Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Laura's research focuses on energy- and environment-oriented technological progress and seeks to: identify and quantify the diverse benefits that derive from policies designed to promote it; map the complex factors—including but not limited to policies—that contribute to it; and create tools for policymakers and analysts to manage the systemic uncertainties that accompany it.
Laura also studies the coupling between water and energy systems and its implications and the effectiveness of innovation institutions internationally. Laura is on the advisory board of the project on "Accelerating Energy Innovation" at the International Energy Agency and has worked as a consultant for various organizations (e.g., Climate Strategies on a World Bank project). In addition to her work on systems analysis in energy and technology policy, Laura has published in chemical engineering and nuclear magnetic resonance journals, carried out process engineering research projects at DuPont and Bayer Pharmaceuticals, collaborated extensively with Johnson Matthey Catalysts, and worked as a financial consultant for banks on credit risk models for financing technology projects.
Laura holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Magnetic Resonance and Catalysis Group at the University of Cambridge (UK), a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Master in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester (UK). She has also studied and worked on research at the University of Stuttgart (Germany).
"Quantifying the Effects of Expert Selection and Elicitation Design on Experts' Confidence in Their Judgments About Future Energy Technologies"
Journal Article, Risk Analysis
By Gregory Nemet, Former Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, January–June 2011, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Elena Verdolini
Expert elicitations are now frequently used to characterize uncertain future technology outcomes. However, their usefulness is limited, in part because: estimates across studies are not easily comparable; choices in survey design and expert selection may bias results; and overconfidence is a persistent problem. The authors provide quantitative evidence of how these choices affect experts' estimates.
May 24, 2016
"Formulating Expectations for Future Water Availability through Infrastructure Development Decisions in Arid Regions"
Journal Article, Systems Engineering
By Afreen Siddiqi, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Farah Ereiqat and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In this research paper, the authors propose that future human mediated water availability in arid regions may be assessed by considering key projects that have been identified or proposed by regional experts and organizations. Using Multicriteria Decision Methods as a framework to organize a set of decision criteria and their relative salience, the likelihood of selection (and development) of a project can be determined and used to form expectations of future regional water availability. The authors apply this approach in a case study of Jordan.
By Xiaoqi Xu, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2013–2014, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Various policies targeting at building energy efficiency have been promulgated by the Chinese government in the past decade. However, few studies evaluate if China is on the right path to meet its energy goals through these policies by providing an assessment of their effect in reducing energy consumption in residential buildings or the feasibility of such policies to catalyze these reductions. This paper attempts to fill this gap by systematically quantifying (1) the energy savings catalyzed by existing policy instruments; (2) the additional energy savings that could be realized by strengthening these policies; and (3) the relative advantages of each policy.
This document contains March 2016 updates to our database on U.S. government investments in energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment (ERD3) through the Department of Energy. The database, in Microsoft Excel format, tracks DOE appropriations from FY 1978–2016 and the 2017 budget request and includes funding for ERD3 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It also includes several charts.
Journal Article, Climatic Change
In order to make R&D funding decisions to meet particular goals, such as mitigating climate change or improving energy security, or to estimate the social returns to R&D, policy makers need to combine the information provided in this study on cost reduction potentials with an analysis of the macroeconomic implications of these technological changes. The authors conclude with recommendations for future directions on energy expert elicitations.
"Balancing Solar PV Deployment and RD&D: A Comprehensive Framework for Managing Innovation Uncertainty in Electricity Technology Investment Planning"
Journal Article, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, volume 60
By Nidhi R. Santen, Former Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), January 16–30, 2015; Former Project Manager, ETIP, July 2014–January 16, 2015; Former Fellow, ETIP, 2012–2014 and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
This article shows that it is possible to unify several realistic features of the deployment and development problem for the electricity sector to meet sustainability goals into one framework.
"A Spatiotemporal Exploration of Water Consumption Changes Resulting from the Coal-to-Gas Transition in Pennsylvania"
By Lauren A. Patterson, Sarah Jordaan, Former Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy (ETIP) research group, April–August 2012; Former Research Fellow, ETIP, February 2011–March 2012 and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
During the early stages of Pennsylvania's coal-to-gas transition, extraction and generation of coal and natural gas contributed to a yearly 2.6–8.4% increase in the state's water consumption. Although some areas experienced no change in water consumption, others experienced large decreases or increases. Consumption variations depended on available natural gas resources and pre-existing power-generating infrastructure. This analysis estimates monthly water consumption associated with fuel extraction and power generation within Pennsylvania watersheds between 2009 and 2012. It also provides the first comprehensive representation of changing water consumption patterns associated with the state's coal-to-gas transition at the sub-basin level.
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015, Alicia Harley, Kira Matus, Suerie Moon, Sharmila L. Murthy and William C. Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development; Co-director, Sustainability Science Program; Faculty Chair, ENRP
Sustainable development requires harnessing technological innovation to improve human well-being in current and future generations. However, poor, marginalized, and unborn populations too often lack the economic or political power to shape innovation processes to meet their needs. Issues arise at all stages of innovation, from invention of a technology through its selection, production, adaptation, adoption, and retirement.
October 28, 2015
By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015 and Amitai Bin-Nun, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2014–2016
The Federal Government has many tools at its disposal to advance energy technology innovation. It can signal markets, for example, through energy tax and regulatory policy ("market pull"), and it can advance research, development, and deployment of energy technologies ("technology push"). Both of these kinds of tools can be effective, but the most effective policy portfolio balances a combination of these policies.
"Public Policy and Financial Resource Mobilization for Wind Energy in Developing Countries: A Comparison of Approaches and Outcomes in China and India"
Journal Article, Global Environmental Change, volume 35
By Kavita Surana, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2015–2016; Former Postdoctoral Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2013–2015 and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The authors analyze and contrast how China and India mobilized financial resources to build domestic technological innovation systems in wind energy.