Dr. Shyam Sunder is Senior Science Advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. As a member of the agency’s core senior executive team, he provides advice on—as well as assesses and addresses—a broad range of strategic, operational, and programmatic priorities. Dr. Sunder has extensive experience in technology innovation, measurement science and standards, and the strategic and operational management of laboratory-based research and technology programs—including legislative-mandates, technology transfer, and safety management systems.
Dr. Sunder is working in partnership with the NIST Director to plan, organize, and guide the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative—a top NIST priority to advance the President’s Management Agenda by assessing, streamlining, and accelerating the transfer of technology from Lab-to-Market. He led recent efforts to strengthen Export Controls Management and Incident Management at NIST, a complex R&D organization which requires a unique operating environment to execute its mission.
Dr. Sunder’s prior positions include senior science advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce (2013-17), founding director of NIST’s Engineering Laboratory (2010-13), director of its Building and Fire Research Laboratory (2006-10), and chief of BFRL’s Structures and Materials Division (1998-2004). He guided strategic development and operational implementation of NIST’s Disaster Resilience and Cyber-Physical Systems (IoT) programs; contributed to development of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business” Strategic Plan, advancing its Innovation, Data, Operational Excellence Goals; repositioned the National Technical Information Service—one of 12 Commerce bureaus—to meet a 21st century national need and become a driving force for delivering Innovative Data Services through joint venture partnerships with the private sector; and transformed the Commerce Department’s Office of Chief Information Officer through new leadership and significantly improved service delivery and cybersecurity.
Dr. Sunder earlier served on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981-94), where he received Master of Science (1979) and Doctor of Science (1981) degrees. He earned a Bachelor of Technology with Distinction (1977) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Dr. Sunder is Immediate Past President (2016-19) of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), was a member of the Board of Directors of ASTM International (2011-13), and has served on several national and international advisory boards. He founded and co-chaired two interagency panels of the White House National Science and Technology Council that set the federal R&D agenda for Cyber-Physical Systems (2012-2013) and Net-Zero Energy High-Performance Buildings (2007–2011).
Dr. Sunder is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive (2017).
He received the Gold Medal Award (2005) from the U.S. Department of Commerce, its highest honor, for distinguished leadership of the federal building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Dr. Sunder was elected to the National Academy of Construction (2012) and received NIST’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award (1997), the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1991) from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Chair (1985-87) and Henry L. Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization (1987-89) from MIT.