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Noelle Selin named director of the MIT Technology and Policy Program

Selin will spearhead the master's program for students whose research addresses societal challenges at the intersection of technology and policy.
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Noelle Selin’s interdisciplinary research addresses both the science and policy of air pollution, climate change, and hazardous substances.
Noelle Selin’s interdisciplinary research addresses both the science and policy of air pollution, climate change, and hazardous substances.

Noelle Selin, an associate professor with a joint appointment in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), has been appointed the next director for the Technology and Policy Program (TPP) at MIT.

TPP is a two-year, interdisciplinary master of science program that combines science and engineering with social sciences, to educate students whose research addresses important technological issues confronting society. Over more than 40 years, TPP’s more than 1,200 alumni have gone on to work in industry and government as well as academia.

Selin’s own research links science and policy, particularly on the topic of atmospheric pollutants. Her interdisciplinary research aims to inform decision-making on air pollution, climate change, and hazardous substances. A major focus is on mercury pollution, where she has engaged with policy-makers both domestically and internationally. In addition to her work modeling the transport and fate of pollutants, she has published articles and book chapters on the interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations, in particular focusing on global efforts to regulate hazardous substances.

“Noelle is an excellent educator and teacher, and has substantially contributed to the curriculum in IDSS and TPP,” said IDSS Director Munther Dahleh, a professor in IDSS and MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. While serving as associate director of TPP, Selin managed the admission process and led a curricular development effort that revised the set of course requirements for TPP students. In 2018, she shared the Joseph A. Martore ’75 Award for Exceptional Contributions to Education in IDSS for her contributions to the core TPP course Science, Technology, and Public Policy. She also received TPP’s Faculty Appreciation Award in 2013.

Selin first came to MIT in 2007 as a postdoc at the Center for Global Change Science. She joined the Engineering Systems Division as an assistant professor in 2010 with a joint appointment in EAPS. She joined IDSS as a core faculty member when it was launched in 2015. She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in July 2017.

In the area of policy, Selin had prior appointments as a research associate with the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability at Harvard’s Kennedy School and as a visiting researcher at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. She also previously worked on chemicals issues at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She holds a BA in environmental science and public policy and an MA and PhD in earth and planetary sciences, all from Harvard University.

Selin received the NSF CAREER Award and two best Environmental Policy paper awards from the journal Environmental Science and Technology (2015 and 2016). She is a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, a member of the Global Young Academy (2014-2018), a fellow of the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement (2016-2017), and a Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013).

“I am truly honored to be named as the next Director of TPP,” says Selin. “I see TPP as a hub for education, research, and practice in mobilizing technical expertise to inform policy, within MIT and beyond, and I am excited to help shape its future.”

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