Prof. Barrett is an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Finmeccanica Professor of Engineering, and Director of the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at the MIT. From 2012-2015 he was Associate Director of the Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER) — a 12 university Center of Excellence sponsored by FAA, NASA, DOD, EPA and Transport Canada, with participants from 50 industry and government organizations. Before joining MIT in 2010 he was on the faculty at Cambridge University, where he helped to setup the Energy Efficient Cities Initiative. He is also part of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and the SMART Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling
The main goal of his research is to advance understanding of the environmental impacts of aviation, and to develop technological, fuel-based and regulatory strategies to mitigate these impacts. A current focus is assessing the lifecycle environmental impacts of biofuel production and use in aviation. He also works on other areas related to aerospace, energy and the environment — atmospheric modeling, propulsion, and quantifying the environmental impacts of other sectors of the economy – particularly ground transportation. He has served as an independent expert on green aviation, and on several advisory committees related to aviation and the environment, and emissions mitigation. He currently teaches MIT courses on jet and rocket propulsion and the environmental impacts of aviation.