Alumnus Dr. Varun Rai, Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2016 David N. Kershaw Award conferred by Association of Public Policy and Management (APPAM).
At LBJ School he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group. He is a Faculty Affiliate at UT Austin's Energy Institute. Prior to joining UT Austin in July 2010, he was a research fellow at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University from 2008-2010. Dr. Rai received his Ph.D. and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 2002.
Dr. Rai was a Global Economic Fellow in 2009 and has held the Elspeth Rostow Centennial Fellowship since 2010. In July 2013 he was appointed as a Commissioner for the vertically-integrated, municipal electric utility Austin Energy, City of Austin (Texas). Additionally, he serves on the Editorial Board of both The Electricity Journal (Elsevier) and Energy Research & Social Science (Elsevier), for which he is also an Associate Editor.
"I am very humbled by this great honor recognizing my interdisciplinary research contributions. My interdisciplinary training really began during my undergraduate studies at IIT Kharagpur. I have been extremely fortunate to have had great teachers at IIT KGP and wish to thank them for everything" said Rai.
Dr. Rai will give a featured presentation during the 2016 Fall Research Conference on Friday, November 4, 2016. “On behalf of the award selection committee, I am proud to recognize Dr. Rai, who has made a path-breaking contribution to the field of energy policy as both a researcher and a practitioner,” stated Paul Decker, CEO of Mathematica Policy Research. “His work, which combines technological, scientific, and behavioral perspectives to generate important insights about the adoption of clean energy technologies, make him an ideal recipient of the 2016 Kershaw Award.”
Funding for the David N. Kershaw award comes from a memorial endowment established following the death of David N. Kershaw and managed by independent trustees. David Kershaw was the first president of Mathematica Policy Research; he died of cancer at the age of 37. The award was established to honor persons who, at under the age of 40, have made a distinguished contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management. The award consists of a commemorative medal and a cash prize of $10,000. This prize is among the largest awards made to recognize contributions related to public policy and social science. Dr. Varun Rai is the 18th recipient of the Kershaw Award.