Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala
Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala Foreign Member
Indian Institute of Technology
More Info
  • 2018
  • Special Fields & Interdisciplinary
  • Electric Power/Energy Systems
More Info
  • 2018
  • Special Fields & Interdisciplinary
  • Electric Power/Energy Systems
Election Citation
For innovation and development of affordable technology solutions in communications and energy.
Biography
Ashok Jhunjhunwala is an Institute Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras at Chennai, India. After his BTech, he got his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Maine. From 1979 to 1981, he was with Washington State University as Assistant Professor. Since 1981, he has been teaching at IIT Madras. Since late 2016, he is on sabbatical leave from IITM and has been the Principal Advisor to Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy and now the Principal Advisor to Minister of Railways, Government of India, New Delhi.
 
Dr. Jhunjhunwala is considered the pioneer in nurturing Industry-Academia interaction in India focused on R&D, Innovation and Product Development. He conceived and built the first Research Park (IIT Madras Research Park) in India which houses over 150 R&D companies in its 1.2 million square feet built-up area. TIE conferred him the title of Dronacharya for his contributions to the cause of entrepreneurship, as he has incubated and nurtured over 100 companies at IIT Madras. He heads the IITM Incubation Cell and Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI). He leads the Telecommunications and Computer Networks group (TeNeT), which has developed a number of products for Indian telecom, banking, power and Electric Vehicle industries.
 
One of his key focus areas over the last two decades has been to drive telecom R&D. As a developer of the first Wireless in Local Loop (CorDECT WLL) product in India, he recognizes that in the absence of adequate wire-line infrastructure, India would need to deliver higher and higher bit rate per Hz of available spectrum, but with lower and lower power per bit. His work on 4G and 5G wireless technologies are focused towards this. At the same time, there has been a focus on driving telecom design and manufacturing in India, so that its net-imports in telecom goes to zero. Simultaneously, he has been working on using telecom and ICT to make a difference to lives of people in India, especially for its rural people. Using ICT to drive health-care, education, agriculture, livelihood and financial inclusion has been the focus of his work. He was the founder chairman of Mobile Payment Forum of India, which enabled mobile payments in India.
 
Having made a mark in telecom, over the last five years, he has focused on power sector and has come up with innovations to ensure that all homes in India get 24 x 7 power even in situation of extreme power-shortage. Using his solar-DC innovation, he is focused on decentralized solar power and believes that by 2030, India should get 50% of its peak power from solar. Over the last couple of years, his work has been on Electric Vehicles and Batteries, so as to make EVs scale in India without government subsidies.
He is continuously thriving to drive quality into Science and Engineering Higher Education. As a member of Kakodkar committee on IITs and NITs, he envisioned IITs to become primarily research institutions in future, while NITs should become the institutions with highest quality UG education. As a chair of a MHRD committee on “Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education,” and a member of review committee of AICTE, he has been targeting both public and private engineering colleges to significantly improve the quality of imparting education. He believes that ICT can be an important tool to enable this, though strengthening of local  faculty is equally important.
As a chairman of SAC-PM committee on water, he had come up with a comprehensive report on different ways that water-shortage, quality and pollution have been affecting India and had recommended the R&D, Implementation and Policy tasks that India should undertake to overcome the problems.
 
Dr. Jhunjhunwala has been Chairman and member of various government committees and has been on boards of several education institutions in the country. At the same time, he has been on the boards of a number of public and private companies and has driven comprehensive changes, especially in the area of technology, in these companies. He was a Director on the board of State Bank of India, Bharat Electronics, HTL, NRDC, IDRBT, VSNL and BSNL. He has also been a board member of Tata Communications, Mahindra Rewa, Sasken, Tejas Networks, TTML, Intellect and Exicom. He is currently also on the board of BIRAC and Chairman of Technology Advisory Group of SEBI. Also he is currently Chairperson of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kottayam and College of Engineering, Trivandrum.
 
Dr. Jhunjhunwala was conferred Padmashri, Shanti-Swarup Bhatnagar Award, Vikram Sarabhai Research Award, H. K. Firodia Award, Silicon India Leadership Award, Millenium Medal at Indian Science Congress, UGC Hari Om Ashram Award, IETE’s Ram Lala Wadhwa Gold Medal, JC Bose fellowship, Bernard Low Humanitarian Award among many others. He is fellow of IEEE, INSA, NAS, IAS, INAE, National Academy of Engineering (NAE) USA and WWRF. He has also been conferred honorary doctorate by University of Maine and Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.
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Curriculum Vitae
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