Industry/Academia Panel Session

Session Title: Managing Innovation in Control Technology and Applications: Insights from Industry and Academia

Monday August 28 @ 6:15 - 7:45 p.m.

Hale Hoaloha Pavilion

Panel Chair

  • Tariq Samad (University of Minnesota)


  • Ankur Ganguli (General Motors)
  • Atul Kelkar (NSF and Iowa State University)
  • Andres Marcos (University of Bristol)
  • Mark Spong (University of Texas at Dallas)


When focusing on industrial applications and societal benefit, conversations in the control community need to turn from theorems and algorithms to innovation and technology management. Theory and rigor will always distinguish control from most engineering disciplines, but it has become increasingly critical to connect the dots that lead to viable products, solutions, and services. This is no abstract objective; it is intimately connected to the visibility and impact of our field, to our ability to attract the best students, and to maintain and even enhance support for our foundational research.

This panel convenes a number of leaders in control science and engineering, with experience across industry, academia, and government, to discuss how the impact of control technology can be furthered. Questions that the panel will address include the following:
  • How can societal imperatives in clean energy, smart transportation, intelligent manufacturing, and other fields inform research and development in control?
  • Can we identify best practices and capture lessons learnt in academic/industry collaborations?
  • What programs can universities offer in technology management and innovation that can help the control research community get out of its shell?
  • How should researchers interested in commercializing their inventions proceed?
  • Are the tools of control theory relevant to innovation and technology management processes?

The session will begin with presentations by the chair and panelists, focusing on one or more of the above questions. A moderated discussion will follow, delving into details based on common interests of the panelists and audience participation. We will close with short statements from the panelists.
Tariq Samad (Session Chair) holds the Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair at the Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota. He was with Honeywell until 2016, retiring as Corporate Fellow and Global Innovation Leader. His interests relate broadly to automation, intelligence, and autonomy for complex engineering systems. Dr. Samad was President of IEEE Control Systems Society in 2009 and of the American Automatic Control Council in 2014-15. He is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC. He is editor-in-chief of IEEE Press. His publications include the Encyclopedia of Systems and Control (co-editor-in-chief, Springer, 2014) and The Impact of Control Technology reports (co-editor, IEEE CSS, 2008 and 2011). Dr. Samad holds a B.S. from Yale University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. He chairs the IFAC (Pilot) Industry Committee.
Ankur Ganguli is Director of Engineering for Propulsion Controls Software at General Motors, leading the development of safety critical, embedded controls software for engines, transmissions, and hybrid vehicles. Prior to joining General Motors she worked at Eaton where she held several positions leading various engineering teams in the area of automatic controls and safety critical systems for vehicle, hydraulics, and aerospace applications. Ankur received her B.E. (1998) from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India and M.S. & Ph.D. (2004) in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota, where she serves as a member of the department's advisory council. She is an honoree of the 2017 STEP Ahead awards, recognized for her contributions in science, technology, engineering and production.
Atul Kelkar Dr. Kelkar is a Program Director in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation at NSF. He is also Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Prior to joining NSF, he was Associate Chair for Research and Technology Transfer in Mechanical Engineering and also Professor-in-Charge, Industry Research and Entrepreneurship for the College of Engineering at Iowa State. He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, in 1993 while working as a Research Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. Dr. Kelkar is a Fellow of ASME and Associate Fellow of AIAA and a recipient of an NSF CAREER award. His research interests include modeling and control of aerospace systems, active control of vibrations and noise, and alternative energy technologies. Dr. Kelkar is also a co-founder of four technology start-ups that have garnered awards and have successfully commercialized new technologies. Dr. Kelkar's research and entrepreneurial success has led to significant national and regional media exposure.
Andres Marcos received his B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from St. Louis University and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. During 2004 - 2006 he was a research associate at the University of Leicester (UK). From 2006 to 2013 he was with Deimos-Space S.L.U., a Spanish space company, where we was lead engineer working on control and autonomy projects for the European Space Agency and the European Community. He also led EU-FP7 projects during this time. In 2013 Dr. Marcos joined the Aerospace Engineering department at the University of Bristol, where he formed and leads the Technology for Aerospace Control (TASC) group, TASC's current aeronautics projects ae funded by the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 framework program, the European Space Agency, and the U.K. Space Agency.
Mark Spong holds a B.A. from Hiram College, an M.S. from New Mexico State Uniersity, and M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. He is Dean of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he holds the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair and the Excellence in Education Chair. Prior to UTD he held faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cornell University, and Lehigh University. Dr. Spong is Past President of the IEEE Control Systems Society, and a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC. Dr. Spong's main research interests are in robotics, mechatronics, and nonlinear control theory. His notable awards include the Nyquist Lecture Prize from ASME, the Pioneer Award from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the IROS Fumio Harashima Award for Innovative Technologies, the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award, the Senior Scientist Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Distinguished Member Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society, the John R. Ragazzini and O. Hugo Schuck Awards from the American Automatic Control Council, and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal.