Andrei Shkel Named New Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

Andrei Shkel will bring considerable leadership and innovation experience to the position of associate dean for research and innovation.

Feb. 28, 2024 - Andrei Shkel, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will serve as the Samueli School’s next associate dean for research and innovation, beginning July 1, 2024. He will replace Efi Foufoula-Georgiou who has served in the position since it was created in 2017.

Shkel brings considerable leadership and innovation experience to the position and is looking forward to the new role. He said it is a great opportunity to contribute to research development beyond his individual research interests. “My goal is to better understand the research of my colleagues, identify relevant opportunities and find a way to respond effectively to those opportunities,” he said. “There is a huge unrealized potential for meaningful collaborations between our faculty in the school of engineering and colleagues in physical sciences, biological sciences, information and computer sciences, and the medical school.”

Shkel joined the UCI faculty in 2000. From 2009 to 2013, he took a leave from academia to serve as a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, he initiated and managed a $200 million investment portfolio in microtechnology development, overseeing research from 20 companies, 16 universities, six national labs and seven government organizations. He has been on a number of editorial boards and is currently serving as the editor-in-chief of IEEE Sensors Letters Journal. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and IEEE, and is a past president of the IEEE Sensors Council. He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service in 2013 and the John Vig Meritorious Service Award from the IEEE Sensors Council in 2023. Shkel was named the Samueli School of Engineering Innovator of the Year in 2020.

His research interests, reflected in over 300 publications, three books and 43 issued U.S. patents, include high performance inertial sensors, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), implantable vestibular prosthetics and navigation systems. Today his laboratory plays a worldwide leadership role in the development of chip-scale gyroscopes, inertial measurement units and self-contained navigation systems. 

As the new associate dean, Shkel says his immediate focus will be to implement the recommendations of two task forces he has been involved with to study the school’s research centers and cleanrooms. “There is a wealth of information in these studies, and realization of recommendations from those studies will undoubtedly elevate the school’s stature.” He said his second immediate goal is to find an effective way to identify relevant funding opportunities, inspire faculty to pursue these opportunities, and support them along the way. “There are prospects with the DoD and industry, and I hope my prior experiences and hands-on involvement will make a difference,” he said.

With nearly 25 years on the faculty, Shkel is particularly enthused about working with the newer faculty hired over the past few years. “We have a super talented group of young faculty who’ve recently joined us,” he said. “I see a rewarding opportunity to help our young colleagues to launch their successful careers at UCI.”

– Lori Brandt