News Release: NREL Elevates Two to Prestigious Senior Research Fellow Roles

July 19, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) elevated two principal scientists to the position of senior research fellow: Joseph Berry and Ingrid Repins.

Of the nearly 3,000 people who work at NREL, only 14 are current senior research fellows. Along with the current research fellows, Berry and Repins will advise NREL executive management on the strategic direction of science and technology research and ensure NREL’s work continues to meet the highest standards for quality and objectivity.

“A few researchers who do an exceptional job of advancing our mission are chosen as NREL fellows each year,” said NREL Director Martin Keller. “We have so many incredibly talented scientists here that this decision is never an easy one.”

A group of exceptional scientists and engineers are nominated by the leadership of each directorate for consideration to become a senior research fellow, the highest technical position at NREL.

“The NREL leadership and colleagues are highly enthusiastic about the strong recommendation of the selection committee to appoint Ingrid and Joe as senior research fellows, both of whom are globally recognized for their technical contributions,” said NREL Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology Peter Green.

Berry has worked as a scientist at NREL on oxide semiconductor systems with a focus on both basic materials physics and device applications of these materials since he was hired in 2006. Understanding semiconductor structure and its relationship to optoelectronic properties at heterointerfaces has been an ongoing theme of his work throughout his scientific career.

Berry was nominated to senior research fellow for his record of technical achievement, innovation, publication, international reputation, laboratory community service, dedication to diversity and inclusion, and impact on solar energy research and deployment. He also has played an integral role in NREL becoming an internationally recognized laboratory for perovskite research and helped form a consortium of companies that collaborate with NREL to commercialize perovskite technology. Hybrid perovskites are a new form of semiconductors that have demonstrated rapid advances and shown great potential for a new, lower cost solar cell material.

In addition to his position at NREL, Berry is an affiliate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute and a lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also the director of the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites (US-MAP) Consortium and a member of the board of reviewing editors for Science magazine.

“You try to do important and impactful science, but it’s not always easy to know if you really are doing a good job at it,” Berry said. “Having your peers indicate that you are having some measure of success is gratifying but also makes you want to continue to meet or exceed their expectations.”

Repins, who joined NREL in 2007, was nominated to senior research fellow for her seminal scientific contributions, international leadership, community engagement, and mentorship in solar energy research and development. She is among a small group of scientists who are internationally renowned for their work in the areas of both thin-film photovoltaics (PV) and PV reliability and degradation science. Repins has worked for more than 20 years in state-of-the-art device and module characterization, process research, and manufacture. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions through research, innovation, and collaboration to critical aspects of photovoltaic science and technology.

To her NREL colleagues, Repins is known for recognizing reliability and degradation science as the next big obstacle for large-scale PV deployment. She has helped NREL PV researchers incorporate reliability and module work into their efforts to advance the technology. 

“I am really excited to contribute to NREL’s mission in this new role,” Repins said. “I think NREL is an amazing place in so many ways—a skilled and dedicated staff, state-of-the-art scientific facilities, and high-impact research results. I hope I can bring some perspective that will help people both target their efforts on the next big thing and love their jobs.”

Repins and Berry are both members of the Materials Science Center at NREL. Nancy Haegel, center director for Materials Science, commented: “We are thrilled to have Joe and Ingrid recognized in this way and look forward to their contributions as senior research fellows. They are exceptional scientists and leaders, with complementary expertise and the ability to inspire their colleagues and advance the NREL mission.”

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.