Academics & Research

Professor joins elite engineer academy

Surendra Shah

Abdeldjelil Belarbi

The Chinese Academy of Engineering recently inducted UH visiting professor Surendra Shah as a foreign member.

He is one of only four engineers  and the only civil engineer in the world to gain this title in the CAE.

“It is a great honor,” UH Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Chair Abdeldjelil Belarbi said.

Shah learned of his induction during the 10th general assembly of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in Beijing. China’s President Hu Jintao was in attendance at the assembly.

“It is very difficult to be elected as a member and even more difficult to be elected as a foreign member of Chinese Academy,” Belarbi said.

To be inducted as a foreign member, one must be the member of the academy of his or her own country — in Shah’s case, the U.S.

“Then you must be nominated by five members of CAE,” Belarbi said. “These members must demonstrate that the nominee has made outstanding contribution in their field, and they have made significant contribution to China.”

The member’s duties involve advising government and private industries on science and technology issues along with research and development.

In a UH release Shah said his main goals are to utilize engineering academies to help find solutions to major problems facing India, China and the U.S.

Shah, originally from India, received his bachelor’s degree in his home country. He received his master’s degree from Lehigh University and his doctorate from Cornell University.

Shah will join the UH faculty full time in January after completing his year-long commitment at UH, which involves promoting interdisciplinary research and education on concrete materials.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering’s mission is to initiate and conduct strategic studies, provide consultant services for decision-making of nation’s key issues in engineering and technological sciences and promote the development of engineering and technological sciences in China and devote itself to the benefit and welfare of the society, according to its Web site.

“The Chinese Academy of engineering, similar to U.S. Academy of Engineering, elects a very select member in their academy.” Belarbi said. “This (induction) is the highest honor an engineer can receive.”

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