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Giri Venkataramanan
April 17, 2024

Venkataramanan honored for energizing the planet

Written By: Renee Meiller


On April 16, 2024, Dean Ian Robertson held an event to recognize engineering faculty and staff for outstanding contributions. Giri Venkataramanan, the Keith and Jane Morgan Nosbusch Professor in electrical and computer engineering, received the Ragnar E. Onstad Service to Society Award.

Working within the grand challenge of transforming our global energy system away from fossil fuels, Venkataramanan focuses on human-scale solutions to improve access to sustainable energy around the world. In particular, he and his students develop and apply microgrid technology, collaboratively bringing power—for the first time—to people in remote regions of the world, including Chile, Ethiopia and India. Recently, they applied this concept on a tiny scale in Madison, developing “Little Electric Free Libraries” equipped with solar power and electronics so that people who are homeless have a place to charge their mobile phones.

Venkataramanan truly works at the intersection of engineering and the human experience. As a scholar, he is a pioneering and exceptionally accomplished researcher whose published works are among the most seminal in his field. If asked, Venkataramanan would focus on the value and joy that this work has brought to others. He is the kind of educator and mentor whose students—many of them now faculty members at major institutions—continue to embrace and amplify the core values they learned in Venkataramanan’s group.