Former ARPA-E director Eric Rohlfing joins Duke University as executive in residence

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Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 - 12:24 pm
Headshot of Eric Rohlfing
Dr. Eric Rohlfing has been appointed as an executive in residence at Duke University.

The Duke University Energy Initiative has appointed Dr. Eric Rohlfing as an executive in residence.

Rohlfing will join Duke this fall after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where he has most recently served as senior technical advisor for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. During his tenure at DOE, Rohlfing also served as acting director for ARPA-E, its deputy director for technology, and the director of the chemical sciences, geosciences, and biosciences division of DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Science.

As an Energy Initiative executive in residence, Rohlfing will help advise efforts by university leadership and faculty to develop and execute a strategy for advancing the energy sciences at Duke. Drawing on his experience at ARPA-E, he will advise university leaders on cultivating technological innovation and entrepreneurship. He is also looking forward to sharing insights with and mentoring energy students.

Rohlfing connected with a couple dozen energy students and several faculty members during the Energy Initiative’s 36 Hours in Energy event last fall.  “I was completely floored by the excitement and passion of the Duke students and faculty about addressing the nation’s and the world’s energy and climate challenges," said Rohlfing. "I can’t wait to join the Energy Initiative and advance its critically important mission.”

“We are thrilled that Eric has agreed to share his considerable expertise with the energy and entrepreneurship communities here at Duke,” noted Energy Initiative director Brian Murray, also a faculty member at the Nicholas School of the Environment. “Duke seeks to attract and empower the brightest and boldest thinkers to drive innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including the pursuit of accessible, affordable, reliable and clean energy. I am confident that Eric’s experience and insights will help advance the university’s efforts in this area.”  

Prior to joining DOE in Washington, Rohlfing was a principal member of the technical staff at its Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia (‘77) and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University (‘82).

Rohlfing is relocating from the Washington, D.C. area to Durham this fall with his wife (and Duke alumna) Dr. Celeste Rohlfing (T’79), the former chief operating officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Rohlfings are the parents of two Duke alumnae: Meg (T’09) and Anne (T’12, M’16).