Carnegie Mellon University
August 24, 2023

Samaras Named Next Director, Karplus Named Associate Director, of Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

Costa Samaras has been named the next Director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Samaras, who is a Ph.D. alumnus of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy, began his faculty career at CMU in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and became Professor in 2022. His research interests span a wide range of topics in energy systems, from the technical and policy issues of decarbonization to energy and infrastructure innovation strategies.

“Costa brings the right blend of policy and technical expertise and a very strong ability to communicate in ways that result in real impact,” says Bill Sanders, Dean of CMU’s College of Engineering. “His ability to bring people together to work on and solve big problems is unmatched, ensuring his ability to lead the Scott Institute to play a crucial role in our world’s necessary energy transition.”

Additionally, Valerie Karplus has been named as the Associate Director of the Scott Institute, effective September 1. Karplus, a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and a Scott Institute Energy Fellow, will continue her work in decarbonization and will also act as a partner and strategic advisor to drive the Institute forward. Karplus joined the faculty in 2020 and has established herself as a critical regional and national thought leader in decarbonization. 

Samaras and Karplus will work closely with Executive Director Daniel Tkacik and co-Director Andy Gellman to fulfill the Institute’s mission of encouraging the development of technologies and policies that accelerate the transition to a sustainable, net-zero emissions future. 

Samaras will remain on public service leave this fall at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where he has been serving since his appointment in 2021 and been promoted to Principal Assistant Director and Chief Advisor for the Clean Energy Transition. As a senior leader in OSTP, Samaras has been formulating policy initiatives that align U.S. energy innovation systems to address the scale of the climate challenge.

Until Samaras’ return to CMU, Karplus will be the acting director of the Scott Institute, succeeding Granger Morgan and Jared Cohon, professors of Engineering and Public Policy, who were interim co-directors. Cohon previously was the Institute’s director from 2012-2014, and Morgan was its director from 2014-2016.