The University of Alabama

UA Engineering Professor Appointed to German Research Association

Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, a professor and research center executive director in The University of Alabama College of Engineering, has been appointed to a prestigious post in the German scientific research community.

Balasubramanian is chair of the review panel for the transportation program within the Helmholtz Association, an umbrella organization of 18 German research centers that makes recommendations for research spending to the German government and its federal states. The Helmholtz Association members use independent, internationally-acknowledged experts to evaluate research activity, using their reports to make recommendations on research expenditures.

Tapped by association members as such an outside expert, Balasubramanian will lead the evaluation efforts in the transportation field, also serving on the Helmholtz Senate Commission in the Aeronautics, Space and Transport group, one of six general areas of scientific research funded through the association. His appointment lasts until September 2013.

Representing more than 32,000 employees and with an annual budget of close to $4.4 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organization.

The association is similar to federal agencies in the United States such as the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health that evaluate proposals from higher education institutions and industry researchers before granting research funding to the most promising proposals.

Before coming to the UA College of Engineering in fall 2012, Balasubramanian was vice president of group research and advanced engineering at Daimler AG, responsible for product innovations and process technologies. He retired earlier this year after nearly 40 years as a research and development engineer for the Mercedes-Benz brand in Stuttgart, Germany.

At UA, he is a professor with an appointment in both the mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering departments. He is also executive director of the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, or CAVT, a cross-discipline research center focused on automotive innovation.

Balasubramanian’s advisory committee will focus on research in the Deusche Luft und Raumfahrttechnik, or DLR, which is the German Aerospace Center. It is the German government’s space agency responsible for the space program and and has taken on additional responsibility for surface transportation research.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz and Truman scholars.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.