B.S. ​Lafayette CollegeM.S. University of WashingtonPh.D. Penn State

Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor at the University of Virginia where he is jointly appointed in the Schools of Engineering, Architecture, and Business. His wide-ranging research is filling in unexplored overlaps between design and behavioral science. For this interdisciplinary expertise, Klotz has earned a highly-selective CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, as well as one of the very first awards through the NSF’s INSPIRE program. He has been awarded over seven million dollars in competitive research funding; has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles in venues that include the top academic journals in design, engineering education, and infrastructure engineering, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature.

Nationally recognized as one of 40-under-40 professors who inspire, Klotz has received multiple institution-level teaching awards for his classes and close work with undergraduates, ten of whom have earned competitive national awards valued in excess of $100,000 each. He facilitates lifelong learning for thousands of former students via Facebook and Twitter, and was an early adopter of massive open online courses, including one currently offered through Coursera. He advises influential decision-makers that straddle academia and practice, working with the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, Resources for the Future, and ideas42.

In less than a decade, Klotz has built a research-to-practice community around his scholarship. At the University of Virginia, he co-founded and co-directs the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative, which engages and supports dozens of faculty and students doing applied, interdisciplinary research. Klotz is co-chair of an ongoing expert panel, convened by the journal Nature Sustainability. In this role, he is bringing together scholars, funders, media, and practitioners in order to keep advancing behavioral science for design. He’s advised 20 Ph.D. students, and his former advisees now hold influential positions in industry and academia including at: Virginia Tech, The University of Florida, Purdue, Colorado State, The University of San Diego, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

In all of his work, Leidy is a champion for diversity and inclusion. More than three quarters of his advisees are from groups underrepresented in their respective fields; his research has uncovered new pathways for underrepresented groups into engineering; and his public stances against racist monuments have been featured in Inside Higher Ed and covered by the Huffington Post.

Klotz is a columnist for the Behavioral Scientist and has written for venues such as Fast Company, and The Daily Climate. He is the author of an academic book, Sustainability Through Soccer: An Unexpected Approach to Saving Our World. (Before his academic career, Klotz was a professional soccer player.)


  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation 2011
  • 40 under 40: Professors Who Inspire, Nerdscholar 2014

Research Interests

  • Design
  • Behavioral Science
  • Sustainable Infrastructure Systems
  • Risk and Decision Analysis
  • Bio-inspired systems

In the News

Selected Publications

  • “Beyond rationality in engineering design for sustainability.” Nature Sustainability. 1: 225-233. ABS Klotz, L., Weber, E., Johnson, E., Shealy, E., Hernandez, M., Gordon, B. (2018)
  • “Framing effects to inform more sustainable infrastructure design decisions.” ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management (04016037). Shealy, E., Klotz, L., Weber, E., Johnson, E., Greenspan Bell, R., (2016).
  • “Sustainability as a route to broaden participation in engineering.” Journal of Engineering Education, 103(1): 137-153. Klotz, L., Potvin, G., Cribbs, J., Godwin, A, Hazari, Z., and Barclay, N. (2014).
  • “Social sustainability considerations during planning and design: A framework of processes for construction projects.” American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 139(1): 80–89. Valdes, R. and Klotz, L. (2013).
  • “A framework for sustainable whole systems design.” Design Studies. 33(5) 456-479. Blizzard, J. and Klotz, L. (2012).
  • "Interest in STEM is contagious for students in biology, chemistry, and physics classes." Science Advances. 3(8). ABS Hazari, Z., Potvin, G., Godwin, A., Cribbs, J., Klotz, L., and Scott, T. (2017)
  • “Unintended Anchors: Building Rating Systems and Energy Performance Goals for U.S. Buildings.” Energy Policy. 38 (7): 3557-3566. Klotz, L., Mack, D., Klapthor, B., Tunstall, C. and Harrison, J. (2010).

Courses Taught

  • Systems and Sustainability in the Built Environment Spring
  • Behavioral Design Fall

Featured Grants & Projects