AsianScientist (July 13, 2017) – Professor Subra Suresh has been appointed to succeed Professor Bertil Andersson as the fourth President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore). An eminent engineer, scientist and entrepreneur, Suresh most recently served as the President of Carnegie Mellon University from 2013 to June 2017.
Prior to his four year term at Carnegie Mellon University, Suresh served as the Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Nominated by then-US president Barack Obama in 2010, he oversaw an annual budget of US$7 billion covering in all fields of science and engineering in more than 2,000 institutions across the US. Suresh also has the unique distinction of being the only university president elected to all three US national academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and is one of the few elected foreign members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Currently a US citizen, Suresh was born in India and did his undergraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. He went on to complete a Masters degree at Iowa State University and a Doctor of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), before conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory.
In 1983, he joined Brown University as an assistant professor of engineering and was promoted to full professor in 1989. Subsequently, Suresh joined MIT in 1993 as the R. P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He was promoted to dean of engineering in 2007 and named the Vannevar Bush Professor.
While at MIT, Suresh was the principal faculty coordinator who led the formation of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) in 2006. In this capacity, he worked closely with the MIT and Singapore research communities, and presented the vision for the SMART center in July 2006 to the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), chaired by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Suresh’s interactions with Singapore began almost a quarter century ago, when he served as a consultant to the National Science and Technology Board, the predecessor of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Since then, he has been on the Advisory Boards or Councils of A*STAR Institutes and several schools at the National University of Singapore (NUS), in addition to holding the inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Chair for visiting appointments at NUS.
“I have had a very special affinity for Singapore and numerous interactions with colleagues here in academia, industry and government. It has been a privilege to witness and also participate in the impressive rise of both Singapore and NTU on the international stage,” Suresh said.
“I look forward to working with the NTU community, including its outstanding faculty and administrative staff, 200,000+ global alumni, trustees, and exceptional students to realize the great opportunities that lie ahead. I am also grateful to Prof Andersson for his very impactful leadership of NTU for the past six years.”
According to an email to NTU staff from the Chairman of the NTU board of trustees, Mr. Koh Boon Hwee, Suresh was the unanimous choice of an eight-member search committee that was convened more than a year ago.
“Prof Suresh understands the Singapore higher education and research systems, as well as those in North America, Europe, China and India, having actively engaged with various public and private agencies and boards, and as a member of a number of national academies of science and engineering,” said Koh in a statement to the press.
“He is an educator, scientist, advisor, inventor, entrepreneur and leader all rolled into one. The Board of Trustees and I are delighted that he has agreed to take the top job to lead NTU in its next phase of development.”
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Sandy Schaeffer/National Science Foundation.
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