Robert’s research and teaching is focused on water and energy policy, climate change, and issues of environmental policy. He serves on the public advisory committee for the California Water Plan,  has represented the University of California on the Governor's Task Force on Desalination. He has advised the California Energy Commission and U.S. EPA on climate research, and has served as coordinator for the climate impacts assessment of the California Region for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.