Sally Benson

Dr. Sally M. Benson 

DIRECTOR - GCEP

Professor - ERE

650-724-9721,  650-725-0358

MS, Ph.D - Materials Science & Mineral Engineering, 1988

University of California, Berkeley

BS - Geology, 1977

Barnard College, Columbia University

Sally M. Benson was appointed GCEP Executive Director in March 2007. An internationally-recognized scientist with extensive management experience, Benson is responsible for guiding the development of GCEP's diverse research portfolio. A Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering in the School of Earth Sciences, Benson has been a member of Stanford's faculty since 2007.

Prior to joining GCEP, Benson was a staff scientist in the Earth Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). In 2004, she completed a four-year term as Deputy Director of Operations at the lab. Benson also served as Division Director for Earth Sciences and Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences at LBNL.

A ground water hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson has conducted research to address a range of issues related to energy and the environment. Her research interests include geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations, technologies and energy systems for a low-carbon future, influence of climate change on critical habitats, biogeochemistry of selenium, and geotechnical instrumentation for subsurface characterization and monitoring.

The author or co-author of over 160 scientific publications, Benson is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society.


Research Interests

  • Geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations
  • Technologies and energy systems for a low-carbon future
  • Influence of climate change on critical habitats
  • Biogeochemistry of selenium
  • Geotechnical instrumentation for subsurface characterization and monitoring