Editor’s note: Dr. Lal resigned from NASA in July 2023. This biography will be kept online as a historical record but will no longer be updated.
Dr. Bhavya Lal is the associate administrator for technology, policy, and strategy within the office of the NASA Administrator. She is responsible for providing evidence-driven advice to NASA leadership on internal and external policy issues, strategic planning, and technology investments. She also provides executive leadership and direction to the Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS).
Prior to her current role and in the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration, Lal was the acting chief of staff at NASA and directed the agency’s transition under the administration of President Biden. Before arriving at NASA, she was a member of the Presidential Transition Agency Review Teams for NASA and the Department of Defense. For 15 years prior to that, Dr. Lal led strategy, technology assessment, and policy studies and analyses at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) for government sponsors, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Space Council, NASA, Department of Defense, and other federal departments and agencies. Before coming to IDA, Lal was director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research and consulting firm based in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Lal’s analyses have been at the center of almost all space-relevant policies for the last decade. She was nominated and selected to be a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics for her many contributions to the space community.
Dr. Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired, or served on six high-impact National Academy of Sciences (NAS) ad hoc committees. She served two consecutive terms on the NOAA Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES), was an External Council Member of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, and was selected to join the NASA Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee (NAC/TIE). She co-founded and was co-chair of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society’s annual conference on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies in Space (NETS) and co-organized a seminar series on space history and policy with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Dr. Lal holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a second master’s from MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, and a Ph.D. in public policy and public administration from George Washington University. She is a member of the nuclear engineering and public policy and public administration honor societies and has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.