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Venkatesh

Mailing address

Belfer 324
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy St., Mailbox 54
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti

Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-495-1464
Email: venky@seas.harvard.edu

 

Experience

"Venky" Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University in 1965. He also has an Honorary Doctorate from Tohoku University. He spent much of his scientific career at Bell Laboratories where he became Director of Solid State Electronics Research in 1981. From 1987–1992, he served as Vice President for Research at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At Sandia, he oversaw a research portfolio of $250 million which spanned its missions in defense, energy, environment, and economic competitiveness. From 1992–1998, he served as Richard Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). During his tenure there, the number of faculty elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in the UCSB College of Engineering grew from three to nineteen. In 2005, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, an endowed chair in his name was established at UCSB. From 1998–2008, he served as Dean of the Division and then School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. At Harvard, he saw the renewal of Engineering and Applied Sciences through a greatly enlarged faculty and the creation in 2007 of the first new school in seventy years. During his tenure as Dean, twenty-two endowed chairs were raised, research funds doubled to approximately $40m, and new linkages with industry were established. During 2003–2006, he was concurrently Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard. Several enhancements to the physical infrastructure including a new 90,000 squarefoot Laboratory for Interface Science and Engineering were undertaken. Narayanamurti has published widely in the areas of low temperature physics, superconductivity, semiconductor physics, electronics, and photonics. He is the author or co-author of more than two hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Narayanamurti is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Over the years, he has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities, national laboratories, and industry. This service has included Chair of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Advisory Committee, Chair of the Committee of Visitors of the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research, Chair of the National Research Council Panel on the Future of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, member of the President's Council for the University of California Managed National Laboratories, and member of the Governing Board of Brookhaven National Laboratory. He currently serves as a trustee for the ARPA-E, U.S. Department of Energy, the Governing Board of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Sandia National Laboratories, as Chair of the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs, the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (CSEPP) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Advisory Committees for Energy Frontier Research Centers at MIT, the University of Michigan, and UCSB. In addition to his duties as professor, Narayanamurti lectures widely on solid state, computer, and communication technologies, and on the management of science, technology and public policy. He was elected to the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was elected Foreign Secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for a 4-year term.

Administrative Coordinator: Karin Vander Schaaf
Tel: 617-496-5584; Email: karin_vander_schaaf@harvard.edu

Photo by Eliza Grinnell

 

 

By Date

 

2016

November 2016

"Scientific Wealth in Middle East and North Africa: Productivity, Indigeneity, and Specialty in 1981–2013"

Journal Article, PLoS ONE, issue 11, volume 11

By Afreen Siddiqi, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Jonathan Stoppani, Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Several developing countries seek to build knowledge-based economies by attempting to expand scientific research capabilities. Characterizing the state and direction of progress in this arena is challenging but important. In this article, the authors employ three metrics: a classical metric of productivity (publications per person), an adapted metric which we denote as Revealed Scientific Advantage (developed from work used to compare publications in scientific fields among countries) to characterize disciplinary specialty, and a new metric, scientific indigeneity (defined as the ratio of publications with domestic corresponding authors) to characterize the locus of scientific activity that also serves as a partial proxy for local absorptive capacity.

 

 

October 25, 2016

"How to Fix the National Laboratories"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015, Amitai Bin-Nun, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2014–2016 and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

"The Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Laboratories are a core engine of the U.S. national innovation system but one in urgent need of a tune-up if the United States is to meet the pressing challenges of energy security and climate change mitigation. The next administration and Congress must modernize the policy framework shaping the National Labs to allow them to more effectively drive the innovation necessary to meet energy policy priorities."

 

 

October 2016

Cycles of Invention and Discovery: Rethinking the Endless Frontier

Book

By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program and Tolu Odumosu, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

Cycles of Invention and Discovery offers an in-depth look at the real-world practice of science and engineering. It shows how the standard categories of "basic" and "applied" have become a hindrance to the organization of the U.S. science and technology enterprise. Tracing the history of these problematic categories, the authors document how historical views of policy makers and scientists have led to the construction of science as a pure ideal on the one hand and of engineering as a practical (and inherently less prestigious) activity on the other. Even today, this erroneous but still widespread distinction forces these two endeavors into separate silos, misdirects billions of dollars, and thwarts progress in science and engineering research.

 

 

Sandia Labs/DOE

2016

"The Pressing Energy Innovation Challenge of the US National Laboratories"

Journal Article, Nature Energy, volume 1

By Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015, Amitai Bin-Nun, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2014–2016 and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Accelerating the development and deployment of energy technologies is a pressing challenge. Doing so will require policy reform that improves the efficacy of public research organizations and strengthens the links between public and private innovators. With their US$14 billion annual budget and unique mandates, the US National Laboratories have the potential to critically advance energy innovation, yet reviews of their performance find several areas of weak organizational design. This article discusses the challenges the National Laboratories face in engaging the private sector, increasing their contributions to transformative research, and developing culture and management practices to better support innovation. The authors also offer recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges.

 

2015

November 2015

"The Social Science of Creativity and Research Practice: Physical Scientists, Take Notice"

Op-Ed, Physics Today

By Tolu Odumosu, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Jeff Y. Tsao, Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

"...[M]any of our most pressing planetary-scale problems are physical-science based. Moreover, if the physical sciences can integrate the new social sciences knowledge, tools, and insight in frequent cycles of selfexamination, then the interaction will not be so much a study by an outsider but rather a process of self-reflection and improvement based on sound science. Many current standard metrics of research effectiveness—for example, the h-index—suffer from well documented shortcomings. That alone should provide ample reason to try something new and to engage with our social sciences colleagues to improve our research practice."

 

 

October 28, 2015

Securing America's Future: Realizing the Potential of the DOE National Laboratories

Testimony

By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program, Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, 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.

 

2014

Martha Stewart

Fall/Winter 2014-15

"Harvard’s Incomparable Venky"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Josh Burek, Communications and Outreach Director and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Some of America’s most distinguished leaders in academia, science, and technology gathered at Harvard in September to celebrate the 75th birthday of renowned Harvard scientist Venkatesh “Venky” Narayanamurti—and to discuss the future of innovation in America.

 

 

Martha Stewart Photo

September 29, 2014

Harvard's Incomparable Venky: A Birthday Tribute and Innovation Symposium

News

By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Some of America's most distinguished leaders in academia, science, and technology gathered at Harvard September 19 and 20 to celebrate the 75th birthday of renowned Harvard scientist Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti — and to discuss the future of innovation in America.

 

 

July 2014

Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation

Book

By Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

How much should the U.S. government invest on energy R&D, and where should those investments be focused? How can the government work with the private sector to accelerate energy innovation? This book addresses these and other important questions to meet the energy challenge with new analytical methods and data.

 

 

June 2014

"Prospects for Policy Advances in Science and Technology in the Gulf Arab States: The Role for International Partnerships"

Journal Article, International Journal of Higher Education, issue 3, volume 3

By David P. Hajjar, Former Senior Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2013–2014, George W. Moran, Afreen Siddiqi, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Joshua E. Richardson, Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) policies in the Gulf Arab States are as diverse as the individual economies and political processes that characterize its member states. During the past decade, a number of expert review groups have argued that science and technology policy needs to be reformed and revitalized in the Gulf Arab States.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.