Diwakar Shukla 

Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla is among 84 highly accomplished early-career engineers selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering 2022 U.S.-based symposium. Engineers who are performing exceptional research and technical work in a variety of disciplines will come together for the two-and-a-half-day event. The participants — from industry, academia, and government — were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations.

“It is a privilege to be chosen to discuss how best to harness engineering to benefit our society with so many distinguished early-career engineers,” Shukla said, whose work is focused on understanding complex biological processes using physics-based models and techniques at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Shukla earned a bachelor’s and a master’s of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in Mumbai, India. He went on to earn a master’s of science and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hosted by Amazon from Sept. 21–23, 2022, in Seattle, Washington, the symposium will explore four themes:

  • Microbes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Conversational AI
  • Technology and Racial Justice and Equity
  • Hydrogen: A New “Universal” Energy Carrier for the Carbon-Free Future

“The ability to envision what is not yet possible, to create solutions to today’s problems that benefit all of society in the future, and to be open, inclusive, and diverse in our thinking and the abilities of ourselves and others — these are the hallmarks of outstanding engineers,” said NAE President John L. Anderson (MS ’69, PhD ’79). “The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering symposium helps foster this collaborative spirit in young U.S.-based engineers by bringing a diverse group together from different technical areas and work sectors to spark innovation, broaden their perspectives on new approaches to engineering problems, and develop long-term relationships that are critical in advancing our nation’s future.”

Since the program’s inception in 1995, nearly 5,000 early-career engineers have participated in previous symposia, many of whom have gone on to become national leaders in the engineering community, according to Anderson. Several chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty members have taken part including Simon Rogers (2020), Charles Sing (2018), Ying Diao (2017), Brendan Harley (2016), Charles M. Schroeder (2012), Huimin Zhao (2009), and Paul J. A. Kenis (2008).

In addition to The Grainger Foundation, sponsors for the 2022 U.S.-based symposium are Amazon, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and Cummins.

The mission of the NAE is to advance the welfare and prosperity of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.

Written by Claire Benjamin, Associate Director of Communications, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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