Ramesh Named Rice University Vice President for Research | Rice News | News and Media Relations

Ramamoorthy Ramesh

Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a condensed matter physicist and materials scientist with more than 25 years in academia, industry, national labs and government departments, has been named Rice University’s vice president for research.

Ramesh currently holds the Purnendu Chatterjee Chair in Energy Technologies and is also a professor of physics and materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His appointment comes at a time when Rice, under new president Reginald DesRoches, plans to strengthen his commitment to research.

As Vice President for Research, Ramesh will oversee the institution’s internal and external research activities. He will work with Rice’s senior leadership — along with deans, faculty and staff — to strengthen the university’s research infrastructure and drive productivity to new heights.

Ramesh will take over on August 15. He succeeds Yousif Shamoo, who served as vice provost for research for eight years, and Doug Natelson, who has served on an interim basis since June.

“Ramesh comes to Rice with a distinguished research career and a wealth of experience and knowledge in various types of research ventures,” said DesRoches. “I am confident he will be a transformational leader who can cement Rice’s reputation as a center of ever-expanding and broader interdisciplinary research that maintains a deep commitment to pedagogy and the student experience.”

Ramesh said he is excited to come to Rice and join a strong research team committed to pursuing a broad scientific and technological framework to solve the most pressing problems of our generation.

“Building on its rapidly expanding research portfolio, Rice has the potential to further strengthen and expand its engagement with public and private funding agencies and be the science and technology beacon for the world,” he said. “I look forward to helping make that happen and participating on behalf of the university in various national, national and international forums relevant to the research enterprise Rice.”

Ramesh is an internationally recognized leader in materials science and physics with:
energy applications. He has held a number of leadership positions at Berkeley, including director of the Berkeley Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Institute, founding director of the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, deputy director of science and technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and associate laboratory director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

At the SunShot initiative, Ramesh worked under former energy secretary and Nobel laureate Steven Chu to lead a $300 million-a-year initiative that aimed to reduce the cost of solar electricity to grid parity, without the aid of federal or state subsidies. . He set the science and technology agenda, set funding priorities, and oversaw solar research and development activities in US national labs. The program has been lauded for deploying solar electricity on a large scale around the world.

In his role at Oak Ridge, Ramesh oversaw one of the nation’s largest research and development programs in materials and natural sciences, energy and engineering, computational sciences, biological and environmental sciences, neutron science, and global security. The lab’s annual research portfolio at the time was approximately $1.5 billion.

Ramesh’s appointment to Rice comes after a nationwide search was launched in January by Isaacson, Miller, one of the leading executive search firms in the country. The effort was led by an 11-member committee of faculty, staff and administrators led by Edward Knightly and Peter Rossky. Knightly is the Sheafor-Lindsay professor of electrical and computer engineering and a professor of computer science. Peter Rossky is the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

“Ramesh has the perfect track record and leadership skills to take Rice’s research to new heights,” Knightly said.

“In addition to his remarkable depth and broad experience, Ramesh brings an exceptional level of personal dynamism that will undoubtedly fuel Rice’s on-campus research venture,” said Rossky.

Ramesh holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Madras University, a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and a master’s and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from UC Berkeley.

Before returning to Berkeley in 2004, Ramesh served on the technical staff of Bell Communications Research, and served as an associate professor, professor, and eventual distinguished university professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Maryland.

Ramesh has over 600 publications and over 98,000 citations. He has delivered over 300 invited/plenary/keynote talks and received many awards. He was named a Citation Laureate in 2014 for his research on multiferroics and was elected a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2011. He was also named a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London in 2020 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy in 2022. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Materials Research Society.

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