Despite its name the investment industry doesn’t do much investment; it mainly shuffles ownership rights, even in private equity. The climate challenge requires new investment on a staggering scale: new generating capacity, the electrification of everything, emissions-free fuel, carbon capture and sequestration, new supply chains and infrastructure, plus the building of negative emissions technologies. This session looked at the opportunities for new investment, the risk/return trade-off and how investors should approach the opportunities.
Dr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the departments of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering (by courtesy) and senior fellow and former director of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He is also a faculty in department of photon science at SLAC.
In October 2009, Dr. Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the senate to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), where he served till June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence and innovation for the government with bipartisan support from congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy. In 2010, he served on Secretary Chu’s science team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.
After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Dr. Majumdar was the vice president for energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid.
Dr. Majumdar is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions.
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He also spent the early part of his academic career at Arizona State University and University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Majumdar served as the vice chair of the advisory board of US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a science envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He also serves on numerous advisory boards and boards of businesses, investment groups and non-profit organizations
Dr. Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.
White is responsible for the content across all Conexus Financial’s institutional media and events. She is responsible for directing the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium which challenges global investors on investment best practice and aims to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable retirement incomes. She is the editor of www.top1000funds.com, the online news and analysis site for the world’s largest institutional investors. White has been an investment journalist for more than 20 years and has edited industry journals including Investment & Technology, Investor Weekly and MasterFunds Quarterly. She was previously editorial director of InvestorInfo and has worked as a freelance journalist for the Australian Financial Review, CFO, Asset and Asia Asset Management. She has a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney. She was previously a columnist for the Canadian publication, Corporate Knights, which is distributed by the Globe and Mail and The Washington Post. White is currently a fellow in the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. The two-year program consists of 22 fellows and seeks to develop the next generation of responsible, community-spirited leaders in the global finance industry.