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EMF seeks to improve the use of energy and environmental policy models for making important corporate and government decisions.  Three major goals guide this effort:

  1. Harness the collective capabilities of multiple models to improve the understanding of important energy and associated environmental problems,
  2. explain the strengths and limitations of competing approaches to the problem, and
  3. provide guidance for future research efforts.


EMF was established at Stanford in 1976 to bring together leading experts and decisionmakers from government, industry, universities, and other research organizations to study important energy and environmental issues.  For each study, the Forum organizes a working group to develop the study design, analyze and compare each model’s results and discuss key conclusions. 

A major research university provides the Forum with a non-partisan platform for objective discussion of important issues.  EMF participants offer alternative views based upon their research and experience.  The studies do not try to forge a consensus but instead highlight why experts may disagree.


The process has several important principles:

  • Impartiality – One technology, policy or energy perspective is not favored over another.
  • User Orientation – Models cannot improve decisions unless they are answering the right question.
  • Disclosure – “Truth-in-modeling” flows from disclosing rather than hiding important assumptions, parameters, judgments and sensitivities.
  • Understanding – Insights about how markets work are much more valuable than precise numerical results.


Each EMF working group publishes a summary report that is widely distributed to policymakers, corporate leaders, and energy experts and advisors.  A companion technical volume documents the analysis used to derive these conclusions.

Policy Impact – EMF disseminates key findings broadly through reports, major conferences, Congressional testimony by participating experts, and participation by government staff in Forum activities.

Corporate Perspectives – Companies help to frame the questions, but also learn which are the most important technical issues and which groups are pioneering new techniques for addressing them.   


EMF supports graduate students to pursue energy and environmental topics throughout the university but offers no formal degrees. Prospective graduate students who want to pursue a degree emphasizing energy and environmental policy modeling should contact the Department of Management Sciences and Engineering and their admissions website:  All admissions decisions are made by a departmental committee and not by EMF faculty and staff.