Accelerating interdisciplinary, collaborative energy and climate research


Accelerating the transition to a low carbon future is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Policy-relevant interdisciplinary research is integral to unlocking energy and climate solutions. However, such research demands effective teamwork and collaboration across different disciplines. Project managers play a pivotal role in this ecosystem, acting as the linchpin between program and project management. They harness organizational resources and tailor them to individual project requirements to amplify their impact.

This project aims to underscore the significance of project management in academic research by investing in program and project management infrastructure at emLab and advancing two specific research projects investigating the equity implications of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Specifically, these projects address critical policy-relevant knowledge gaps to inform an equitable transition to clean energy and the development of equitable climate change adaptation policy. Given the reliance on partner and stakeholder input to shape research design and outputs, adept project management is essential to foster collaboration and engagement.

Essential to this project will be formalizing and expanding the project management infrastructure that underpins emLab's research portfolio. This includes hiring a new energy and climate project manager, developing a mentorship and training program for emLab project managers, and the development and dissemination of open-source guidance, protocols, and tools focused on effective project management. We hope these resources empower other research organizations to strengthen their project management capabilities, thereby enabling them to more effectively amplify their own interdisciplinary research efforts.


This project will accelerate and amplify the impact of energy and climate research through the expansion and improvement of project management support within emLab’s energy and climate research portfolio. The objective is to advance collaborative and applied energy and climate research through three project endeavors that build on emLab’s organizational infrastructure with targeted investments in project management: 1) hire a new specialized energy and climate project manager; 2) develop robust mentorship, training, and tools for emLab project managers; and 3) apply emLab’s project management approach to two collaborative energy and climate justice research projects.

In our first research project, "The unequal burden of climate change in California," we are working on empirically determining how climate change affects various communities across California. Our approach involves estimating the energy burden resulting from climate change by calculating the shifting heating and cooling costs that these communities will face as temperatures rise. We will analyze these estimates to understand why certain demographic, racial, and economic groups experience a disproportionate energy burden due to climate change. Additionally, we aim to identify communities with significant "adaptation gaps" – areas where the health impacts of climate change are expected to be severe, but households lack the financial resources to effectively use indoor cooling for insulation.

In the second project, "Equity implications of decarbonizing the U.S. electricity sector," we are examining the fairness of different strategies for reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. electricity sector. Our analysis involves several key steps, including estimating regional electricity market supply and demand curves using detailed administrative data, approximating pollution concentrations resulting from electricity production across all generating units in the United States, evaluating the equity outcomes of various decarbonization policies through hypothetical scenarios, and developing an open-source policy visualization tool to effectively communicate our findings to policymakers and the public.


This is a collaboration between emLab, Arizona State University, and UC Berkeley, and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.