- U.S. Secretary of Energy (2013–2017)
- President and CEO Energy Futures Initiative
- Speaking at: KEYNOTE LUNCH: ENERGY SYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE*
Ernest J. Moniz served as the 13th United States secretary of energy from 2013 to January 2017. As secretary, he
advanced energy technology innovation, nuclear security and strategic stability, cutting-edge capabilities for the American
scientific research community, and environmental stewardship. Dr. Moniz strengthened the Department of Energy (DOE)
strategic partnership with its 17 national laboratories and with the Department of Defense and the broader national
security establishment. He produced analytically based energy policy proposals that attracted bipartisan support and
implementing legislation, led an international initiative that placed energy science and technology innovation at the center
of the global response to climate change, and negotiated alongside the secretary of state the historic Iran nuclear
agreement. Dr. Moniz reorganized a number of DOE program elements, elevated sound project and risk management,
and strengthened enterprise-wide management to improve mission outcomes.
Dr. Moniz served on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty from 1973 until becoming secretary of energy in
2013, and is now the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems emeritus and special advisor to
the MIT president. He has been named co-chairman of the board of directors and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a
non-profit organization that has advanced innovative solutions for securing nuclear materials, building international
cooperation for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, preventing the spread of disease, and reducing radiological
threats. Dr. Moniz is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center and the inaugural distinguished fellow of
the Emerson Collective.
Dr. Moniz previously served in government as DOE undersecretary from 1997 until January 2001 with science, energy,
and nuclear security responsibilities, and from 1995 to 1997 as associate director for science in the Office of Science and
Technology Policy with responsibility for the physical, life, and social sciences. He was a member of the President’s
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and of the Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee from 2009 to
2013. He also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that provided advice to the President
and the secretary of energy, particularly on nuclear waste management.
At MIT, Dr. Moniz was the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and director of the Laboratory for Energy
and the Environment. MITEI grew to involve over a quarter of the faculty across the entire institute, launched new
educational programs for energy, and established novel models for industry-faculty engagement that simultaneously
provided individualized company research portfolios with a commons that lifted the entire energy enterprise.
Dr. Moniz was also head of the MIT Department of Physics during 1991–1995 and 1997 and director of the Bates Linear
Accelerator Center from 1983 to1991. His physics research centered on developing the theoretical framework for
understanding intermediate energy electron and meson interactions with atomic nuclei. Since 2001, his primary research
focus has been energy technology and policy, including a leadership role in MIT multidisciplinary technology and policy
studies addressing pathways to a low-carbon world (The Future of Nuclear Power, of Coal, of Natural Gas, and of the
Nuclear Fuel Cycle). These studies had significant impact on energy policy and programs.
Dr. Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Physics from Boston College, a doctorate in
theoretical physics from Stanford University, and eight honorary doctorates, including three from European universities. He
is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council and received
the 1998 Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation.
Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medals of the Department of Defense and of
the Navy. He also was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) and of the Order of Prince Henry
the Navigator (Portugal). Dr. Moniz received the Charles Percy Award of the Alliance to Save Energy, the Right Stuff
Award of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, and the Richard E. Neustadt Award of the Harvard Kennedy School for
creating exceptional solutions to significant problems in public policy. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and
Dr. Moniz served on the board of directors of both publicly traded and private companies in the energy and security
sectors. He also served on the boards of several non-profit energy industry organizations and as a high-level advisor to
several energy-related companies and investment firms.