Raul Brens Jr. is the acting senior director and senior fellow at the GeoTech Center, part of the Atlantic Council Technology Programs. In this capacity, he is responsible for directing the center’s research, strategy, program development, and policy implementation in science and technology. As a former diplomat, he brings nearly two decades of combined expertise in science and technology research and policy and international diplomacy. Before joining the Atlantic Council, Brens had a career in academia and the public sector, focusing on science and technology policy, research, and development, and social- and health-policy issues. 

Brens has made significant contributions to public policy efforts in the United States and Australia, particularly in projects aimed at assisting vulnerable social groups and employing emerging technologies to combat climate change and tackle other societal challenges. He previously served as an international affairs advisor to the under secretary and chief scientist at the US Department of Agriculture, where he worked on international science and technology research, development, and research security, focusing on climate and food security issues.

Brens also served as a diplomat at the US Department of State, working on international security, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear energy, nuclear cooperation, and management of the nuclear fuel cycle issues. He has led large-scale projects bridging data divides within the federal, state, and territory governments of Australia to draw data-driven insights into vulnerable cohorts and improve service delivery, earning recognition from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

At the outset of his career, Brens conducted interdisciplinary research in earth and atmospheric sciences as a research scientist. His work included research and development in Australia’s agricultural sector, specifically aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Brens is also a former science and technology policy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Alongside his extensive academic achievements, Brens is fluent in Spanish. He holds PhD and MSc degrees in geosciences and geochemistry and a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in earth sciences and history, with a focus on international relations.