Dr. Michael Contreras is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy (DOE), Solar Energy Technologies Office, SunShot Initiative. Mike is a co-founder and the Managing Director of the SunShot Catalyst prize program which leverages solar data assets to rapidly create and fund scalable software startups. The program has backed 17 early stage teams and has been featured in media outlets such as TechCrunch, Gigaom, and CleanTechnica. The SunShot Catalyst was also recognized globally by IdeaScale with a 2014 Open Innovation Award.
Prior to his work at the DOE, Mike was a Principal Investigator and spacecraft structural analyst at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory advancing the technology readiness of aerodynamic decelerator systems funded by NASA. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and an Air Force Research Laboratory Space Scholar. Mike holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rice University.