Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala
Professor of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras
Dr. Jhunjhunwala is considered the pioneer in nurturing Industry-Academia interaction in India towards R&D, Innovation and Product Development. He conceived and built the first Research Park (IIT Madras Research Park) in India which houses over 100 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 incubated and nurtured over 100 companies at IIT Madras. He heads the IITM Incubation Cell and Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI). He founded and had been leading the Telecommunications and Computer Networks group (TeNeT), which has worked closely with industry in the development of a number of products for Indian telecom, banking and power industries.
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 the companies. He was a Director on the Board of State Bank of India, Bharat Electronics, HTL, NRDC, IDRBT, VSNL and BSNL. Currently he is 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.
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.
He is keen to drive quality into Science and Engineering Higher Education. As a member of Kakodkar committee on IITs and NITs, he has driven that IITs should 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 is targeting both public and private engineering colleges to significantly improve the quality of their education. He believes that ICT can be an important tool to enable this, through strengthening of local faculty is equally important.
Dr. Jhunjhunwala was conferred Padma Shri in 2002, Shanti-swarup Bhatnagar Award, Vikram Sarabhai Research Award, H. K. Firodia Award, Silicon India Leadership Award, Millennium Medal at Indian Science Congress, UGC Hari Om Ashram Award, IETE, Ram Lala Wadhwa Gold Medal, JC Bose fellowship, Bernard Low Humanitarian Award and many more. He is fellow of IEEE, INSA, NAS, IAS, INAE and WWRF. He has also been conferred Honorary Doctorate by University of Maine and Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.