Kaushik Rajashekara, a Distinguished Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Cullen College of Engineering, has gained another prestigious membership affiliation, thanks to his visits and his lectures in China, which started about 18 years ago.
The Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) is the highest honorary and advisory academic institution in that nation's fields of engineering sciences and technology, with prestige similar to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Rajashekara was elected for the CAE, which is the highest academic title in China.
“When my friend, who is a professor at Tsinghua University, called me and told that I was selected as a Foreign Member of CAE, I was very surprised and felt honored,” Rajashekara said. “He also mentioned that this was the first time I was nominated, and I was selected this first time, which generally does not happen. Unlike the U.S NAE, where the new members are selected every year, in CAE the election is done once every two years, and they only select 20 foreign members. This is a big news in China, and I received so many congratulatory messages, even from people I do not know in China. I really feel that this is a major accomplishment.”
Membership in the CAE is based on a nomination and vote by existing CAE members, and based on significant contributions and impact. Rajashekara said that he first visited China in 2004, as part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) program to share information and expertise in the area of Energy and Environment.
“My visit was organized by the United Nations Development Program for China,” he said. “As the UN’s development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve sustainable development goals. As a part of this program, I gave seminars on Energy & Environment, and Renewable Energy technologies at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. I was recognized as a short term scholar under the UNDP China program and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchange.”
Following that initial visit, Rajashekara has continued to provide talks to students, researchers and professors in the country.
“For about the last 10 years, I have been associated with several Chinese universities. I was selected as Qiushi Honorary Chair professor at Zhejiang University for three years, from 2014 to 2017, and I'm presently an honorary professor there,” he said. “I am also a Guest Professor at the Harbin Institute of Technology, the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). I am also an Advisory Board Member of the Control and Automation Department of Tsinghua University.”
Rajashekara is a distinguished graduate of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, where he earned his B.S., M.S. and doctorate. For 12 years, he served as a senior project engineer and staff project engineer for Delphi and General Motors, followed by five years as the chief scientist and technical fellow for Advanced Propulsion and Energy Systems for Delphi from 2001 to 2006. Early in his career at General Motors/Delphi, Rajashekara was a member of the team that helped develop the General Motors EV1, the first mass-produced electric car from a major automaker.
He served as the chief technologist for Electric Power & Control Systems at the Rolls-Royce Corporation from May 2006 through 2012, before transitioning into a Distinguished Professor of Engineering role at the University of Texas at Dallas from August 2012 through August 2016. Rajashekara joined the Cullen College of Engineering in September 2016.
In addition to his membership in the CAE, Rajashekara is also a member of the NAE (2012) for contributions to electric power conversion systems in transportation, and a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (2015). He is also a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (2012).
In 2019, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Power Electronics Society presented him with the inaugural Vehicle and Transportation Systems Achievement Award. This was followed by the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies in 2021.