Goyal to step down as RENEW director


Published April 16, 2021

headshot of Amit Goyal.

Amit Goyal

Amit Goyal has shared his plans to step down as founding director of the UB RENEW Institute this summer at the conclusion of his second three-year term.

He will continue to work at UB as SUNY Distinguished Professor and Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and as an adjunct professor of physics.

Under Goyal’s leadership, RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) has grown into an expansive and multidisciplinary research institute that has raised UB’s profile among public research universities and pushed forward groundbreaking scholarly activity that addresses some of society’s most pressing challenges.

“As RENEW director, Dr. Goyal has grown UB’s strength and leadership in addressing complex energy and environmental issues, and the institute is well poised to build on this success for years to come,” according to a memo sent to university leadership Thursday by A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development.

Goyal joined UB in 2015 from UT-Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he was previously a UT-Battelle Corporate Fellow, a Battelle Distinguished Inventor and an ORNL Distinguished Scientist.

At RENEW, he has attracted world-class faculty to UB, including the recruitment of 15 faculty members to departments across the university, as well as four senior staff scientists and research professors. These 19 scholars have joined more than 100 UB experts affiliated with RENEW to advance multidisciplinary work in energy, environment and water sustainability.

To facilitate faculty research and encourage multidisciplinary collaborations, Goyal led the establishment of cutting-edge, co-inhabited RENEW Shared Instrumentation Laboratories in Hochstetter Hall on the North Campus.

To support multidisciplinary collaborations and early-stage research, RENEW provided $640,000 in seed funding for over 20 research projects. From 2014 to 2020, RENEW directly and indirectly contributed to garnering tens of millions in external funds to UB and facilitated nearly 600 publications. In addition, RENEW faculty have supported development of new master’s degrees and advanced certificates in sustainability, as well as dozens of new multidisciplinary courses.

RENEW has also had a significant impact in the greater Buffalo area. Goyal initiated an innovative RENEW Fellows program, which embeds specialists in the city of Buffalo to provide technical assistance and research services to city departments while introducing the fellows to careers in government. Projects have included implementing the state’s Five City Energy Plan, developing a storm water management model, and enhancing the energy efficiency and green infrastructure at the Buffalo Sewer Authority.

Also, the RENEW Distinguished Lecture Series in Energy, Environment and Water Sustainability has brought renowned leaders in science, technology and policy to UB to engage with faculty, students and the local community.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering and fellow of 10 professional societies including the National Academy of Inventors, Goyal is an internationally recognized materials scientist and energy researcher who is renowned for his innovations that enable the realization and manufacturing of high-temperature superconducting wires for large-scale applications.

The author or co-author of more than 350 technical publications and 88 patents, he was ranked by Thompson-Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators as the most cited author worldwide in his field from 1999-2009. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his research excellence and innovation, including the E.O. Lawrence Award, bestowed by the U.S. Department of Energy secretary on behalf of the president. In 2019, he was awarded the UB President’s Medal.

In the memo, Weber and Govindaraju said they will keep the campus community informed regarding their plans for RENEW leadership, which they expect to be in place Aug. 1.