Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Brian Murray


Director, Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability


Brian Murray, Ph.D., is the director of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at Duke University, which accelerates solutions to critical energy and environmental challenges.

Murray is also a research professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

He has led the Nicholas Institute since 2021, when the organization was created by the merger of the Duke University Energy Initiative and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Previously, Murray led the Energy Initiative from 2016-2021 and was the director for economic analysis at the Nicholas Institute from 2006-2017.  In 2015, Murray was a Fulbright Scholar in Environment and Economy at Canada's University of Ottawa.

Murray is widely recognized for his research on the economics of energy policy, particularly as it relates to efforts to mitigate climate change risk. He has written about the design and assessment of economic incentive mechanisms for decarbonizing the economy such as carbon tax, cap-and-trade, directed tax credits, and tradable performance standards, as well as policies affecting the markets for renewable energy and sustainable land use. 

Murray is among the original designers of the allowance price reserve approach for containing prices in carbon markets that was adopted by California and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade programs and served on a National Academy of Science panel to examine the effects of the U.S. federal tax code on energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. He was a convening lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report on greenhouse gas mitigation from land use change. 

Prior to working at Duke, Murray served as director of the Center for Regulatory Economics and Policy Research at RTI International.

Murray earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance at the University of Delaware and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in resource economics and policy at Duke University.