Prof. Ashutosh Sharma


Prof. Ashutosh Sharma is a visionary academician who has made some exceptional interdisciplinary contributions in nanosciences and nanotechnology fields. Since 9 January 2015, he has been serving as the Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. He is also the Institute Chair Professor & Founding Coordinator of DST Thematic Unit of Excellence on Soft Nanofabrication and Chairman of Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur since 2006. He is a recipient of the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award in engineering sciences for his "original pioneering contribution to the understanding of the behavior of thin films and other highly confined nanoscale systems." In 2007, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award.


Prof. Sharma received his B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1982. In 1983, he obtained his master's in the same subject from Pennsylvania State University and later joined the doctoral program at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and obtained a Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Eli Ruckenstein in 1987. For the next three years, he worked as a research scientist with the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York. In 1991, he moved back to India and joined IIT Kanpur as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He later served as a HOD from 2003 to 2005.

Prof. Sharma's research contributions are highly interdisciplinary, spanning a wide range of nanotechnology areas; carbon-based nanocomposites and MEMS/NEMS in energy, health, and environment; functional interfaces; micro/nano-mechanics of soft matter; nano-patterning and nanofabrication; colloid and interfacial engineering; biomaterials & bio surfaces; wetting, adhesion, and thin polymer films. He has made original pioneering contributions to the understanding of the behavior of thin films and other highly confined nanoscale systems. He has explained the instability and evolution of the morphology of thin films on homogeneous substrates by 3D nonlinear stability theory and experiments. He has proposed a new theory for the de-wetting of thin films on heterogeneous and patterned substrates leading to a novel method for the small-scale patterning of polymer films by templating. He has also discovered a new surface instability of the soft solid films that govern adhesion, peeling, friction, and associated interface phenomena. He has, so far, published 300= peer-reviewed papers, filed over 10 patents, given over 100 invited or keynote conference presentations, and mentored a nanotechnology startup.

In 2010, the Infosys Science Foundation awarded him with the Infosys Prize in Engineering and Computer Science for his "scholarly scientific contributions in the broad areas of nanoscale surface pattern evolution, instability, and the dynamics of thin liquid and solid films and soft matter." He is a recipient of numerous national and international awards including the inaugural Bessel Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation, Homi J. Bhabha Award for Applied Sciences, University Grants Commission (UGC) National Hari Om Ashram Trust Awards (2007) and R. C. Mehrotra Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award (2010). He is an elected fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences and Indian Academy of Sciences. He has also been an INAE Chair Professor from 2011 to 2013, and C V Seshadri Chair Professor, 2012.

Achievements and Honors

  • UNESCO Medal for outstanding scientific contributions to the development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies, 2017.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, State University of New York, SUNY Buffalo, 2016.
  • MRSI Distinguished Lectureship Award, Materials Research Society of India, 2011-12.
  • Syed Husain Zaheer Medal, INSA, 2011.
  • Kapitsa Gold Medal, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), 2010.
  • Elected Fellow, TWAS, 2010.
  • TWAS Prize in Engineering Sciences, Trieste, Italy, 2008.
  • Recipient of Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2007 by IIT Kanpur.
  • J. C. Bose National Fellowship, Department of Science & Technology, 2006.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2006.
  • RPG Life Sciences Padma Vibhushan Professor M. M. Sharma Medal and CHEMCON Distinguished Speaker Award, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2006.
  • Herdillia Award, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2003.
  • Maharashtra National Award, Indian Society for Technical Education, 1996.
  • Amar Dye Chem Award, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1995.
  • ISTE--SGSITS National Award, Indian Society for Technical Education, 1993.
  • Research Competition Award, School of Medicine, SUNY (Buffalo), 1988.
  • Indian National Merit Scholarship, 1977-82.