NREL Computational Science Center Welcomes Leading Princeton Researcher Dr. Michael Mueller

Newly Established Joint Appointment Opens the Door to Research Collaboration and Opportunity to Work with Princeton Students

Oct. 12, 2020 | Contact media relations

Professional headshot of Dr. Mueller in a suit and tie
Dr. Michael Mueller

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Princeton University recently formalized the first joint appointment under a new master agreement between the two institutions. Under the joint appointment, NREL's experts in computational science and combustion simulation will work closely with another leading combustion scientist, Dr. Michael Mueller from Princeton's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, to enhance research collaboration, while offering unique educational opportunities to Princeton students.

Essential to NREL's mission, joint appointments promote research and education in scientific, analytic, and technical fields between the laboratory and universities across the country—and they play an instrumental role in the recruitment and retention of top science and engineering talent. They also give faculty access to world-class expertise beyond their research area, in this case applied mathematicians, computer scientists, and engineers who can bridge from academia to deployment.

Dr. Mueller is a distinguished associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton and is also the director of Princeton's Computational Science and Engineering Graduate Certificate program. He brings to NREL years of deep experience and research excellence in both combustion and computational science more broadly, including new approaches to uncertainty quantification; innovation in numerical algorithms and their implementation on emerging parallel computing architectures; and novel techniques from data science applied to developing models and accelerating computational simulations. Dr. Mueller received his doctoral degree and master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and his bachelor's degree, also in mechanical engineering, from The University of Texas at Austin. Of particular interest to NREL is the work that Dr. Mueller and his Princeton team are doing in the way of codes, models, and algorithms built with supercomputing technology and artificial intelligence to underpin a transformative effort for combustion.

"We are excited to welcome a well-regarded combustion scientist to our NREL team, whose talents will be critical in moving combustion research forward," said Dr. Ray Grout, director of NREL's Computational Science Center. "This joint appointment also exemplifies our strong relationship with Princeton and will serve as a pipeline of talent for NREL and career opportunities for Princeton"

"Formalizing a partnership with NREL is a fantastic way to strengthen the existing research collaborations between our scientific communities," said Z. Jason Ren, acting director and associate director for research at Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "At the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, we see vast opportunity for sharing expertise and deepening cooperation to advance renewable energy research and train the next generation of scholars."

While this is the laboratory's first joint appointment with Princeton under the new master agreement, NREL has 49 joint appointments across eight universities, including Auburn University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Metro State University, Oregon State University, University of Arizona, and University of Colorado–Boulder, with more in the pipeline.

Learn more about how NREL is partnering with universities across the country, and learn more about NREL's computational science research.