Dr. Noël Bakhtian
Dr. Noël Bakhtian (pronunciation) serves as Director of Tech Acceleration at the Bezos Earth Fund, the $10 billion philanthropic commitment to fight climate change and protect and restore nature in this decade while advancing environmental justice and economic opportunity.
She is also a Board Member for QSIDE– the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity – which leverages quantitative methods to reveal and analyze big data in support of grassroots organizations to catalyze systemic change.
Formerly, Dr. Bakhtian held positions in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) national lab system, including most recently serving as founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Lab Energy Storage Center - a lab-wide center accelerating the translation of basic and applied research into real-world energy storage solutions. Previous to that, she served on the Senior Leadership Team at the $1.5B Idaho National Laboratory as director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), where she led a refresh of the mission, vision, and strategy of this research, education, and innovation consortium bringing together INL with the four public research universities of Idaho and Wyoming. She provided Congressional testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development on “Energy Workforce Opportunities and Challenges” in 2018.
Before moving to the national labs, Dr. Bakhtian served as a senior policy adviser for environment and energy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as the inaugural Energy-Water Nexus lead at the DOE Office of International Affairs, worked as technical lead on numerous innovative grant programs for DOE’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office including the Wave Energy Prize, consulted on energy R&D and investment for DARPA, and served as an energy and environment Fellow in the U.S. Senate.
During her PhD, she worked at NASA Ames Research Center (NASA-ARC) in the Advanced Supercomputing Division and introduced a new deceleration technology concept to land human missions on Mars. Dr. Bakhtian earned her engineering doctorate at Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; holds master’s degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge, where she was a Churchill Scholar; and completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Duke University.
Dr. Bakhtian serves as a member of the National Academies Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy and as a member of the founding cohort of the Loomis Innovation Council at the Stimson Center.