Cyrus Wadia, co-director of the Haas School's Cleantech to Market Program, has been asked by the White House to spend a year in Washington, DC, to advise its Office of Science and Technology Policy on renewable energy.
Wadia will begin his assignment on Feb. 22, taking a leave of absence from the Haas School of Business and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he has been serving as both a guest scientist and organizer of Berkeley Lab’s new Carbon Cycle 2.0 initiative.
With a focus on solar energy, Wadia will be charged with directly supporting President Obama's mission of making solar energy economically viable on a global scale. His role will be to carry out a broad range of advisory tasks, cross-agency coordination, and program management activities toward this goal,
"Having worked with Cyrus, we know that this is a fantastic development for our nation's energy future," says Catherine Wolfram, co-director of the Energy Institute at Haas. "While we are sorry to lose him during this leave, we are excited for what he will bring to the nation's energy dialogue. This appointment is also a testament to how the broad energy community is valuing the people and resources at the Energy Institute."
In Wadia’s absence, Beverly Alexander, co-director of the Cleantech to Market Program, will continue teaching the program’s course, offered for the first time this spring. The course creates interdisciplinary teams of Haas and UC Berkeley graduate students to help scientists commercialize their technologies.
Wadia, who earned a PhD in UC Berkeley's Energy Resources Group, has been researching ways to develop photovoltaic solar cells from earth-abundant materials in order to make solar energy affordable and accessible worldwide. Last year he was recognized as one of the world's top 35 innovators under 35 by MIT's Technology Review magazine.
Wadia joins several experts from the Haas School and UC Berkeley who are working in Washington, DC. They include Haas School Professor Carl Shapiro, now serving as chief economist in the Department of Justice Antitrust Division; Professor and former Haas Dean Laura Tyson, a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory board; Economics Professor Christina Romer, chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers; and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, former director of LBNL.