Ramakrishna received his Ph.D from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and after a postdoctoral fellowship in Switzerland, he joined the engineering faculty at ASU in 1985. He was named the Diane and Gary Tooker Professor of Materials Sciences and Engineering in 2011 at the Fulton Schools of Engineering. He was the director of ASU’s Grand Challenge Scholars program from 2009 to 2013 and later a member of the Humanitarian engineering faculty. He is passionate about preparing engineers that not only have the necessary engineering skills but also the cross-disciplinary knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, global perspective and a sense of service needed to lead the world to meet the great challenges facing humankind in the 21st century.
He was awarded the Jefferson fellowship in 2013 to serve as a senior science and technology advisor to the Office of the US Secretary of State, where he helped guide US’s international relations through the lens of “engineering for sustainable development” and provided intellectual, technical and strategic leadership on policies and priorities in the areas of health, education, energy, infrastructure, economic growth and governance.
He “retired” from ASU in 2016 and joined the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C. as the director of the newly created Grand Challenges Scholars Program Network. The primary goal of the network office is to facilitate the inspiration of the next generation and to help prepare the future talent around the US and across the world that can adequately address the challenges facing humankind in the 21st century.