About the Program

“Our first 50 BDPs proved the power of extraordinary faculty working across disciplines to address urgent and complex questions,” Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins University President

The Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships Program is building a cadre of world-class faculty members whose excellence in research, teaching, and service is centered on interdisciplinary scholarship. The Bloomberg Distinguished Professors (BDPs) intellectually bridge the university’s schools and divisions, conduct and stimulate innovative research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, and train a new generation of collaborative scholars. Together, they advance the university’s commitment to new directions in scholarship and strengthen Johns Hopkins’ leadership in research fields of international interest.

“The Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships were established in 2013 with a gift from Michael Bloomberg to cultivate the interdisciplinary research ethos that allows us to tackle our biggest questions and meet our greatest societal challenges,” said Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) President. “Our first 50 BDPs proved the power of extraordinary faculty working across disciplines to address urgent and complex questions.”

The Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute (ROSEI) currently has two BDP faculty among its list of affiliated researchers.

What are BDP clusters?

BDP Clusters represent an evolution in the highly successful Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program. Announced in 2021, this next phase will double the total number of BDPs to 100, launch research clusters, and fund new core facilities. With this second gift, the BDP program is the largest of its kind in the nation.

These faculty-developed interdisciplinary clusters will recruit new BDPs and junior faculty members to Johns Hopkins to conduct transformational research in crucial fields. BDP clusters offer unparalleled levels of support, including access to equipment and core research facilities. Post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, and support staff will also be recruited within each cluster to ensure the cluster’s success.

“We are so excited for what the future holds for this program as we build upon this foundation and recruit the next cohort of Bloomberg Distinguished Professors and develop these clusters,” Daniels said. “Our BDP’s will have access to our world-class facilities, including the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), an unparalleled powerhouse on scientific engineering research and 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, a state-of-the-art facility in Washington DC inside of the U.S. Capitol building that will bring together faculty and students to engage more directly with the public and policymakers.”

The development of BDP clusters is a grassroots process reflective of the leadership and vision of the Johns Hopkins faculty. During the initial phase of BDP cluster selection, faculty members from across the university, including many current BDPs, joined together to develop multi-disciplinary research cluster proposals aimed at keeping Johns Hopkins at the forefront of addressing the world’s greatest challenges. Following the submission of dozens of cluster proposals, teams of distinguished external faculty evaluated the proposals and submitted recommendations to deans, directors, the provost, and the president for final selection.

How is ROSEI involved with the BDP program?

BDP faculty recruited through the Sustainable Transformations and Energy will have lead roles with ROSEI. The cluster aims to unite scientists, engineers, and market and policy experts with interests aligned toward solving critical technological and societal problems arising from the use of unsustainable chemicals and materials, fossil fuels, and other anthropogenic, environmentally harmful substances.

“With this cluster, we bring in four world leaders plus people to work with them. The change that we can make as a group now really becomes something special,” Ben Schafer, Director of ROSEI.

Cluster scholar backgrounds may include:

  • Sustainable Transformations: Foundational Chemistry and Materials: Chemistry for earth abundant catalysis, synthesis, capture and upcycle carbon, sustainable and stable storage
  • Sustainable Energy: Engineering and Scale-up: Geo-scale solar and wind, solar devices, systems control and infrastructure for next-generation power
  • Sustainable Society: Systems, Markets, and Policy: Macro energy systems, power market design, energy policy enablers, LCA, TEA, workforce, DEI, advocacy

“What we are building in this cluster at some level is just a community of scholars, but they really span a broad spectrum,” said Ben Schafer, the Director of ROSEI and a Co-Lead for the Sustainable Transformations and Energy Cluster. “Some fundamental chemistry, all the way to industrial policy and the reason is so the university can participate and lead in creating a more affordable and equitable green energy future and a more resilient world.”

In total, four BDPs and four junior faculty will be recruited to collaborate together along with existing Johns Hopkins faculty in these areas of research.

“With this cluster, we bring in four world leaders plus people to work with them,” Schafer said. “The change that we can make as a group now really becomes something special.”