Humphrey School's Gabe Chan Awarded McKnight Professorship to Support Research in Energy Policy

University of Minnesota award recognizes promising junior faculty
January 25, 2019
Portrait of Gabe Chan
Assistant Professor Gabe Chan works in the Humphrey School's science, technology, and environmental policy area. Photo: Bruce Silcox

Humphrey School Assistant Professor Gabe Chan is being recognized as one of the University of Minnesota’s most exceptional junior faculty members as a recipient of a 2019 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. Chan will receive a $50,000 grant over the next two years to support his research, which focuses on clean energy and climate change.

“This is a huge honor, and I’m excited to have this recognition for my research,” says Chan, who joined the Humphrey School’s science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP) area in 2015, after earning his PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University. He earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and earth, atmospheric, and planetary science from MIT.

Chan’s selection “reflects the importance and the quality of the work he is doing, work that is truly interdisciplinary and engaged,” says Professor Ed Goetz, who nominated Chan for the award. “He is exactly the kind of creative and productive young scholar that the University of Minnesota ought to be recognizing with the McKnight Professorship."

Chan says he will likely use the grant money to support the work of his research group, the Chan Lab, which is examining how to change global energy and climate policies to be more equitable—from promoting community solar gardens to researching sustainable energy systems in hurricane-prone areas.

Chan makes a point of collaborating with external partners such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, public-sector agencies, and the like.  

“Working with collaborators that are not academics makes the research more relevant and tangible,” Chan says. “And the Humphrey School is a strong supporter of this kind of engaged research.”  

“We are so fortunate to have Gabe at the Humphrey School,” says Dean Laura Bloomberg. "One can just as easily find him leading energy policy research with community partners in Puerto Rico as in places across Minnesota. He has clearly demonstrated tremendous capacity to blend community partnership with exceptional scholarship.”

Chan is one of 10 University faculty members to receive the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship this year. 

Other Humphrey School recipients of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship include Professors Yingling Fan in 2012 and Elizabeth Wilson in 2008. Wilson is now the director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth University.