Richard Lester is Japan Steel Industry Professor and Head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is also the faculty co-chair and founding Director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center. His research focuses on innovation management and policy, with an emphasis on the energy and manufacturing sectors. He is currently leading the Energy Innovation Project, a major MIT study of strategies for upgrading the U.S. energy innovation system.
Professor Lester's book on the sources of creativity and innovation in advanced economies, Innovation – The Missing Dimension, jointly authored with Michael J. Piore, was published by Harvard University Press in 2005. Other recent books include Making Technology Work: Applications in Energy and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2004), with John M. Deutch; and Global Taiwan (M.E. Sharpe, 2005), co-edited with Suzanne Berger. Professor Lester is also the author of The Productive Edge: A New Strategy for Economic Growth (W.W. Norton, 2000); Made By Hong Kong (Oxford University Press, 1997) with Suzanne Berger; and Made in America (MIT Press, 1989) with Michael Dertouzos and Robert Solow. (With over 300,000 copies in print in eight languages, Made in America is the best-selling title in the history of MIT Press.)
Professor Lester obtained his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Imperial College (London) and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from MIT, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1979. He serves as an advisor or consultant to corporations, governments, foundations and non-profit groups, and lectures frequently to academic, business and general audiences throughout the world.