Robert C. Marlay

Distinguished Associate

Dr. Robert C. Marlay, Ph.D., P.E., is a leader in energy and related research and innovation. He currently works in the private sector, following a career with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). At DOE, Marlay held leadership positions in energy security, strategy, policy, basic and applied research and development (R&D), and international affairs. He also specialized in “operationalizing” high‐level initiatives on behalf of various presidents and secretaries of energy, the outcomes of which have had lasting effects nationally and internationally.

In his last position at DOE, Marlay was director of the Wind Energy Technologies Office, where he managed an R&D portfolio in land‐based, offshore, and distributed wind and its integration with the electric grid. He previously served as director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation in DOE’s Office of International Affairs, where he worked with about 40 countries. He was the founding director of the U.S.‐China Clean Energy Research Center, a collaborative R&D platform with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. He was also head of delegation to and vice chair of the International Energy Agency’s Committee on Energy Research and Technology.  

Marlay also led DOE programs in both the Office of Science and Office of Policy, and he had three tours with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Apart from wind, he led R&D programs in industry, agriculture, transportation, and state programs. His early research documented the energy implications of the changing structure of U.S. industrial production; it was published in Science and signaled, before it was widely known, the advent of economic “globalization.”  

Marlay was often tapped to be the senior career official to develop and implement high‐level initiatives. He led the development of a 13‐agency national energy strategy, a 10‐agency U.S. climate change technology program, an advisory board task force on strategic energy R&D, and a DOE‐wide initiative to harmonize technology transfer across DOE’s laboratories. He led an international initiative to double government investments in energy R&D, which was known as Mission Innovation; it was launched by 20 heads of state in Paris with a baseline of $15 billion per year.

Marlay is the recipient of the Secretary of Energy’s Distinguished Service Award (2022), DOE’s Distinguished Career Service Award (Gold Medal), and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for Senior Executives. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a distinguished alumnus of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. He is a founding ambassador of DOE’s initiative on Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (co‐sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Texas A&M University), which advances women in the field. He was recognized as “Champion of the Year” by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment.   

Marlay holds a doctorate in nuclear science and engineering, two master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Duke University. He is also a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in the District of Columbia. He began his federal service as an engineering aid (GS‐3), rose among the ranks, and concluded his government career with 30 years in the Senior Executive Service. In a parallel 32‐year career (active and reserve), he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Civil Engineer Corps and retired with the rank of rear admiral.