and strategic vision that will elevate the work of the Policy Institute, serve the broader UC Davis community, and forge dynamic partnerships.”
Most recently, Dr. Brown was the Assistant Director for Clean Energy and Transportation in the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. His work there focused on transformative options for clean transportation, including clean energy, energy efficiency, efficient and electrified vehicles, renewable fuels, vehicle automation, and novel transportation systems.
Dr. Brown was trained as a scientist and holds a B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University. With this scientific training, he transitioned to Washington to connect science to policy decisions, especially federal clean energy research. His work at the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory dramatically improved the understanding of possible sustainable futures and helped inform federal research and development investments. He is also on the adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches classes on transportation technology and policy.
“I’m honored and excited to join UC Davis at this incredibly important and exciting time,” Dr. Brown said. “UC Davis is a thought leader in the research that policymakers need to make key decisions in the months and years ahead. I look forward to doing my part to build strong collaborations to solve the world’s toughest energy and environmental challenges.”
The Policy Institute leverages world-class university expertise and engages directly with decision-makers to deliver credible, relevant, and timely information and analysis to inform better energy, climate and transportation policies. The Institute engages in all aspects of the policy process: understanding the needs of policymakers to inform research questions and projects, proactively delivering accessible and timely research findings to legislative and administrative leadership and staff, and undertaking analysis and evaluation to improve existing policies.