Research

Risk and Uncertainty in Research Investments
Working paper

References: Pierre Azoulay, Scott Stern

Unproven energy technologies need significant investment in order to move through the development phase, but they are perceived as too risky to attract investors. Publicly funded programs try to relieve this burden, though they too are burdened with the uncertainty inherent to research and development.

Which strategies allow government agencies to invest effectively in research? With Michael Kearney at MIT Sloan, I’ve studied empirically the strategies of one agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). By examining the data on project selection and management at ARPA-E, we gain a better understanding of how active program management can be used to tailor an agency’s exposure to risk and uncertainty.

This project originated from a consulting engagement with the National Academies for their evaluation of ARPA-E. The committee’s report will be released in late 2016.

Synergy Between Discovery and Invention

References: Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Laura Diaz Anadon

The organizational structure of the U.S. Department of Energy is divided along lines of “basic” and “applied” research, with the possible recent exception of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy  (ARPA-E). With Venky Narayanamurti at Harvard Kennedy School, I have paired a quantitative assessment of the publication and patenting from ARPA-E awards with a qualitative case study approach to explain how the agency contributes to both fundamental and practical knowledge production. Our findings echo the calls of many to shed the basic/applied nomenclature in favor of a more systemic view of innovation.

This project originated from a consulting engagement with the National Academies for their evaluation of ARPA-E. The committee’s report will be released in late 2016.

Synthesis of Nanostructured Graphene and BN Aerogels
T. Pham*; A. P. Goldstein*; J. Lewicki; S. O. Kucheyev; C. Wang; T. P. Russell; M. A. Worsley; L. Woo; W. Mickelson; A. Zettl, “Nanoscale Structure and Superhydrophobicity of sp2-Bonded Boron Nitride Aerogels,” Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 10449.

A. P. Goldstein; W. Mickelson; A. Machness; G. Lee; M. A. Worsley; L. Woo; A. Zettl, “Simultaneous Sheet Cross-Linking and Deoxygenation in the Graphene Oxide Sol-Gel Transition,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 2014, 118, 28855.

M. Rousseas; A. P. Goldstein; W. Mickelson; M. A. Worsley; L. Woo; A. Zettl, “Synthesis of Highly Crystalline sp2-Bonded Boron Nitride Aerogels,” ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 8540.

Crystal Structure of Metal Oxide Nanowires for Water Splitting
A. P. Goldstein; S. C. Andrews; R. F. Berger; J. B. Neaton; P. Yang, “Zigzag Inversion Domain Boundaries in Indium Zinc Oxide-Based Nanowires: Structure and Formation,” ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 10747.
Photophysical Properties of Chromophores for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
T. E. Knight; A. P. Goldstein; M. K. Brennaman; T. Cardolaccia; A. Pandya; J. M. DeSimone; T. J. Meyer, “Influence of the Fluid-to-Film Transition on Photophysical Properties of MLCT Excited States in a Polymerizable Dimethacrylate Fluid,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 2011, 115, 64.

P. G. Hoertz; A. P. Goldstein; C. Donley; T. J. Meyer, “Using the Voids. Evidence for an Antenna Effect in Dye-Sensitized Mesoporous TiO2 Thin Films,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 2010, 114, 14772.