Dr. Venke Sankaran, a member of the scientific and professional cadre of senior executives, is the Acting Chief Scientist in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research of the Air Force Research Laboratory. In this role, he is the principal science and technology adviser to the director in matters of formulation, planning, managing and integration of the Air Force’s $500 million basic research investment. Each year, AFOSR selects, sponsors and manages revolutionary basic research around the world and transitions resulting discoveries to other components of AFRL, to defense industries and to other federal agencies.
Prior to this assignment, Dr. Sankaran served as a Senior Scientist for Rocket Propulsion, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, California. He was responsible for mentoring and guiding the development of dedicated technical staff to respond to Air Force near- and long-term research and development needs in the field of rocket propulsion. Dr. Sankaran also provided expert technical consultation to Air Force organizations, the Department of Defense and other government agencies and to universities and industry.
Prior to joining the Air Force, he was at the Army's Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center at Ames Research Center, where he served as the architect and technical lead of the Helios rotorcraft simulation software platform. He has also served as research faculty at Penn State University's Propulsion Engineering Research Center, University of Tennessee Space Institute, Purdue University's Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, NASA Ames Research Center and University of California Santa Cruz's University Affiliated Research Center. During his years in academia, Dr. Sankaran has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses and mentored graduate students.
The author of more than 100 technical papers, Dr. Sankaran has been actively involved in several funded programs involving rocket propulsion, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and plasmas. His research has been instrumental in the development of preconditioning algorithms for extending computational fluid dynamics methods to all flow regimes, including all Mach numbers, viscous-dominated regions, unsteady flows, generalized equations of state and multiphase flows. His current research focuses on liquid rocket combustion instability prediction and on the development of advanced physical modeling and computational methodologies for solid, liquid and electric propulsion systems.
1984 Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Madurai Kamraj University, India
1988 Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Penn State University, University Park
1990 Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering, Penn State University, University Park
1. 1990 - 1998, Senior Research Associate, Penn State University, University Park
2. 1998 - 2003, Research Professor, University of Tennessee Space Institute, Tullahoma
3. 2003 - 2006, Senior Researcher, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
4. 2006 - 2008, Senior Scientist, University of California Santa Cruz, Moffett Field
5. 2008 - 2011, Aerospace Engineer, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
6. 2011 - 2012, Senior Scientist for Rocket Propulsion, Propulsion Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
7. 2012 - 2019 Senior Scientist for Rocket Propulsion, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards AFB, Calif.
8. 2019 - present, Acting Chief Scientist, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Va.
AWARDS AND HONORS
1992 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Outstanding Paper Award
1995 - 2003, Visiting Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
2000 NASA Group Achievement Award
2008 NASA Group Achievement Award
2010 DOD CREATE Program Outstanding Technical Innovation Award
2010 DOD CREATE Program Outstanding Technical Paper Award
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Associate Fellow
American Society of Mechanical Engineers - Fellow
(Current as of February 2019)