Prof. Ashutosh Sharma is a visionary academician who has made some exceptional interdisciplinary contributions in nanosciences and nanotechnology fields. From 2015-2021, he served 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 Center 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." He was selected as the President of Indian National Science Academy in 2022.
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 in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
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 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. In 2007, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award.