Boston University Partners with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Recruit Top Research Talent

Laura Hurley
Marketing & Communications Director, IGS

Through a new partnership, Boston University (BU) is formally teaming up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to encourage joint research appointments and new collaborations. BU is currently one of only 18 university partners nationwide to offer these positions, selected by NREL to build new bridges that will attract the best scientists and engineers at all academic levels for cutting-edge research on the clean energy transition. The aim of the collaboration is to solve complex, multidisciplinary challenges in energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, renewable power technologies, and grid integration.

Oversight of BU’s joint appointment program with NREL is spearheaded by the university’s Institute for Global Sustainability, led by Director Benjamin K. Sovacool, an internationally recognized scholar on energy and climate policy.

“Working with NREL is an incredible opportunity for Boston University faculty and our students, giving us access to some of the top research facilities in the world while opening new doors for scientific engagement and innovation among the best and brightest in sustainable energy and transportation,” said Benjamin K. Sovacool, Director, Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability. “Our partnership is also significant for the City of Boston, attracting nationally recognized research talent to enhance the quality of science, technology, education, and industrial development right here in our backyard.”

BU and NREL have recently signed a master agreement committing to the Joint Appointment Program for at least five years, in the process greatly expanding their research capabilities and facilities to support scientific breakthroughs in clean energy. Selection of BU faculty and NREL scientists for joint appointments is by mutual decision, and each appointee will remain employed by their home institution.

Dr. Sovacool will be the first BU-NREL joint appointee, bringing a heightened focus to the ethics and justice of energy transitions and advancing efforts to improve energy security.

“We are thrilled to welcome the world-recognized researcher, Dr. Sovacool, to our community, whose talents will be critical in furthering NREL’s research in energy justice and inclusive climate change strategies that will also help build talent pathways for a clean energy future,” said Ellen Morris, Director, NREL’s University Partnerships program.

The potential for BU and NREL to utilize joint appointments will be instrumental in fostering collaboration via joint funding proposals, publications, and training and mentorship opportunities for postdoctoral researchers and students in related disciplines.

About the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability

The Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability (IGS) pioneers research to advance a sustainable and equitable future, convening faculty across the university’s diverse schools and colleges. Our focus on planetary and environmental health, climate governance, and energy systems is grounded in equity and justice, robust data science, and real-world impact. To learn more, visit

About the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory focusing on creative answers to today’s energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy. NREL is doing this with an eye toward energy justice and equity to make sure that all people benefit from the clean energy transition—in terms of jobs, environmental quality, policies, affordability, and investments.