Bob van der Zwaan’s research focuses on sustainable energy technology, particularly in terms of managing environmental challenges such as climate change. A core objective of his academic analyses is to give policy advice to governments and international organisations about how this global challenge should be tackled and ultimately solved. Working at the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), he will be using his professorship to establish new multidisciplinary research projects at the interface of the social and natural sciences. These projects will focus on finding the most economical, safe and clean ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (especially carbon dioxide), specifically by developing and deploying sustainable energy technology at a large global scale.
Teaching also forms an important part of the chair. Van der Zwaan will be lecturing the multidisciplinary Master’s course Energy and Climate Change, which focuses on the links between energy use and climate change, solving environmental problems such as climate change through innovative forms of energy technology, and the necessary links between energy and environmental policy.
Van der Zwaan is senior researcher at ECN and adjunct professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna. He is also a senior scientist at Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute in New York, and has held positions at various universities and research institutions in the US and Europe. Van der Zwaan is co-director of the International Energy Workshop (IEW) and lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has published more than 100 articles on energy technology, climate change and environmental economics in scientific journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Climatic Change and Environmental Science and Technology.