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March 5, 2009

Discovery Park administrator named Fulbright New Century Scholar

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Pankaj Sharma
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Pankaj Sharma, associate director of international operations at Purdue University's Discovery Park, has been named a Fulbright New Century Scholar, an appointment given this year to 30 top academics and professionals from the U.S. and abroad.

Sharma, a professor in Purdue's College of Technology, will collaborate with the 2009-10 class of Fulbright scholars on the theme, "The University as Innovation Driver and Knowledge Center," said Shirley Green, chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The Purdue professor will participate in meetings with Fulbright scholars in Maryland and Germany, focusing on higher education's role in national and global economic development. His project, titled "Discovery with Delivery," will focus on understanding challenges and opportunities in university-based economic development and innovation capacity in India.

The Fulbright New Century Scholar Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, was launched in March 2001 to support outstanding research scholars and professionals worldwide to engage in multidisciplinary collaboration on a topic of global significance and universal concern.

In addition to leading Discovery Park's international research initiatives, Sharma promotes the park's scientific, technological and entrepreneurial culture and facilitates interdisciplinary efforts with faculty, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other institutions and funding agencies.

Since joining the $400 million interdisciplinary research complex in 2002, Sharma has led several international symposia on nanotechnology, biotechnology and organizational leadership in India and the United States. He also was part of a Purdue contingent led by Purdue President France A. Córdova that met with academic and industry officials in India in November 2008.

Sharma, who moved to the United States from India 27 years ago, holds a doctoral degree in applied sciences and master's degrees in physics and business administration. He is an experimental nuclear physicist with expertise in application of radioactivity in dating and tracing.

Prior to joining Discovery Park, Sharma was associate director of the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory in the Department of Physics. He has worked extensively on the application of accelerator mass spectrometry and has published 90 research papers in journals.

The Fulbright Program, which was created in 1946, sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year to lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars helps the bureau administer the program.

From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the United States to set joint priorities to address major global challenges. In that time, the program has provided more than 286,000 participants with the opportunity to observe political, economic and cultural institutions and exchange ideas.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Shirley Green, 202-686-4000, fulbright@state.gov

Pankaj Sharma, (765) 496-7452, sharma@purdue.edu

Edwin Bodensiek, Fulbright Scholar Program, (202) 686-4014, ebodensiek@cies.iie.org

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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