About Panch

Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan is a transformational leader whose human-centered efforts have led to positive change on a global scale. His unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence have made significant, meaningful and long-lasting impact in the areas of higher education, research, economic development and entrepreneurship and innovation. 

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"My personal mission is to inspire, empower and serve humanity through life-changing innovations that have the potential to alter the face of how we view 'different abilities' on a global scale." – Panch


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Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan Executive Vice President, ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development Chief Research and Innovation Officer Director, Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC) Foundation Chair in Computing and Informatics

Leading a cultural academic revolution

At Arizona State University, Panch leads the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, which advances research, entrepreneurship, international development, strategic partnerships, and economic development. The office oversees several research institutes that develop cross-disciplinary solutions to global challenges such as sustainability energy, pandemic diseases and global security. Under Panch’s leadership, ASU’s research enterprise has nearly quadrupled in size, to more than half a billion dollars in research expenditures.

Creating meaningful impact

In his leadership role at ASU, Panch advances the mission of making higher education accessible at an unprecedented scale, while still maintaining the highest levels of excellence. This ambitious undertaking has led to ASU being named the most innovative university in the U.S. for four years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Panch also mentors graduate, undergraduate and even high school students in his lab, helping them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers and contribute to society. Panch achieves his most significant and meaningful professional successes by empowering others to reach their greatest personal potential.

A respected national leader

A sought-after national leader and innovator, in 2014, Panch was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. National Science Board (NSB). He was asked to further contribute to the board in his role of chairman of NSB’s Committee on Strategy, which analyzed and advised on the strategic direction of the National Science Foundation. In 2018, Panch was named to the NSB committees on External Engagement and National S&E Policy. Panch has devoted himself to advancing the agenda for science and technology, developing a globally competitive workforce and championing innovation in education through his leadership roles on national boards and councils. His service as a member of the National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an appointment he accepted from former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, provides a platform from which to advance strategic public and private partnerships. As chair of the Council on Research of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Panch leads the Taskforce on Managing University Intellectual Property, which focuses on university patents promoting public good and economic development.

A commitment to global service

Growing up in India, Panch was raised by parents who taught him the value of hard work, giving back and finding ways to make a tangible difference in the world around him. As a youth, he volunteered his time to the local public highway commission and taught math and English to disadvantaged middle and high school students in rural, under-served areas. Panch had a special affinity for those with different abilities in his community, and was driven to find ways to provide advantages to those that society classified as disadvantaged. Throughout the course of his career, Panch has given his time and talent to professional organizations worldwide that support and promote his own personal objective of advancing education through experience while encouraging an innovative spirt and an entrepreneurial mindset. Panch serves as Vice President for Membership and Strategic Initiatives, as well as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is also Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE).

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“I believe every human being has raw, untapped potential that can be realized with the right support and opportunity.” Panch