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Subra Suresh

Board of Governors

President, Global Learning Council; Former President of Carnegie Mellon University, and former Director of the US National Science Foundation

Subra Suresh, President of the Global Learning Council with effect from 1 January 2023, has served as the 4th President of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, until December 2022. Previously, he was the Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF), a position to which he was nominated by the President of the United States and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate. He has also served as the President of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Dean of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor at MIT, and Professor of Engineering at Brown University.

Suresh is amongst a rare group of Americans elected to all three US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for his pioneering research into the properties of engineered and biological materials, and into their implications for technologies and human diseases. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors, and a foreign member of major academies in China, France, Germany, India, Spain, and Sweden. Prof Suresh has authored three books, over 300 research articles and 30 patent applications.

Suresh has been awarded 20 honorary doctorates from prestigious academic institutions, and the Padma Shri award, one of the highest civilian honors, from the President of India. An honorary fellow of St. Hugh’s College at Oxford University, he has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the FEMS Medal from the Federation of European Materials Societies (the first non-European selected to receive this highest honor from the federation of professional societies from 27 countries in Europe), the IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Interchange, and the ASME Medal, the Timoshenko and the Nadai awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program which Suresh created while serving as NSF Director in 2011 is now regarded as one of the most impactful initiatives, replicated by many organizations globally, for translating scientific discoveries into commercial practice. The Global Research Council (GRC) which he founded in 2012 has now become a key annual forum for interactions among the major research funding agencies from about 50 countries. During his tenure as an academic leader at MIT, he played a pivotal role in establishing the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center.

As president of CMU, Suresh launched the largest infrastructure development initiative in decades that created the new Tepper Quadrangle and the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. He also established the Presidential Scholarships and Presidential Fellowships for undergraduate and postgraduate students, respectively, with more than $250 million in endowed funds.

As president of Singapore’s NTU, he oversaw the establishment of major new Corporate and Joint Laboratories with leading industry partners. During his tenure as President, NTU has achieved successive years of record research funding, up to a four-fold increase in the number of NTU subjects independently assessed to be the best or within the top ten in the world, and the doubling of NTU research publications published in the most impactful international journals. He established the NTU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows program, which is now the most competitive talent recruitment effort in the University’s history. As part of its ambitious NTU 2025 Strategic Plan, he led efforts in creating a sustainability manifesto with NTU becoming the first academic entity in the world to issue sustainability-linked public bonds along with the commitment to achieve 100% Green Mark Platinum certification for all eligible buildings on the main NTU campus by 2023 and carbon neutrality by 2035.

Suresh is an Independent Director of the Board of HP Inc. (HPQ), California, since 2015, and of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) since 2018. He also served as a member of the boards of LORD Corporation (2010), Battelle Memorial Institute (2014-2017), and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (2018-2022) and National Research Foundation (2018-2022). He has also been a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Committee of Siemens AG, Germany (2015-2019), the Growth Technology Advisory Board of Applied Materials, Inc., California (since 2020), and the Future Economy Council chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore (2018-2022).