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3 Questions: Arpa-E Chief on the Energy Challenge

By MIT News

October 15, 2010

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During a visit to MIT, Arun Majumdar, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), discussed the global energy challenge and the role his agency plays in trying to foster transformational energy research and development.

Majumdar’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in MIT's Bartos Theater served as both a wake-up call (the U.S. spends more on dogfood R&D than it does on electrical-power R&D, he noted) and a source of inspiration (Majumdar discussed some of the very real and exciting energy projects his agency is funding, including several at MIT).

After the event, which was sponsored by the MIT Energy Initiative, Majumdar was asked about a surprising new proposal for federal energy-research spending and whether U.S. federal spending should focus more on creating incentives for the adoption and implementation of existing clean-energy technologies and less on basic research.

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