Frank Laird

Frank N. Laird

Associate Professor

What I do

As a faculty member I teach the fields of policy making, energy policy, and environmental policy, especially climate policy. My research and publishing focus on energy policy, the linkage between energy policy and climate change, and the role of science in making public policy.

Professional Biography

I have an interdisciplinary background, with a BA in physics from Middlebury College, a Ph.D. in political science from MIT, and post-doctoral work in environmental policy at Harvard University. I have collaborated with interdisciplinary groups of scholars and practitioners on research and outreach in my various research fields.
I have been on the faculty at DU since September 1987.


  • Ph.D., Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • BA, Physics, Middlebury College, 1975

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Political Science Association
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science


Most of my research has focused on energy policy, especially in relation to renewable energy, resulting in a book and numerous articles in academic and professional policy journals. I have collaborated with colleagues on a project comparing US and other countries with regard to their policies for renewable energy policy and an energy transition more generally. In addition to energy policy, I have also published in the areas of climate change policy, environmental policy, democratic theory and science and technology policy, and the role of institutions science and technology policy. My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

Key Projects

  • Comparing Renewable Energy Policies: Technical Knowledge and Institutional Structures
  • Institutional Learning and Technological Knowledge

Featured Publications


  • An Unguided Transition? U.S. Energy Policy Since WW II
  • System-level Barriers to an Energy Transition
  • System-level Barriers to an Energy Transition
  • Differing approaches to renewables: the United States and Western Europe