Professor Subra Suresh
Professor Subra Suresh is an eminent American scientist, engineer and entrepreneur with a strong record of distinguished and impactful leadership in academia, industry and government. He began his tenure as President of NTU from 1 January 2018.
He was the ninth President of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from 2013 to 2017. Before that, he served as Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2010 to 2013, and Dean of the School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering from 2007 to 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a faculty member for two decades.
During President Suresh’s tenure, CMU assembled the most diverse senior leadership team in its history; established a strategic plan through an inclusive campus-wide process; recruited a record proportion of outstanding female first-year undergraduate students in computer science and engineering; founded and chaired the Global Learning Council as an international forum to help improve learning outcomes through technology; and launched a historic campus infrastructure development effort.
Prof Suresh was nominated by former United States President Barack Obama in 2010 to lead the US National Science Foundation. As Director, he oversaw an annual budget of US$7 billion that supports fundamental research and innovation in all fields of science and engineering and related education in more than 2,000 institutions across the US and in a number of research facilities across the globe from the Arctic to Antarctica.
Prof Suresh has had numerous high-level interactions with Singapore for nearly a quarter century. He has served as a consultant to the National Science and Technology Board and the Advisory Boards or Councils of institutes under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and other government bodies. He was also on the Boards of several faculties within the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he was the inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Chair from 2006 to 2010.
Prof Suresh is currently an independent Director of HP Inc, California. He is also a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council appointed by the CEO of the Munich-based multinational company, Siemens AG, and a Senior Adviser to Singapore’s Temasek International Pte Ltd. He has previously served as a Director of LORD Corporation (a North Carolina-based private company offering technology products and services around the globe) and several nonprofit organisations in the US and overseas.
Prof Suresh holds the distinction of being the only university president elected to all three US national academics of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. He was chosen by Science Watch/Thomson Reuters as one of the top 100 most impactful materials scientists (based on publication citation impact) during the decade 2000-2010. Prof Suresh’s research is highly interdisciplinary. He has made outstanding contributions to the study of mechanical behavior of both structural and functional materials over a wide range of length scales. He has also demonstrated the links between deformation of biological cells and human disease. In the area of mechanical properties of engineering materials, his work has led to the identification of key fatigue mechanisms. He has developed several sophisticated methodologies to optimize the mechanical performance of composites and compositionally graded materials. His discoveries in the area of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline materials is another example of his broad research interests. The body of work on the rational introduction of internal interfaces to optimize mechanical properties has considerable potential to improve the performance of a variety of engineering materials. In the areas of biology and medicine, his research investigations have revealed the relationships between the mechanics of blood cells and disease states as well as the role of a key protein in modulating the mechanical properties of these blood cells. His collaborative work has also led to the development of microfluidic systems for medical applications. He is the author or coauthor of three books: Fatigue of Materials, Fundamentals of Functionally Graded Materials, and Thin Film Materials. Prof Suresh’s research in materials science and engineering, mechanics and biomedicine has helped to shape disciplines and technologies at the intersections of engineering, science and medicine.
In recognition of his stellar academic achievements, the NTU Board of Trustees appointed him the inaugural Distinguished University Professor. Newly set up in 2017, this Professorship is awarded for extraordinary scholarly achievement, typically across multiple disciplinary boundaries, and it is the highest academic recognition at NTU.