#ElliottExpert: Nicholas Vonortas

#EE Vonortas

Nick Vonortas is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Elliott School. He is a faculty member of the Department of Economics, of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy (IISTP), and of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He is the director of the IISTP and director of Ph.D. candidacy in Economics. Professor Vonortas currently holds a ‘São Paulo Excellence Chair’ in Technology and Innovation Policy at the University of Campinas, State of São Paulo, Brazil. He is a Leading Research Fellow at the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation. He is a Visiting Professor at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. He has also served for several years as a member of the Innovation Policy Forum of the U.S. National Academies of Science. He is an editor of the peer-reviewed journal Science and Public Policy.

  • Hometown: Athens, Greece
  • Program/Institute:  International Science and Technology Policy
  • Areas of expertise: Economics of Technological Change, Innovation, Applied Microeconomics, R&D Program Evaluation
  • Institutions Attended: NYU, Leicester University, University of Athens
  • Teaching courses: Fall 2020: International Science and Technology Policy Cornerstone (IAFF 6141); Economics of Technological Change (IAFF 6158) 


What made you interested in your field of study/area of expertise?

The role of technology in economic development; the way technologies are being transferred around the world; multinational corporations.

What was your favorite work, intern, or volunteer experience, and why?

Consulting for governments and industry regarding issues of technology policy and management; there are few things more important than technology for development and human wellbeing – the current awaiting for the COVID-19 vaccine says it all.

If you could have any other career, unrelated to what you do now, what would it be?

Sports, soccer, or biking; hospitality business close to a nice beach.

What advice do you have for first-year students who are starting their internship or work experience search?

Don’t take no for an answer; start high; be ambitious.

What 3 books should everybody read and why?

Jared Diamond “Germs, Guns, and Steel” (1997) – best understanding of human history ever

Frank Snowden “Epidemics and Society” (2019) – best understanding of epidemics and society

Walter Isaacson “Steve Jobs” (2011) – best told life story of one of the greatest of our times

If you could donate unlimited funds to any cause, what would it be and why?

Teach people to fish, send everybody to a school environment.

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The #ElliottExpert profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current professors to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.