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Friday, August 19, 2022

National Science Foundation chooses professor to lead directorate

The National Science Foundation selected a UF engineering professor to serve as assistant director for the Directorate of Engineering, known as the ENG.

UF professor Pramod P. Khargonekar will retain his position at the university while leading the ENG directorate with an annual budget of more than $800 million.

He said he is “most excited about the opportunity to provide leadership in engineering research and education.”

ENG invests in frontier engineering research and education, cultivates an innovation ecosystem and develops the next-generation engineer, according to a press release.

Khargonekar served as the dean of the College of Engineering from 2001 to 2009. Most recently, he has been a member of NSF’s Engineering Advisory Committee, where he provided guidance to ENG on strategic directions, according to the release.

Kyle Collins, a 22-year-old UF electrical computer engineering senior, said he was excited to see a professor who teaches in his major receive this recognition.

“I’ve always known that our program is extremely, extremely good, and this just kind of solidifies that even more,” he said.

Khargonekar’s engineering research encompasses smart grid and renewable energy, semiconductor manufacturing, and modeling and control of neural systems.

Khargonekar said he believes his appointment will enhance visibility and recognition for both the College of Engineering and UF. He will begin his NSF appointment in March.

“When someone gets recognized this highly for what he does, it certainly looks good on the university,” Collins said.

NSF Director Subra Suresh said in the release that Khargoneker brings leadership and creativity in engineering research.

“He has helped pioneer interdisciplinary efforts between the biological and engineering research communities and demonstrated a deep appreciation for developing the STEM workforce, which is an NSF priority,” Suresh said.

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