SUNY Board of Trustees and SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors Announce the Appointment of Dr. Ramasubramanian as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, and President of the SUNY Research Foundation

August 29, 2023

Appointee Will Drive SUNY's Systemwide Commitment to Bolster Academic Excellence and Double Research Investment Across Campuses

Photos of Dr. Ramasubramanian Can Be Found Here

Albany, NY – The State University of New York Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to name Dr. Melur K. "Ram" Ramasubramanian as executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. Dr. Ramasubramanian's appointment — which is effective November 6, 2023 — was announced officially by the SUNY Board of Trustees and SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. following a special meeting. Dr. Ramasubramanian will help Chancellor King drive academic excellence across SUNY as well as work to double research across SUNY campuses.

Dr. Ramasubramanian was also approved by the SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors as president of the SUNY Research Foundation. The SUNY Board of Trustees and SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors unified these leadership roles in recognition of the seamless integration necessary to achieve SUNY's ambitious academic, research, and scholarship goals.

The SUNY Board of Trustees stated, "We are excited to welcome Dr. Ramasubramanian as he joins SUNY to help us push academic excellence to new heights and advance upward mobility for our students and communities. At the same time, we are grateful to Dr. F. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik for her outstanding work and partnership as interim provost in addition to her roles in research and as a faculty member.

"We are in a critical period for our state and our nation in research and innovation, and Dr. Ramasubramanian will assist in directing federal and New York State investment for faculty and students to lead research projects to help solve our society's greatest issues. SUNY provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff alike, and Dr. Ramasubramanian is well positioned to help SUNY build on this noble work," the SUNY Board of Trustees added.

SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors Chair Daniel C. Tomson said, "We welcome Dr. Ramasubramanian to the SUNY Research Foundation and the greater SUNY research community. Dr. Ramasubramanian brings a unique and multidimensional portfolio of institutional leadership and research growth success matching our collective goal to maximize SUNY's research, innovation, and entrepreneurial capacity to solve global challenges and transform lives."

"Dr. Ramasubramanian came to our country with few financial resources but an incredible drive to get the most from his education. He is an inspiration to first-generation college students like himself and to every student taking advantage of what an excellent education at SUNY can provide," said SUNY Chancellor King. "Every New Yorker has a place at SUNY, and, through significant New York State investment, we are gathering resources to better ensure our students' success in earning their credential or degree. Dr. Ramasubramanian will help us build on the robust academic programs our campuses are known for and help champion SUNY's research efforts, including doubling the funding necessary to attract faculty members and facilitate cutting-edge projects. My team and I are looking forward to the work ahead."

Dr. Ramasubramanian said, "I am honored to be appointed as executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and SUNY System provost and president of the SUNY Research Foundation. This is an exciting opportunity to have a direct impact on upward mobility for students and the growth of research at this tremendous scale. I am grateful to SUNY Board Chairman Merryl Tisch, Research Foundation Board Chairman Daniel Tomson, the entire Board of Trustees of SUNY and the RF, and Chancellor King for their support. I am ready to get started with Chancellor King and the team of senior leaders, faculty, and staff to make SUNY the best system of higher education."

Dr. Ramasubramanian, a first-generation college graduate, recently served as vice president for research at the University of Virginia and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. In his role as vice president, he increased research expenditures by nearly two thirds in just over four years. Prior to UVA, he was program director for engineering research centers at the National Science Foundation. UVA President Jim Ryan said, "In addition to being an exceptional researcher, Ram is a true team player. During his time as vice president for research, he led his team in helping the university respond to unprecedented challenges, and I am deeply grateful."

Dr. F. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik will continue as interim provost before returning to her permanent role as senior vice chancellor for research, innovation, and economic development for SUNY System Administration as well as continuing to serve at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as a professor of nanoengineering.

Chancellor King said, "Our thanks to Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik, who has been particularly instrumental in developing SUNY's vision to support the future of semiconductor manufacturing. Shadi will continue to be central to this work as we help meet Governor Hochul's vision to create jobs, orchestrate economic growth, and advance sustainability through the Green CHIPS program."

Dr. Ramasubramanian's appointment marks the first time in recent history that one individual is holding both the role of System Administration provost and president of SUNY Research Foundation simultaneously. The change in direction aligns the two organizations more closely as SUNY expands research across its colleges and universities and as New York State invests in future research in semiconductors, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and more. Former RF President Dr. Jeffrey M. Cheek announced his retirement earlier this year.

RF Board Chair Tomson said, "For over seven years and through extraordinary times, Dr. Cheek led the RF with effectiveness and efficiency, vastly improving core operations and achieving new levels of service in support of campus research administration, technology commercialization, and SUNY's research enterprise as a whole. We are all extremely grateful for the many valued and lasting contributions he has made."

University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi, who chaired the search, said, "A highly accomplished educator, researcher, and administrator, Dr. Ramasubramanian brings to these important leadership roles impressive experience, wide-ranging achievements, and an exemplary dedication to academic and research excellence that will serve Chancellor King's vision — and by extension, our system — exceptionally well. As a key member of Chancellor King's team, Dr. Ramasubramanian is deeply committed to expanding SUNY’s research portfolio, enhancing access to higher education, and ensuring that our SUNY system thrives on the values of equity and inclusion. UB's scholarly community looks forward to working with him to build upon SUNY's reputation as a premier system of public higher education that is positively impacting our state and our world."

