I am pleased to inform you that Venkat Venkatakrishnan has been appointed as Director of Research for the Discovery Partners Institute after a national search for the position. Venkat has served as DPI interim director of research since April 2020. Venkat comes to DPI from the University of Illinois Chicago College of Engineering where he served as associate dean for research and graduate studies, with a faculty appointment as a professor in the department of Computer Science. In his new role at DPI, Venkat will work with faculty and leadership across the University of Illinois System campuses and our partners in building DPI's research and development portfolio.
Venkat's primary research interests are in cybersecurity, and he is well known for his work in the security analysis of software applications, cyber-attack detection, and security policy enforcement. His research has won four best-paper awards in top cybersecurity venues. Venkat has received over $18 million of federal grants from federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Energy, as well as industrial sponsorship from IBM, Lucent and CACI. He led the creation of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. training program in cybersecurity with colleagues from five different colleges at UIC. Venkat received the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award in 2009, UIC's award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, and the University Scholar award in 2017. In his nearly three-year tenure as associate dean for research, he created several new initiatives that were instrumental in growing the faculty and raising UIC Engineering's research expenditures by 58% over that period.
In the past 12 months at DPI, Venkat led the strategic planning and operations of the R&D unit. He led an open, competitive process that led to the selection and establishment of DPI Science Teams. The DPI R&D team engages with the Science Teams to partner as well as mentor them to work on challenging problems at the intersection of key industrial sectors and computing capabilities. So far, DPI has funded 9 science teams across the sectors of health and wellness, food and agriculture, infrastructure, and information technology. Venkat established excellent collaborative partnerships with faculty and leadership at the three campuses during this period and is rapidly advancing the progress on top-down as well as bottom-up approaches towards fulfilling the DPI R&D mission.
Venkat's commitment to excellence in research, his leadership experience, his dedication to the success and well-being of colleagues and students, and his passion and entrepreneurial outlook towards the DPI research and development mission make him an outstanding choice for this position.
Please join me in congratulating Venkat for taking on this exciting role as we together pursue DPI's mission of economic development for the State of Illinois.
Interim Executive Director, Discovery Partners Institute