Press Release

RFF Names New Research Leadership for 2012

Jan 27, 2012

WASHINGTON—Resources for the Future (RFF) announced a new cohort of research leaders as it enters its 60th year in 2012. Senior Fellows Karen Palmer and Margaret Walls will serve as research directors, and Fellow Juha Siikamäki will serve as associate research director. Senior Fellow Roberton Williams will continue in his role as director of academic programs.

“Stepping up to serve RFF in these capacities—and doing the job well—requires selfless dedication. All four are accomplished scholars and intellectual leaders. They have remained highly productive throughout their careers, and are now willing to turn these talents to serve RFF across the institution,” said RFF Vice President for Research Molly Macauley.

The research directors serve as internal advocates for the research staff, providing immediate points of contact for day-to-day issues. They also participate in hiring, performance reviews, mentoring, and project management.

Palmer has been a researcher at RFF for more than 20 years and was the first recipient of the Darius Gaskins Chair. She specializes in the economics of environmental and public utility regulation, particularly on issues at the intersection of air quality regulation and the electricity sector. In 2010, Walls became the first appointee to the Thomas J. Klutznick Chair at RFF. Her research focuses on issues related to urban land use, open space, and transportation.

As associate research director, Siikamäki will provide leadership for the RFF research assistants and help manage IT from a research perspective. His work focuses on evaluating the benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of different environmental policy options, especially in the context of biological conservation. Williams will continue to manage RFF’s academic awards, university fellows, and First Wednesday Seminar series. He studies both environmental policy and tax policy, and his current research at RFF focuses on the use of a carbon tax to reduce the federal budget deficit.

In 2011, RFF’s research leadership included Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick, former research director who stepped down from that role to focus on directing RFF’s Center for Energy Economics and Policy, and Senior Fellow Winston Harrington, who served as associate research director and retired from RFF at the end of 2011.

More information about RFF’s researchers can be found at

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Founded in 1952, Resources for the Future is an independent and nonpartisan institution.