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CMU Welcomes Costa Samaras as New Director of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

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Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Costa Samaras has returned to Carnegie Mellon University as the director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation(opens in new window). Since 2021, Samaras has been on public service leave at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), serving as principal assistant director for energy and OSTP chief adviser for the clean energy transition.

Costa Samaras

Costa Samaras

“I am so happy to be back home at CMU to lead the Scott Institute to new heights,” said Samaras, a professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering(opens in new window). “This is an absolutely critical time to accelerate the clean energy transition, and I am eager to help CMU and the Scott Institute play a lead role in creating the net-zero energy systems of the future.”

Samaras has more than two decades of experience working on climate and clean energy, and began his faculty career at CMU in 2014 as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and affiliated faculty in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy(opens in new window), and was promoted to professor while on public service leave in 2022. He is the founding director of Carnegie Mellon’s Power Sector Carbon Index(opens in new window) and the Center for Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation(opens in new window). He was also previously a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation working on energy and climate security, as well as worked as an infrastructure megaprojects engineer in New York City. His research spans energy systems decarbonization, climate resilience and the energy implications of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation.

During his time at the White House OSTP, Samaras worked with the OSTP director, the deputy director for industrial innovation, and senior leaders throughout the government in coordinating federal technology policy to meet U.S. climate commitments. Samaras helped launch an effort(opens in new window) to accelerate clean energy innovation to achieve a net-zero emissions economy no later than 2050, as well as President Biden’s Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy(opens in new window). Samaras was part(opens in new window) of the White House delegation at the COP28 U.N. Climate Change Conference, and contributed to the president’s executive order on artificial intelligence(opens in new window). In addition, he led the conceptualization of a new forward-looking clean energy transition assessment capability, the White House ARPA-I Summit(opens in new window), the White House response to an executive order on the climate and energy implications of digital assets(opens in new window), and the assessment of newly announced clean power investments(opens in new window) enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.  

Samaras holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon, a master’s of public policy from New York University, and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Bucknell University.

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