Rai, Varun | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
  • 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.”

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


NewsDecember 15, 2017
LBJ School Semester in Review: Fall 2017

The LBJ School students’ visit with former Vice President Joe Biden made the cover of The Daily Texan’s Semester in Review. Here are some more highlights from a great semester at the LBJ School.

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NewsDecember 11, 2017
LBJ School, Texas Secretary of State Host Consular Roundtable Meetings to Foster Intellectual Exchange

The LBJ School, in partnership with Texas Secretary of State Roland Pablos and The University of Texas at Austin, hosted the first in a series of Consular Roundtable Meetings, which bring together consular officials from across Texas and aim to assist the foreign diplomatic corps in developing and maintaining relationships with Texas state government, academic institutions and other stakeholders

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

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 Varun Rai as Associate Dean for Research.

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