Note from Kyle: Announcing Sridhar Seetharaman as new vice dean for research and innovation

It is my great pleasure to announce Sridhar Seetharaman as the vice dean for research and innovation in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. We are pleased to welcome Sridhar to the Fulton Schools as we embark on a new year with renewed focus on accelerating opportunities for our research community, and look forward to his leadership of the Fulton Schools research enterprise.

Sridhar will oversee the Fulton Schools’ Office of Research and Innovation, which provides strategic support for faculty development of their research portfolio, and engages with key stakeholders across the Fulton Schools, throughout ASU and beyond.

Sridhar is new to the valley, joining ASU from the faculty at the Colorado School of Mines where he served as the associate vice president for research and technology transfer. Sridhar says, “Technology transfer is a key part of what a university should be doing. And more and more people, I think, are attracted by that prospect.”

Being part of one of the top five engineering colleges in the country for licenses and options, startups and invention disclosures, per $10 million of research expenditures, was a draw for Sridhar. However, he was more impressed by the opportunity ASU provides all learners and innovators to embark on what can become transformational experiences both within the classroom and laboratory.

“Arizona State University sits in a very unique place,” says Sridhar. “It’s known for scaling, making education accessible to everybody. That is one of the reasons that I decided to come to ASU.”

Throughout his career, Sridhar has successfully built strategic partnerships and executed key initiatives across industry, government and the academic community. One focus will be to help expand and enrich the Fulton Schools’ transdisciplinary collaborations by capitalizing on existing Fulton Schools and regional strengths and matching those to mission-driven needs. This provides a basis for a comprehensive strategy where mission-driven opportunities accelerate ideas that result in both powerful fundamental research investigations as well as impactful translation to end-users.

Identifying key themes to enlarge research opportunities that are natural for our schools and region is something Sridhar recalls learning during a period of his career in the U.K. when he had the opportunity to work with Lord Bhattacharya, known as the father of British manufacturing.

“He taught me the importance of working with industry and gaining trust of industry,” Sridhar says. “There is a rule of research that not everything is connected to high-level science, but there is also a need to do engineering research that affects communities.”

That desire to make a difference in society and in the lives of the people we impact aligns with the ASU charter and guides our overarching objective to conduct use-inspired, educational, collaborative research.

Suited for leadership

Sridhar served with the Department of Energy as a senior technical advisor and was responsible for clean water and next-generation electric machines. He was the Tata Steel/RAEng joint chair and director of materials strategy for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at the University of Warwick. Previously, Sridhar served as the POSCO Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the co-director of the Industry-University Consortium, Center for Iron and Steelmaking Research. He was also a faculty fellow at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, working on materials for fossil fuel power.

Sridhar was a visiting professor at the University of Science and Technology, China and the Brahm Prakash Honorary Visiting Chair at the Indian Institute of Science. He has advised more than 30 doctoral students and authored more than 200 journal papers.

Throughout his career, Sridhar has received numerous best paper awards, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize and an NSF CAREER Award. As a teacher, he was recognized with a Benjamin Teare Teaching Award, the Philbrook Prize and an Elliott Lecturer Award.

He is the editor for AIST Transactions and an associate editor for Metallurgical and Metals Transactions A, B and E. Sridhar is also on the international advisory board for Steel Research International and the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan. He received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his undergraduate degree from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

Sridhar is eager to hear from you to learn more about how you are collaborating, innovating and engaging in research. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

Finally, I would also like to thank Ann McKenna for her exemplary service as the interim vice dean for research and innovation. She will continue in her role as the vice dean of strategic advancement in the Fulton Schools. Please join me in thanking Ann for her contributions as the VDRI and again in welcoming Sridhar to the role.