R. David Edelman

Director, Project on Technology, Economy & National Security


Dr. R. David Edelman comes to MIT having distinguished himself as one of the U.S. government’s foremost voices on how technology is changing our economy, national security, and daily lives. An expert on pressing technology challenges facing national security and the global economy, his insights have helped shape national and international policy at the highest levels.
In his most recent role as Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC), he led the White House team focusing on the digital economy — including broadband, telecommunications, spectrum, and technology trade — as well as consumer cybersecurity, domestic and international data privacy, high-tech patent and copyright issues, and antitrust/competition.

In his time at the White House he led engagement with hundreds of technology companies around the world; advised the President on a range of emerging technologies such as big data, drones, and autonomous vehicles; and designed and managed over $15 billion of signature programs focused on technology, education, and economic opportunity.

He was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on intelligence matters, and was twice the recipient of the Meritorious Honor Award for his United Nations negotiations and development of the nation’s cyber diplomacy strategy. He was previously named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” leaders in Law & Policy, and later chosen as a “30 Under 30 All-Star Alumni” — one of only three in the magazine’s history — for his ongoing contributions to national policy.

Edelman holds a bachelor’s degree in History (with honors) from Yale and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Oxford in International Relations.  His dissertation, “Cyberattacks in International Relations,” examined which forces might restrain state use of offensive cyber capabilities.