Rai, Varun | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
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 2013–15, 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." As of Jan. 1, 2019, Rai is the new director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

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

Newsworthy

NewsOctober 18, 2019
LBJ faculty, students present research on work, families, public workers, crime and more at the 2019 APPAM Conference

Professors and students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will lead conversations and present research across an array of policy areas at the 2019 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Fall Research Conference in Denver, Colorado Nov. 7–9.

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NewsOctober 10, 2019
LBJ faculty talk future of public policy at 2019 NASPAA Conference

Several professors from the LBJ School of Public Affairs will lead conversations on innovations in public policy and emerging challenges involved in training students to build sustainable and inclusive democracies at the 2019 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Annual Conference. The conference, "Reconstructing Governance for the Next 50 Years," will take place in Los Angeles Oct. 16-19, 2019.

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NewsJune 28, 2019
LBJ Associate Dean Varun Rai named a 2019 Young Alumni Achiever by IIT Kharagpur

Dr. Varun Rai, associate dean for research at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, has been honored with a 2019 Young Alumni Achiever Award by the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT). The award recognizes alumni age 40 and under for their creativity, innovation and success in their chosen fields of study and work.

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