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Subra Suresh became president of Carnegie Mellon University on July 1, 2013. Before that he was director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position for which he was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate in 2010. From 2007 to 2010 he was dean and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research into the properties of materials and discoveries of connections between cell properties and human diseases have shaped new fields in the fertile intersections of traditional disciplines. He has authored some 300 research articles, 21 patents, and three widely used books.
In his leadership roles at MIT and NSF, Dr. Suresh established initiatives to advance education, innovation, interdisciplinary research, diversity, and global collaboration. Leading funding agencies from nearly 50 developed and developing nations established the Global Research Council (GRC), a virtual organization aimed at harmonizing and coordinating practices that enhance international collaboration. Dr. Suresh was the founding chair of the GRC governing board.
Dr. Suresh has been elected to the US National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and seven other academies, in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and India. He has been awarded ten honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, China, and India. In 2011, the President of India awarded him the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honors, for his contributions to science and technology. In 2006, Technology Review magazine selected him as a top-ten researcher whose research “will have a significant impact on business, medicine, or culture.” His other honors include the 2006 Acta Materialia Gold Medal, the 2007 European Materials Medal, the 2008 Eringen Medal of the Society of Engineering Science, the 2011 Nadai Medal and 2012 Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from the Franklin Institute.