October 17, 2022
Staff Accomplishment

Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm Named Joint Global Change Research Institute Director

Miralles-Wilhelm will lead joint research institute between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland

Photograph of a smiling man wearing business attire

Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm will become the fifth director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute.

(Photo courtesy of Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm was named director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI). JGCRI is jointly supported by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Maryland (UMD). Miralles-Wilhelm takes over from Interim Director Stephanie Waldhoff, beginning October 17, 2022.

Formed in 2001, JGCRI research focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to understanding how human and Earth systems interact. JGCRI stewards the freely available Global Change Analysis Model, a global model that represents the behavior of, and interactions between, five systems.

“PNNL is thrilled to welcome Dr. Miralles-Wilhelm as the new director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute,” said Larry Berg, Division Director, Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change at PNNL. “His technical expertise, familiarity with the institute, and vision will help broaden JGCRI’s global impact.”

Miralles-Wilhelm is a trained hydrologist and water resources engineer with three decades of experience. His work spans hydrologic science, water resources management, hydroclimatology, ecosystems, modeling of physical and biochemical phenomena in water systems, and remote sensing of hydrologic processes and applications.

“I’m thrilled to take on this new role,” said Miralles-Wilhelm. “I think JGCRI is one of the most exciting places to work and do complex multidisciplinary research. While I approach problems from a water perspective, the tools and resources at JGCRI allow us to operate at the important nexus of land, water, and energy.”

Most recently the dean of George Mason University’s College of Science, Miralles-Wilhelm has held faculty appointments at Northeastern University, the University of Miami, Florida International University, and UMD. In his decade at UMD, he led a project located in the JGCRI offices and worked as a PNNL joint appointee.

Miralles-Wilhelm has closely collaborated with JGCRI researchers on projects evaluating the financial impacts of climate change for the World Bank. He has used the Global Change Analysis Model at both global and regional scales to better understand the interactions between climate, water resources, energy, and the economy.

“By linking PNNL and UMD, JGCRI has developed a strong and effective approach to generating the scientific input needed for societal decision-making and policy around the world,” said Prof. Nate Hultman, Director of the Center for Global Sustainability at UMD and a joint appointee at JGCRI. “Dr. Miralles-Wilhelm's experience in the scientific community and vision for building an even stronger instituteusing the strengths of the two institutionswill be critical as the world confronts multiple challenges of climate change, energy, water, and other aspects of sustainability.”

Miralles-Wilhelm has served on the faculty at Northeastern University, the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the University of Maryland. He also spent 5 years as a civil servant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. Miralles-Wilhelm earned a mechanical engineering diploma from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela, an MS in engineering from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Miralles-Wilhelm is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Massachusetts and Florida.