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Wolcott Michael P. Wolcott

Professional Biography

Michael P. Wolcott, Ph.D.
Regents Professor and Associate Vice President for Research

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Washington State University
PO Box 641806
Pullman, WA 99164-1806

phone: 509-335-6392

Michael Wolcott, Regents Professor and LP Distinguished Professor in Washington State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is a member of the interdisciplinary Materials Science and Engineering faculty and a researcher in the Composite Materials and Engineering Center. He currently serves as the Associate Director for Research and Director of the Office of Clean Technology. In this capacity, he serves as the university liaison to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, developing Joint Faculty Appointments, a Distinguished Gradate Research Program, and Joint Institutes. Wolcott is an international leader in the field of bio-renewable materials and fuels.  His research has led to the development of advanced materials and fuels to improve performance while reducing costs and environmental burdens.

Since 2017, Wolcott has served as the Director for the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT), which is the FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment. ASCENT ( is a cooperative aviation research organization co-led by Washington State University (WSU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Comprised of sixteen universities, ASCENT conducts research to provide the aviation industry, governmental agencies, communities, and policy-makers with science-based solutions for the environmental challenges facing aviation.

From 2011 to 2017, Wolcott served as the Principal Co-Director for the NARA – the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance. NARA was a $40-million research consortium with 32-member organizations and funded by the USDA National Institutes for Food and Agriculture. Featuring a broad alliance of private industry and educational/governmental researchers, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) founded a holistic approach to building a supply chain within WA, OR, ID and MT based on using forest harvest residuals to produce alternative jet fuels and co-products. The alliance was tasked with empowering rural economies, increasing America’s energy security, and reducing aviation’s environmental impact. To do that, NARA sought to improve the efficiency for each supply chain step from forestry operations to conversion processes; create new bio-based products; provide economic, environmental and social sustainability analyses; engage stakeholder groups; and improve bioenergy literacy for students, educators, professionals and the general public. The effort culminated in the world’s first commercial cellulosic biofuels flight with corporate partners Alaska Airlines, Gevo, Weyerhaeuser, and regional tribes.

Prior to NARA, he has managed nearly $20-million in funding and directed large interdisciplinary research teams for numerous federal agencies, including the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy, the USDA, the US Forest Service, and the Federal Highway Administration. He has been actively engaged with industry to commercialize his research and has participated in projects for more than 50 companies, large and small.

Dr. Wolcott is widely published in the academic literature. He has received numerous national and international awards for research excellence. He is a Fellow in the International Academy of Wood Science and is frequently invited as keynote lecturer at international conferences.

He holds a Ph.D. in materials engineering science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and BS/MS in forestry from the University of Maine. A member of the WSU faculty since 1996, he previously served as an associate professor at West Virginia University.