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Carnegie Mellon University’s Costa Samaras has been selected to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He will serve as principal assistant director for energy and OSTP chief advisor for energy policy in OSTP’s first-ever energy division. In this role, Samaras will work with the president’s science advisor and OSTP director, the OSTP deputy director for energy, and other White House senior officials in coordinating federal activities on energy research and policy to ensure a transition to a clean, equitable, affordable, and resilient energy system and advance American technological leadership in clean energy solutions.

Samaras will provide senior-level policy advice to the director, deputy director, and OSTP senior staff to analyze, recommend, and implement the energy technologies needed to meet the Biden-Harris Administration climate goals of a net-zero emissions clean energy economy no later than 2050. As a senior-level expert, Samaras will formulate policy initiatives, assemble policy teams, brief administration leaders, provide leadership on interagency science policy activities in energy-related sciences and policy, and identify opportunities for clean energy research, development, deployment, and demonstration initiatives. Samaras will work closely with the head of OSTP’s first-ever Energy Division, Sally Benson, to lead a team of OSTP colleagues and rapidly mobilize the president’s ambitious climate goals by helping to accelerate deployment of existing clean energy technology, remove barriers to seamless and equitable integration of new technologies into the energy system, and scale up energy innovation that will reduce costs and grow good-paying jobs. OSTP’s Energy Division will also work with colleagues to advance and contribute to federal government-wide initiatives to further diversity, equity, and inclusion of the U.S. scientific and energy sector workforce. 

Samaras was one of the lead author contributors to the Global Energy Assessment, was a contributor to the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment, and has served on several National Academies Committees evaluating energy innovation and climate systems research. At Carnegie Mellon University, he is the director of the Power Sector Carbon Index and a fellow in the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. As an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering with courtesy faculty appointments in Engineering and Public Policy and the Heinz School of Public Policy, Samaras credits Carnegie Mellon’s interdisciplinary culture as foundational preparation for this role. 

“Science and technology policy, as well as clean energy solutions to address the climate crisis, require systems thinking, which is at the heart of Carnegie Mellon’s approach to research and education. I’m honored to work with the Biden-Harris OSTP team to help further energy innovation and a transition to a clean and equitable energy system,” said Samaras.