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Krish Thiagarajan Named to Endowed Chair in Renewable Energy at UMass Amherst

AMHERST — Krish Thiagarajan, an expert on marine renewable energy and energy-producing offshore structures, has been appointed to the endowed chair in Renewable Energy in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

The chair was established in 2014 with $2.5 million in funding from the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to attract a preeminent scholar in the field to provide leadership in positioning both the university and the Commonwealth to take advantage of opportunities in emerging areas of renewable energy. Thiagarajan will collaborate with DOER staff on renewable-energy research and projects.

Thiagarajan’s studies focus on harvesting energy from waves in marine environments. His expertise will broaden and strengthen the research program in renewable energy at UMass Amherst, which has long been a national leader in wind energy. His appointments as endowed chair and professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with tenure were approved June 20 by the university’s board of trustees.

Thiagarajan came to UMass Amherst last spring after serving six years as the presidential chair in Energy at the University of Maine, where his research attracted more than $22 million in funding. At Maine, he also led the Marine Ocean and Offshore Research (MOOR) Group, which studied how human-made structures interact with the complex ocean environment. MOOR’s focus spanned offshore wind and wave energy systems, coastal infrastructure, and naval architecture.

From 1997 to 2011, Thiagarajan taught at the University of Western Australia in Perth, where he was on the faculty of the Centre for Oil and Gas Engineering, which became a school in 2003. He was a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore in 2011 and at the University of Michigan in 2005, a visiting associate professor at the University of Houston in 2001, and a lecturer at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania in 1995-97.

Thiagarajan is a fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He is the author or co-author of a book, a book chapter, nearly 40 journal articles, and more than 80 conference papers.

Thiagarajan completed his bachelor’s degree in naval architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras in 1986. He earned a master’s degree in ocean engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1989 before pursuing further graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and naval architecture and marine engineering, both in 1992, and a Ph.D. in naval architecture and marine engineering in 1993. He was a research fellow in marine hydrodynamics at the University of Michigan in 1993-95.