is Japan Steel Industry Professor and Head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is also the faculty chair and founding director of the Industrial Performance Center
. His research focuses on local, national, and international systems of innovation, with an emphasis on the energy and manufacturing sectors. He is also active in research and teaching on nuclear technology management, innovation, and control.
As head of NSE, Professor Lester works with his faculty colleagues to advance the Department’s role at the forefront of education and research on energy and non-energy applications of nuclear science and technology. Nuclear engineering is inextricably bound up with great issues — energy, international security, climate change, and the environment — and NSE has recently put in place a new strategy that will advance its groundbreaking work in nuclear science and the engineering of nuclear systems, while also explicitly tying the department’s education and research to the interactions of nuclear technology with society.
As director of the Industrial Performance Center (IPC), Dr. Lester has led several major studies of national and regional competitiveness and innovation performance commissioned by governments and industrial groups around the world. Most recently, he directed the Energy Innovation Project, an IPC study of strategies for upgrading the U.S. energy innovation system. Previously, in the IPC’s Local Innovation Systems Project, he directed an international network of researchers studying the technological transformation of industries in regional economies and the role of universities in that process.