UMich professor among several Indian-Americans elected to National Academy of Science

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Professor Arun Agrawal, coordinator, international forestry resources and institutions research network, and professor, School for Environment and Sustainability (SES), at UMich, Ann Arbor, is one of 5 scientists of Indian origin elected in the latest round announced by National Academy of Sciences, May 1. (Photo: Umich.edu)

University of Michigan sustainable development researcher Arun Agrawal has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest distinctions for a scientist or engineer in the United States.

Agrawal , who is the coordinator, international forestry resources and institutions research network, and professor, School for Environment and Sustainability (SES), at UMich, Ann Arbor, is one of 5 scientists of Indian origin elected in the latest inductions announced by NAS May 1.

Eighty four new members and 21 foreign associates were elected in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, which brings the total of those elected over the years to 2,382 and the total number of foreign associates to 484.

Agrawal is the Samuel Trask Dana Professor at SES. His research and teaching emphasize the politics of international development, institutional change and environmental sustainability. He has written about indigenous knowledge, community-based conservation, common property, resource governance, and environmental beliefs and identities.

“Recognition of this work by the national academies emphasizes the need for a deeper understanding of how humans influence and are shaped by the natural world,” Agrawal is quoted saying in the UMich press release.

He is the founder and coordinator for the Forests and Livelihoods: Assessment, Research and Engagement initiative, which is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Agrawal currently conducts research in east Africa, South Asia, Indonesia and Brazil. Since 2013, he has served as editor-in-chief of the journal World Development.

A graduate of Delhi University, Agrawal received a doctorate and a master’s in political science from Duke University, North Carolina, and a master’s in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management.

“Arun Agrawal is an inspiration to all of us who have the privilege of working alongside him,” Jonathan Overpeck, dean of SES is quoted saying in the press release, adding, “He is a thought leader and a top scholar in the field of sustainable development, one of the most important issues of our time. His election to the National Academy of Sciences is a well-earned acknowledgment of his seminal contributions to his field.”

According to a press release from NAS, the other scientists of Indian origin elected May 1, include Sanjeev Arora, Charles C. Fitzmorris Professor of Computer Science, computer science department, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; Utpal Banerjee, professor and chair, department of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, University of California, Los Angeles; Raj Chetty, professor of economics, department of economics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; and Umesh Vazirani, director, Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center, University of California, Berkeley.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

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