Director of the Office of Science in the Department of Energy: Who Is Chris Fall?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Christopher Fall, principal deputy director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), was nominated May 18, 2018, to lead the Office of Science in the Department of Energy.


Fall was born in 1966, son of Bob, a Naval officer, and Marilyn Fall. Fall attended the University of Virginia, graduating with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1989 and a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1998. In 2010, he added an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Fall taught at the University of Illinois-Chicago in the Bioengineering and Anatomy and Cell Biology departments. He joined the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as an innovation fellow, and then in 2012 was named director of the International Liaison Office. The following year, Fall was made deputy director of research.


In August 2014, Fall was made assistant director for defense programs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, also serving as acting lead for national security and international affairs policy. Fall left the White House in August 2017 and was named ONR’s acting chief scientist and research division lead.


Fall was given his post at ARPA-E in January 2018. President Donald Trump has twice attempted to zero out funding for the agency, which provides grants for experimental energy projects.


Fall is married to Sandra Wilkniss, who is a program director of  the Center for Best Practices’ Health Division at the National Governors Association. They have two children: Alexandra and Leonardo.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Trump Really Wants to Kill ARPA-E; Federal Agency Says That’s Folly (by Megan Geuss, Ars Technica)

Official Announcement


Leave a comment