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The Economics of Energy Innovation




15: Management

Faculty Supervisor:

Jacquelyn Pless

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Jacquelyn Pless, jpless@mit.edu

Project Description

Transitioning to clean energy systems is critical for mitigating climate change, yet doing so quickly and cost-effectively will still require substantial innovation. What are the major barriers to clean energy innovation? Is the role of start-ups changing as energy systems become “smarter”? Should firms aiming to advance clean energy pursue collaborative open innovation strategies? How can policy help steer the direction of innovation towards growth that protects the environment rather than harms it? These are the types of questions that economists studying energy innovation seek to answer. For this UROP position, students will remotely support ongoing research projects related to the economics of energy innovation. Responsibilities may include but are not limited to compiling and analyzing large datasets, regression analysis, and/or literature reviews. Examples of specific tasks include gathering data on electric vehicle charging stations, investigating subsidies and policies that provide incentives for clean energy investment and firm process innovations, and analyzing renewable energy patent data. Depending on the candidate’s skills, there also may be opportunities for contributing to economic theory development as well. Expected 20 hours/week. If interested, please send your resume, unofficial transcript, and a cover letter (no more than one page) describing your interests and qualifications to jpless@mit.edu with “UROP application” in the subject line.


The ideal candidate will have skills, coursework, or some prior experience in economics, statistics, econometrics, computer science, and/or math. Having some experience working with large datasets in Stata or R is a plus. Having an interest in energy or environmental issues, or innovation for social progress more broadly, will also make the research more enjoyable.