Energy Initiative Welcomes 2016-17 Doctoral Fellows


The Duke University Energy Initiative welcomes its first cohort of doctoral fellows: T. Robert Fetter, Justin Kirkpatrick, Yating Li, Brian Prest, Andrew L. Steck and Faraz Usmani.

Steck is a PhD student in Economics; the other five doctoral fellows are in the University Program in Environmental Policy, administered by the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

The six Ph.D. candidates have dedicated work spaces in the Energy Initiative offices and regularly convene around global energy research topics. This year’s cohort, selected with an emphasis on energy economics and policy, is led by Energy Initiative Faculty Fellow and Sanford Professor Steve Sexton, with support from faculty from multiple schools across campus.

At biweekly lunch meetings, the doctoral fellows discuss their research with Duke faculty and EI staff. These gatherings have drawn energy researchers across campus, whose expert advice can then inform work in progress. Meeting up also serves to bring forward new opportunities for research including grants and sponsored research. And, since the fellows are based in the Energy Initiative office in Gross Hall, it’s easy for them to consult less formally with one another, faculty fellows and staff.

“Having the fellows in the office with us is inspirational. Walking through here, you witness countless informal exchanges that are helping them frame new approaches to some of the world’s most pressing energy problems.” —Brian Murray, Interim Director of the Energy Initiative and Director of Economic Analysis at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

“The Fellows Program provides a nurturing environment that lets us advance our own work in the context of ongoing conversation with other fellows and with faculty from across campus,” notes fellow Yating Li.

Fellow Faraz Usmani notes, “Perhaps the best thing about the Doctoral Student Fellows program is the ability to easily gain new insights from peers who also share a deep interest in energy policy, but have grappled with energy-related questions in vastly different settings or using different methodological tools.”

He adds, “The richness of the interdisciplinary energy faculty network at Duke has enhanced the set of questions I feel confident pursuing in my research—if I need guidance in an arena unfamiliar to me, I know there’s an expert I can reach out to at the Energy Initiative.”

Learn more and meet the 2016-2017 Doctoral Fellows on the Energy Initiative’s website.