Bhavya Lal Associate Administrator, Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy NASA
AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum 2021
As the Associate Administrator for Technology, Policy and Strategy within the Office of the NASA Administrator, Bhavya Lal is responsible for providing evidence-driven advice to NASA leadership on internal and external policy issues, strategic planning, and technology investments. She also provides executive leadership and direction to the newly created Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy within the Office of the Administrator at NASA. Dr. Lal is also the Acting Chief Technologist of NASA, the first woman to hold the position in NASA’s 60+ year history.
Prior to her current role and in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration, she was the Acting Chief of Staff at NASA, and directed the agency’s transition under the administration of President Biden. Before arriving at NASA, she had served as a member of the Presidential Transition Agency Review Teams for both NASA and the Department of Defense. For 15 years prior to that, Dr. Lal led strategy, technology assessment, and policy studies and analyses at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) for government sponsors including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Space Council, NASA, Department of Defense, and other Federal Departments and Agencies. Before coming to IDA, she was the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research and consulting firm based in Cambridge MA. Dr. Lal’s analyses have been at the center of almost all space-relevant polices for the last decade. For her many contributions to the space community, she was nominated and selected to be a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics.
Dr. Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science (NAS) ad hoc committees. She served two consecutive terms on the NOAA Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES), was an External Council Member of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, and selected to join the NASA Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee (NAC/TIE). She co-founded and was co-chair of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society’s annual conference on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies in Space (NETS), and co-organized a seminar series on space history and policy with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Dr. Lal holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a second master’s from MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from George Washington University. She is a member of both the nuclear engineering and public policy and public administration honor societies and has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.