Dr. Shyam Sunder is Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this role, he provides advice on a broad range of strategic, operational, and programmatic issues/priorities, including information technology systems and services, IT enterprise architecture, shared services, Big Data, innovation, disaster resilience and environmental adaptation, operational excellence, and strategic planning and policy development. Dr. Sunder is on assignment from the National Institute of Standards and Technology where he is Senior Advisor for Laboratory Programs, a critical new position created in 2013 to support NIST as it expands programs in support of the Nation’s innovation agenda.
Dr. Sunder brings a wealth of university and government experience working in partnership with industry, having served as a Laboratory Director (2006-2013) and Division Chief (1998-2004) among his other positions at NIST and, before that, as a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981-1994).
Prior to his current role, Dr. Sunder was the founding director of NIST’s Engineering Laboratory—the primary federal laboratory serving the U.S. manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure industries with an annual budget of $90 million, 260 employees, and about 150 guest researchers from industry, university, and foreign laboratories.
Dr. Sunder is President of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) and serves on the scientific advisory board of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate. He also:
- Served on the boards of ASTM International, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Construction Industry Institute and NRC-Canada’s Institute for Research in Construction.
- Served as founding co-chair of two highly successful interagency efforts under the aegis of the White House National Science and Technology Council: the Buildings Technology R&D Subcommittee and the Cyber-Physical Systems Senior Steering Group for the Networking and Information Technology Subcommittee.
- Established lead agency function and led oversight for the $125 million/year U.S. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.
- Led the federal building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Dr. Sunder the Gold Medal, its highest honor, for his leadership of NIST’s World Trade Center Investigation. He also received the Equal Employment Opportunity Award from NIST and was elected to the National Academy of Construction in 2012. Dr. Sunder holds a bachelor of technology (honors) degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and a master of science and a doctor of science degree in engineering from MIT.