About the Griffin Applied Economics Incubator



The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Incubator aims to elevate the status of the University of Chicago as a hub for generating initiatives that drive broad-based thought and policy changes. Each academic year, the Incubator is dedicated to a specific topic of importance to society that stands to benefit from focused research attention and ideation. Scholars from all disciplines, as well as practitioners and policy makers, participate in the Incubator’s activities, which culminate in an annual conference.


The second Griffin Applied Economics Incubator will focus on the Global Energy Challenge: how to provide sufficient, affordable energy for economic development while avoiding climate change and the damaging impact of pollution on human health. 

Developed and executed in partnership with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Incubator will support research into each aspect of the Global Energy Challenge, producing insights relevant for policymakers around the world. 


The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Incubator offers a unique opportunity to gather global experts in Chicago for a year of focused attention on the Global Energy Challenge. The Incubator will deliver a robust program of activities tackling each of the three components of this critically important issue – Energy Markets, Climate Change, and Pollution.

Because no one field has a monopoly on addressing these thorny issues, the Incubator will pursue an integrated approach, drawing on the combined insights of scientists and economists, lawyers and policy experts, working on a suite of technologies, practices, and policies. It will leverage the expertise of faculty and staff across the University of Chicago for a wholly new body of work, inviting contributions from leading scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. And, using the global resources of the University of Chicago, including the Centers in Beijing and Delhi, it will attract an international cohort of experts for visits, events, and intellectual exchange.

More specifically, the Incubator will support major research conferences related to the Global Energy Challenge and select high quality research for a special issue of the Journal of Political Economy. It will inspire new research endeavors through faculty and researcher visits to Hyde Park and support those endeavors with critical seed funding. And, it will ensure policymakers, practitioners, and the public are empowered to take action by publicizing research through public-facing outlets and publishing a new book of research-driven, actionable energy and environmental policy options.

In short, the Incubator will galvanize work on the Global Energy Challenge both inside and outside the academy, at a time when new ideas are needed more than ever.

Learn more about our planned activities at the links below:

Research Grants




Questions about the The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Incubator? Contact Diana Smith at dianas@uchicago.edu

Executive Committee

John List
Executive Committee Chair; the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College

Michael Greenstone
The Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School; Director, Becker Friedman Institute; Director, Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC)

Robert Shimer
Chair, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and the Alvin H. Baum Professor in Economics and the College

Amanda Woodward
Dean, Division of the Social Sciences and the William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology