The Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) group was founded in 2008 to encourage the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas on energy and climate change. PECS aims to provide a platform for Ph.D. students working on any aspect of energy and climate research to interact, collaborate, gain first hand understanding of research areas outside of their own discipline, and ultimately broaden their horizons both as scholars and as citizens.

The group is student-led, though a core group of faculty provides supervision and sponsorship.


Group Activities and Responsibilities

The PECS members meet over dinner once a month for student-led talks. At each meeting, group members briefly present their research followed by open discussion. PECS members also convene for dinner with faculty speakers. This brings together PECS members and invited guests from within or outside of the university community.

During the year, members of the PECS engage in a collaborative project where each student has an opportunity to contribute their own expertise and insight. There is a budget available for this project, and this may take the form of a video, paper or online commentary addressing an energy/climate topic of interest. It may also involve organizing a climate/energy workshop on campus, or an outreach event within the greater Princeton community.


Year PECS Group Project
2019 Five PECS members co-author article about water security implications of Chinese-financed, coal-fired power plants in Pakistan (PDF)
2018-2019 PECS published a practical guide for administrators, managers and decision-makers on the interactions between carbon accounting, institutional goal setting and energy procurement. (PDF)
2018 PECS produced a film about the use of forest biomass for bioenergy production.
2017 PECS and the Princeton Day School hosted the Student Climate Change Conference for 18 local high schools.
2014-2016 PECS published a thorough assessment of nuclear fusion examining the topic from a range of scientific, engineering, and policy perspectives.
2013 PECS students traveled to India to participate in energy seminars at universities in Pune and Satara giving presentations about their research and exchanging information about sustainable practices on college campuses.
2012 Eight Student PECS Members Report on the International Climate Negotiations of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development
2010 PECS Blog Postings on Princeton-China Energy Forum, Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen and the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
2009 Energy and Climate Research: Reflections from the 2008-2009 Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PDF)


Members are expected to attend all the scheduled faculty and student dinners, the spring reception and a fall working retreat, as well as actively participate in a group project. Dinners are held approximately two evenings per month throughout the semester. A spring reception will be held in May and a fall working retreat in early September.


Group Coordination

The PECS coordination tasks are shared by several student-led committees:

  • PECS student chair
  • Faculty Dinner coordinator (joint between Year 1 and Year 2 members)
  • Student Dinner coordinator (joint between Year 1 and Year 2 members)
  • Historian
  • Project Coordinator

All positions are selected by the end of the spring term in order to prepare for the next academic year.