The Molly K. Macauley Award for Research Innovation and Advanced Analytics for Policy


Since 1952, Resources for the Future (RFF) has been a leader in economic analysis and policy innovation for managing environmental and natural resources. Molly Macauley, former RFF Vice President for Research, was a pioneer in her field—helping decisionmakers understand the economics of space. RFF created the Molly K. Macauley Award for Research Innovation and Advanced Analytics for Policy in her honor, seeking applicants for research to leverage the power of Earth observations data; other sources of new, complex, and large datasets; and advanced analytical methods to analyze such data.

Research Themes, Deliverables, and Outcomes

RFF sought proposals for new research that will support and enhance the activities of the Consortium for the Valuation of Applications Benefits Linked to Earth Science (VALUABLES), a new consortium at RFF made possible through a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). VALUABLES is focused on advancing innovative uses of existing methods and developing new techniques for valuing the information provided by Earth observations, especially those derived from satellites and aircraft.

2018-2019 Molly K. Macauley Award Winner

In July 2018, Resources for the Future announced that Yale University’s Eli P. Fenichel and Karen C. Seto would receive the $100,000 Molly K. Macauley Award for Research Innovation and Advanced Analytics for Policy for valuing Earth observations. 

The award winners will work with the VALUABLES Consortium, a cooperative agreement between RFF and NASA to quantify and communicate the socioeconomic benefits of Earth observations. 

Fenichel, the project’s principal investigator, and Seto, the co-principal investigator, will estimate the value of satellite data products to measure and map montane urbanization in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. As this region is prone to earthquakes, flooding, and landslides, Fenichel and Seto will assess the value of using remote sensing products for allocating resources during disaster relief. Building on NASA-funded work, they will also map urbanization in mountainous areas in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and train stakeholders to use the project’s outputs.

Read more about the winning project here.

American Astronautical Society Molly K. Macauley Award

The American Astronautical Society (AAS) has created a new award to honor Molly Macauley's research and leadership in space policy and economics. The award is directed specifically to university undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in helping to achieve similar goals in their future. In cooperation with NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), AAS issued a call for applications by university students for the AAS Molly K. Macauley Award. 

Read more about the award here.