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said, "Dr. Ramasubramanian stood out in the candidate pool for his unparalleled, career-long commitment to academic research. I'm certain he will help to further expand SUNY's programs and partnerships and lead students and faculty toward greater discoveries and learning opportunities."

University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez said, "The University at Albany seeks to enhance the visibility, reach, and impact of its innovative research enterprise and excellent academic programs, both nationally and globally, with a focus on student success. We are excited to partner with Dr. Ramasubramanian, who has extensive experience in these areas as he develops his agenda as the new SUNY provost to support our campuses with a focus on academic excellence and research innovation. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Ramasubramanian as we continue to build and expand the role and impact of SUNY's research universities throughout the state and across the globe. UAlbany is delighted to welcome Dr. Ramasubramanian as our SUNY provost and president of the SUNY Research Foundation."

UAlbany Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Kim said, "As a member of the search committee, I was especially impressed by Dr. Ramasubramanian's strategic vision and keen understanding of how a university system can best leverage its strengths in academics and research to meet the needs of students in our rapidly changing world. His great energy and wealth of experience well suit him for this position."

One search committee member, Farmingdale State College President John S. Nader, said, "Dr. Ramasubramanian is the ideal person to advance Chancellor King's four pillars of SUNY's future. His unique portfolio of work in STEM will raise SUNY's profile as a global leader in technology and scientific research. Equally important, as a first-generation college student, he grasps SUNY's historic mission as an engine of opportunity for all New Yorkers."

SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles, another member of the search committee, said, "We at SUNY Geneseo are delighted to welcome Dr. Ramasubramanian to his new role and the SUNY family. Dr. Ramasubramanian’s background as a first-generation student and his impressive academic and research leadership experience admirably position him to support students’ upward mobility and advance academic excellence, which are key priorities for our institution. We look forward to partnering with him as he joins Chancellor King's leadership team."

North Country Community College President Joseph Keegan, who also participated in the search, said, "We share SUNY's excitement to have Dr. Ramasubramanian joining the SUNY system and taking on this new role. His experience, both professional and personal, is very impressive and aligns well with Chancellor King's vision for SUNY. Dr. Ramasubramanian’s experience in working with community colleges and understanding of the different metrics used to measure their success is encouraging as we work together to ensure that there is a place for everyone at SUNY."

Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said, "Stony Brook shares Dr. Ramasubramanian’s focus on upward mobility given that many of our students are the first in their families to attend college. With his extensive leadership portfolio in areas such as neuroscience, environmental resilience and sustainability, and medicine, I’m eager to explore academic and research possibilities with Dr. Ramasubramanian that will not only prepare our students for careers in today's high-demand STEM fields but will elevate our research impact and prominence to benefit New York State and beyond in these and other areas. His appointment offers a bright path forward for Stony Brook and campuses across the SUNY system."

About Dr. Melur K. "Ram" Ramasubramanian

Dr. Ramasubramanian joins SUNY from the University of Virginia, where he has been vice president for research and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. There, he developed and led a strategy to grow research focused on five key areas: democracy, digital technology and society, environmental resilience and sustainability, brain and neuroscience, and precision medicine. The strategy has already yielded significant gains in research expenditures for UVA from a base of $397 million in FY2016 to $611 million in FY2021, which led to a rise in the university's ranking by the National Science Foundation during that time from 56 to 48. In addition, new awards rose from $353 million in FY2017 to $532 million in FY2023, a record for UVA. To date, nearly $1 billion has been committed by UVA for 66 different strategic initiatives including research infrastructure, professorships, scholarships, and large investments in the five strategic focus areas.

At the same time, Dr. Ramasubramanian directed key investments to expand UVA's capacity in the areas of brain and neurosciences, environmental resilience, digital technology and society, and precision health. He also developed and directed a seed-funding program to support early-stage interdisciplinary research concepts that provided funding for 77 teams across schools of three faculty members each, granting each team $60K per project, including student support. He also developed and executed an annual faculty awards program to recognize excellence in research and scholarship.

Prior to his years at UVA, Dr. Ramasubramanian was program director for engineering research centers at the National Science Foundation's Division of Engineering Education and Centers. He was a faculty member at Clemson University as a D.W. Reynolds Distinguished Professor and department chair for mechanical engineering. He started his career as an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Ramasubramanian is a first-generation graduate who arrived in the United States with modest financial resources after earning his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Durgapur, India. He received a master's degree in applied science from Miami University and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University.

About SUNY Research Foundation

The SUNY Research Foundation (RF) is the largest comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country. It provides essential administrative services that enable State University of New York (SUNY) faculty to focus their efforts on educating students and performing life-changing research across a wide range of disciplines including Artificial Intelligence, Clean Energy, Biotechnology, Longevity, Substance Addiction, Nextgen Quantum Computing, Environmental Health, and Resiliency. The RF works with the academic and business leadership of SUNY campuses to facilitate research and discovery by administering sponsored projects and delivering intellectual property and technology transfer services that fuel innovation and move ideas and inventions to the marketplace. The RF is a private non-profit education corporation that is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c) (3).

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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