Dr. Bhavya Lal

Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Budget and Finance

Dr. Bhavya Lal is currently the senior advisor to the NASA Administrator on Budget and Finance. In the first 100 days of the Biden Administration, she was the seniormost White House appointee and Acting Chief of Staff at NASA. As part of her assignment, she oversaw the agency’s transition under the administration of President Biden. Before that, she had served as a member of the Presidential Transition for both the NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD) Agency Review Teams.

Before coming to NASA, Dr. Lal led strategy, technology assessment, and policy studies and analyses at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) working closely with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Space Council, and Federal space-oriented organizations including NASA and DOD. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research consultancy based in Cambridge MA. Analyses led by her are routinely incorporated in national policy, and also covered by technical and mainstream press outlets including Space News, The Economist, Science, Chronicle of Higher Education, and National Geographic, among others. She has been featured in webinars and podcasts hosted by AIAA, Aerospace Corporation, and the Planetary Society, among others.

Dr. Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science (NAS) 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 the NASA Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee (NAC). For her many contributions to the space community, she was nominated and selected to be a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Dr. Lal holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a second M.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 both 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.


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