Education
  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2008
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2004
  • B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, 2002
Research Areas
  • Energy Systems
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Energy and Development
Teaching Areas
  • Research and Empirical Methods
  • Environmental and Energy Policy
  • Information and Technology Policy

Varun Rai is an associate professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group, and in the Mechanical Engineering department. His interdisciplinary research at the interface of energy systems, behavioral sciences, complex systems and public policy focuses on enabling a broad diffusion of sustainable energy technologies globally. Rai has published numerous journal articles, including in Applied Energy, Energy Policy, Energy Research & Social Science, Environmental Research Letters, Global Environmental Change, Nature Climate Change and PLOS ONE. His research has been presented at several important forums, including the United States Senate Briefings, Global Economic Symposium and Climate One at Commonwealth Club, and has been discussed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Bloomberg News, among other venues. Rai serves on the editorial boards of The Electricity Journal and Energy Research & Social Science, for which he is also an associate editor. He was a Global Economic Fellow in 2009 and, during 2013–2015, he was a commissioner for the vertically-integrated electric utility Austin Energy (~$1.4 billion revenue in 2015). In 2016 the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) awarded him the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, which “was established to honor persons who, at under the age of 40, have made a distinguished contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management.”

Media Expertise
  • Energy Policy
  • Energy Water Nexus
  • Technological change
  • Environmental Policy
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Environment

Newsworthy

NewsMarch 7, 2017
LBJ School of Public Affairs Appoints Two New Associate Deans

Angela M. Evans, Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, recently announced the selection of Associate Professor Todd Olmstead as Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Associate Professor Varun Rai as Associate Dean for Research.

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NewsJanuary 19, 2017
INNOVATION BOUND: The Annual Celebration of LBJ School Policy Research

In an annual celebration, the LBJ School community will convene on February 8, 2017, to celebrate the published works of our distinguished faculty and impassioned students.

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Media MentionJanuary 5, 2017
India needs agency for energy data

Professor Varun Rai and colleagues from Brookings India and Standford University pose the need for an Energy Information Agency in India to maintain, disseminate and analyze the country's energy data.

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