Dr. Ramprasad Balasubramanian (Ram Bala), Associate Provost for Decision Support and Strategic Initiatives at UMass Dartmouth, was recently chosen as the UMass designee to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Board of Directors by UMass President Marty Meehan.
Dr. Balasubramanian currently serves as the Associate Provost for Decision Support and Strategic Initiatives where he focuses on critical strategic outcomes in the areas of enrollment, student success, and research expansion. In 2019, he established the Marine and UnderSea Technology (MUST) Research Program to support the development of research of naval relevance and workforce development in the marine technology areas in collaboration with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport and regional marine technology industries. MUST is currently overseeing research projects that focus on undersea technologies, sensing and communication, energy materials, battery technology, and ocean dynamics. MUST is supported by a $4.57M grant through the Office of Naval Research.
“Dr. Ram Bala will bring tremendous knowledge and expertise to the MassCEC Board, especially in research endeavors related to ocean technology, and how they can be integrated with job creation initiatives throughout Massachusetts,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “With 18,000 highly skilled graduates entering the Massachusetts workforce every year and a $684 million research enterprise, UMass is excited to continue its many innovation-driving collaborations with the MassCEC, especially as we look forward to a post-pandemic economic recovery.”
“Dr. Ram Bala has been a leader of our blue economy research and economic development initiatives and will be a great representative from UMass Dartmouth and the UMass System,” said UMass Dartmouth Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chancellor Mark Preble. “Our students, faculty, and the Commonwealth as a whole are greatly served by our continued involvement with the MassCEC.”
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies, and projects in the Commonwealth—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects, and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers. MassCEC constructed and operates the Wind Technology Testing Center and the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides chairs MassCEC’s board of directors. MassCEC is funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998. A systems benefit charge paid by customers of investor-owned utilities and five municipal electric departments that have opted into the program funds the trust.
“I look forward to having Dr. Ramprasad Balasubramanian join MassCEC’s Board of Directors,” said MassCEC CEO Steve Pike. “MassCEC has enjoyed a long and collaborative relationship with UMass and Dr. Balasubramanian’s experience in marine science and technology and his connection to the South Coast will help grow that partnership and strengthen the clean energy economy in that region.”
“I want to thank President Meehan for the opportunity to collaborate with the MassCEC to continue the Commonwealth’s investment in growing the future of energy,” said Dr. Balasubramanian. “Research from UMass Dartmouth and the entire UMass System are drivers of the clean energy economy and I look forward to capitalizing on this strength.”
Balasubramanian’s research interests include Artificial Intelligence and Mobile Robotics, Computer Vision, Decision Support Systems, and Computing Education. His current focus of research in mobile robotics is in the area of Multi-vehicle autonomy, SLAM, and autonomy-related issues of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles. Specifically, he has focused on multi-vehicle coordination on long-term undersea missions, strategies for consensus in communication constrained environments, and autonomy. His work in decision support systems has involved the integration of real-time data from Internet-of-things (IoT) sensors to measure subsurface temperature and moisture for the imposition of Seasonal Load Restriction in cold-weather regions. His research has been supported by the Seaport Economic Council, U.S. Department of Transportation, National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.