UCI appoints Pramod Khargonekar Vice Chancellor for Research

SACRAMENTO (TIP): U.C. Irvine announced that Pramod Khargonekar has assumed the role of vice chancellor for research at the university.

The Indian American took over the role at U.C. Irvine June 30.

In this position, he will provide strategic direction for the Office of Research, which supports and enhances the creative and scholarly activities of UCI faculty. His appointment by UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman comes after a comprehensive national search.

“Pramod’s stellar career – as a researcher, educator and national leader – makes him an outstanding choice to lead our ambitious efforts to expand the scope and impact of our world-class research,” Gillman said. “He understands how science is evolving, the role of interdisciplinary coordination in addressing global and regional challenges, the important link between research and education, and the need to cultivate a broader innovation ecosystem.”

Khargonekar has a varied background in federal and academic positions. He most recently served as assistant director for engineering at the National Science Foundation. While there, he headed the Directorate for Engineering, which invests in frontier engineering research and education, encourages a culture of innovation and develops the next generation of engineers. As a member of the NSF senior leadership and management team, Khargonekar also helped set priorities and policies and led or co-led major initiatives promoting inclusion and diversity in science and engineering, natural hazards research and engineering education. In addition, he is currently the Eckis Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Florida.

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“I am honored to be given this truly exceptional opportunity,” Khargonekar said. “Working together with UCI’s faculty and leadership, we can achieve the exciting growth and excellence goals of this world-class research enterprise. I look forward to helping enable faculty success in their research activities, stimulating interdisciplinary research directions and actively recruiting excellent new faculty from diverse backgrounds. I will work tirelessly to elevate the visibility of UCI research nationally and globally.”

Khargonekar earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in electrical engineering at Bombay’s Indian Institute of Technology in 1977 and an M.S. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Florida in 1980 and 1981, respectively. He has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan and the University of Florida. At Michigan, Khargonekar was chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from 1997 to 2001 and also was the Claude E. Shannon Professor of Engineering Science. At Florida, he was dean of the College of Engineering from 2001 to 2009. In addition, he served as deputy director for technology at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Khargonekar has received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the American Automatic Control Council’s Donald P. Eckman Award and O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science fellowships, the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers’ W.R.G. Baker Award, the IEEE Control Systems Society’s George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Service awards from the Indian Institute of Technology. At the University of Michigan, he was honored with the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship. He is a fellow of IEEE and the International Federation of Automatic Control.

Enrique Lavernia, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor, said: “In addition to his experience in setting the nation’s research priorities and policies, Pramod has a genuine passion to enhance and promote new research efforts and foster young investigators. We are lucky to have a leader of his caliber.”

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