The Energy & Environment Lab, a shared effort of the University of Chicago Urban Labs and Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), has brought on Olga Rostapshova to serve as its new executive director. Rostapshova holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, and brings 15 years of experience leading teams and managing research projects in a variety of for-profit, NGO, government and academic research settings in the fields of applied microeconomics, development economics, and environmental economics.
Her appointment comes at a time when the Energy & Environment Lab is rapidly expanding its portfolio of comprehensive research projects and government partnerships. The Lab brought on the former head of the EPA’s enforcement and compliance office, Cynthia Giles, last year. Giles, executive fellow and director of strategic initiatives at the Lab, is working to connect evidence-based environmental policy research with practitioners in government.
“We look forward to adding Olga’s leadership to the Lab’s already strong foundation to expand its impact and reach,” says Michael Greenstone, the director of the Energy & Environment Lab and EPIC as well as the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School. “Olga is uniquely talented at both carrying out and leading complex, cross-institutional research projects while at the same time building vital partnerships and effectively managing funding and teams. Put simply, she is a star and I’m very excited that we will be working together.”
Rostapshova comes to the University of Chicago from Social Impact, a global development management consulting firm, where she has been serving as Technical Director. She also serves as executive director of the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics at Harvard University, and advises the CRI Foundation and the non-profit Precision Agriculture for Development.
“The Energy & Environment Lab’s mission of combining cutting-edge economic research with civic and community partnerships to evaluate and help scale up real policies is truly a trailblazing approach to both research and governing,” says Rostapshova. “I’m excited to be part of an effort that is already moving the needle forward toward more efficient energy and environment policies, and hope to multiply its impact in the years ahead.”
Rostapshova has served as co-principal investigator and research manager on projects with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the World Bank, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation and Ernst&Young’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group. She completed her undergraduate work at Swarthmore College and holds a B.S. in Engineering and B.A. in Economics, with Environmental Studies and Public Policy concentrations.
She replaces Emma Berndt, who served as the inaugural executive director of the Lab. Rostapshova begins in June.