In September 2006, President Susan Hockfield announced the creation of an MIT Energy Initiative to advance the Institute’s energy agenda. In a letter to the MIT community, Hockfield wrote that the initiative will initially serve as a “virtual center” to coördinate and build on interdisciplinary energy research on campus. “We will progressively build focused research programs, coördinated educational offerings, and the necessary campus infrastructure, leading over several years to the establishment of a new interdepartmental laboratory or center that will involve researchers from all five schools.”
The initiative is the administration’s response to the recommendations of the Energy Research Council (see “Energetic Research,” September/October 2006), whose members were drawn from all corners of the Institute. ERC cochairs Ernest Moniz, professor of physics and codirector of the Lab for Energy and the Environment, and Robert Armstrong, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, will serve as director and associate director, respectively. The initiative will report to the associate provost. In the spring, a new council made up of faculty from all five schools will be appointed to help implement the research and educational policies outlined in the ERC report. Two task forces will focus on developing energy curricula and coördinating campus initiatives.