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Indian American Energy Expert Arun Majumdar Named Inaugural Dean Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Indian American Energy Expert Arun Majumdar Named Inaugural Dean Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

  • A professor of mechanical engineering and former co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, he has experience in both industry and government.

Arun Majumdar, a professor of mechanical engineering, and an internationally recognized expert in advanced energy systems and renewable energy, has been named the inaugural dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. The university’s first new school in 70 years aims to accelerate solutions to the global climate crisis The school launches on Sept. 1, according to Stanford News, and Majumdar will assume his new position on June 15. 

Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy) and Senior Fellow and former director of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He is also a faculty in the Department of Photon Science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

He was co-chair of the President’s Faculty Committee on the Organizational Structure for Stanford’s Sustainability Initiative, “which led to the decision to form a school,” as reported by Stanford News.

“In addition to his academic research, Majumdar brings experience in both government and industry,” Stanford News notes. He currently serves as the chair of the advisory board of U.S.Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. He previously led the Agency Review Team for the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Biden-Harris presidential transition. 

The founding director of ARPA-E, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, Majumdar served as acting undersecretary of energy, enabling the portfolio of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. He was also a senior advisor to the secretary of energy, Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy, including serving on Chu’s Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.

He previously served as the vice-chairman of the Advisory Board of former Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a Science Envoy for the U.S. Department of State with a focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. 

After leaving Washington, D.C., and before joining Stanford, Majumdar was vice president for Energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing and the electricity grid. 

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Before joining the Department of Energy, he was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at the University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He also spent the early part of his academic career at Arizona State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

(Top photo, courtesy Edward Caldwell,

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