Matthew Lackner, a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and associate director of the UMass Wind Energy Center, is the principal investigator for a new program at UMass Amherst that was awarded two grants totaling $6.3 million from the National Science Foundation to ensure that transformation of the electric grid is sustainable and benefits all members of society equitably. See additional coverage from Channel 22 WWLP and in Renewable Energy World.
The vision of the grants represents an aspect of energy transition not often considered in policymaking or public discourse.
“This award provides a really exciting opportunity for UMass faculty and graduate students from across the campus to jointly solve critical energy transition challenges,” said Lackner. “We will create technological and policy solutions to reimagine the electricity sector in a way that is both equitable in its impacts on society and resilient to uncertainty in future climate trends and energy demands.”
The award takes the form of two five-year grants from the NSF Research Traineeship and Growing Convergence Research programs. The grants will support the training of master’s and doctoral students across 10 UMass departments in the College of Engineering, College of Social and Behavioral Science, College of Natural Science, and College of Information and Computer Sciences. Overall, more than 100 graduate students are expected to participate in the program. The students will conduct research at the intersection of electricity technology, energy economics and policy, climate science, and social equity.
Lackner’s research interests are the aerodynamics and structural control of floating offshore wind turbines.
As associate director of the University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center, Lackner helps to lead the nation's preeminent wind energy program. For over 40 years, the center has been conducting research, education, and training in wind energy. The center has graduated hundreds of alumni who work in wind energy and have helped to create the U.S. wind energy industry.
Lackner earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UMass Amherst, his M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his B.S.E. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. (September 2020)